A Just Society: Identity Humanity and Justice

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Addis Ababa University


The question of justice is the fundamental question in human life. It is one of the pioneer issues in the subject of philosophy. The questions for equality, liberty, right and balance in the relationship of men, the interaction between people and the government are manifestations of the quest for justice. Starting from the ancient Greek philosophy (Socrates), the question of justice continues to our times creating new forms and dimensions. The very reason for the formation of state is the need for justice and its role is to maintain justice, its function is devoted the prevalence of justice. However, the problem of justice remained unsolved and different forms of injustice affect the lives of individuals and groups. Hence, different philosophers and thinkers continue developing new theories of justice. Among others, the most influential political and moral philosopher, John Rawls, argues that the primary subject of justice should be social institutions, guided by certain principles of justice resulted in agreement of rational, mutually disinterested parties in the “original position” behind “the veil of ignorance”. Yet, his theory is criticized by Amartya Sen and Robert Nozick, for it gives extreme emphasis on institutions and to the state than individual freedom and actual behavior of men. This thesis will argue, in line with Sen and Nozick that the primary subjects of justice should be individual humans. The role of the state must be minimal as Nozick suggests and institutions should be promoters of justice (Sen) than being themselves sources of justice (Rawls). Justice must be giving freedom and allowing opportunities to individuals to attain their goals of life. It must address the question of autonomy, giving recognition to the existence of human beings as complete beings having all the qualities of humanity. Therefore, justice should be conformity with humanity, it can be conceived in the ultimate unity of human beings in the kingdom of humanity and an action is just if it is humane towards humans and non human beings as well