Business Ethics

Topics: John Rawls, Utilitarianism, Political philosophy Pages: 12 (3860 words) Published: December 5, 2013
Concept of Justice, Utilitarianism and other Modern Approaches

*M.K. Vyas

(A) Introduction
Since the dawn of human civilization, in the whole range of our legal, political and moral theory, the notion of justice has always occupied a central place. Although any attempt to define the term precisely, scientifically and exhaustively has presented a baffling problem to scholars of all hues. Consequently on account of its multidimensionality, its nature and meaning has always been a dynamic affair. Besides, the problem of definition of justice is beset with the problem of its normative as well as empirical connotations. While in the normative sense it implies the idea of joining or fitting the idea of a bond or tie1, in an empirical context, it has its relation with the concept of positive law with the result that law and justice becomes sister concepts.

It is owing to this affirmation that the fundamental purpose of law is said to be the quest for justice which is to be administered without passion as when it (passion) comes at the door, justice flies out of the window.2

However, notwithstanding the problem of defining the term Justice, precisely, scientifically and exhaustively, it is submitted that "Jurisprudence can not escape considering justice since justice is ideally – the matter of law. But what if justice can not be known? Justice appears to be overburdened idea. Sometimes it is reduced to a question of technique: it is thereby posed as the problem of what will guide the techniques of constructing social order. At other times it appears as a problem of legitimacy or put another way as an answer to the question of what will provide a rational framework. for judging the adequacy of the regulation of human relations."3

* Dr. M.K. Vyas, Professor, Faculty of Law, JNV University, Jodhpur

1.Earnest Barker. Principles of Social and Political Theory, London: Oxford University Press, 1967, p. 102. 2. C.K. Allen. Aspects of Justice, London, Stevens & Sons, 1955, p. 34 3.Wayne Morrison. Jurisprudence – From the Greeks to post modernism, Lawman (India) Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, Footnote 1 at p. 383

According to Kelsen4 there can not be a formal science of justice since even if a theory of justice were logically constructed, it would be based on emotive premises. It is not possible to identify in a scientific way the supreme values that a just order of social life should attempt to provide. It therefore, appears that the concept of justice is not amenable to rational determination. Consequently, notwithstanding the value and importance of the concept of justice today, one of the central conflicts in legal moral and political philosophy is between those who espouse rights based theories and those utilitarians in particular who put forward goal based theories. A requirement is rights based when generated by a concern for some individual interest and goal based when propagated by the desire to further something taken to be of interests to the community as a whole.

(B) Utilitarianism and notion of justice
Utilitarianism as an ethical political and legal theory is essentially a product of the English mind. It is essentially associated with Jermy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. The theory believes that man is social by nature and is always motivated in life chiefly by the desire to obtain happiness and avoid pain and that the happiness of each individual involves relations with other individuals which necessitates state regulation of mutual relations of men by legislation. Utilitarian philosophy is thus closely associated with practical ethics and practical politics. The object of legislation of the state is to promote and secure the greatest happiness of the greatest number. The criterion of right and wrong of good and bad which the state should apply is found in happiness and not in divine revelation, dictates of conscience or in the abstract principles of reason. It insisted that all political...
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