The Ockham Society (Friday - Week 2, MT21)

Ockham Society

One society is moderately unjust throughout a millennium. Another is severely unjust for nine centuries and almost perfectly just for the remaining century. How, in respect of justice, should they be ranked? This question is an instance of the Problem of Dynamic Evaluations of Justice (PDEJ). This paper aims, not to offer a solution of the PDEJ, but to explore its implications for what theories of justice should be like. A complete theory of justice, it will be argued, must include a dynamic theory of evaluations of justice, viz. a theory that grounds evaluations of justice of societies whose temporal parts differ significantly with respect to justice. Alternative responses to the PDEJ will be rejected: it will be argued that the PDEJ should not be dealt with by moralizing feasibility; and that a prominent objection, closely related to the PDEJ, to Sen’s argument for the redundancy of transcendental theories of justice fails to show that transcendental theory is necessary, but shows that dynamic theory is necessary. It will finally be considered how several existing theories of justice might be ‘dynamicized’, and whether the desideratum of being the basis of a satisfactory dynamic theory favours some over others.

Ockham Society Convenors: Lara Scheibli and Kimon Sourlas - Kotzamanis | Ockham Society Website