|Justification, philosophy: justification is a condition for knowledge which a) is fulfilled or not fulfilled by the explanation of the origin of the information or b) by a logical examination of the argument. For a), theories such as the causal theory of knowledge or reliability theories have been developed. See also verification, examination, verification, proofs, externalism.|
Justification in a broader sense is a statement about the occurrence of an action or a choice. See also explanations, ultimate justification, reasons._____________Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.
Julian Lamont on Justification - Dictionary of Arguments
Gaus I 230
Theories/principles/justification/Lamont: (...) theories [on distributive justice] have been characterized mainly according to the content of their approach to the moral demands of welfare (or luck) and responsibility. It is important to note here some of the complications of these characterizations and
Gaus I 231
also other ways of conceptualizing the distributive justice literature. Most theorists are accurately
described by a number of non-equivalent labels. The classifications used here are widespread in the contemporary literature, but there are nevertheless subtle differences in the ways different authors use these labels.
Content/principle/justification: one important distinction is between the content
of a distributive principle, and its justification.
Content: 'Content' refers to the distribution ideally recommended by a principle, whereas 'justification' refers to the reasons given in support of the principle. Theorists can be distinguished and labelled according to the content of their theory or according to the justification they give.
Problems: 1) (...) the common labels used here refer sometimes to the content and other times to the justifications for various positions.
2) (...) most groups of theories have justifications from a number of different sources and single writers even will sometimes use more than one source of justification for their theory. Most combinations of content and justification, in fact, have been tried. For instance, different libertarians use natural rights, desert, utilitarianism or contractarianism in the justification of their
theories; different desert theorists use natural rights, contractarianism and even utilitarianism (Mill 1877(1); Sidgwick, 1890(2)). Partly this comes about because there are different versions of justifications which nevertheless, due to some similarity, share the same broad label.
Contract theory: For instance, contractarianism features in the justifications of many theories, and covers both Hobbesian and Kantian contractarians, after Thomas Hobbes and Immanuel Kant (Hampton, 1991(3)).
A) Hobbesian contractarians, such as David Gauthier, attempt to justify morality in
terms of the self-interested reasons individuals have for agreeing to certain terms of social co-operation.
B) Kantian contractarians, such as John Rawls, appeal to moral reasons to justify the terms of social cooperation that would be worthy of consent, usually arguing for distributions on the egalitarian end of the spectrum.
A Hobbesian contractarian, as you might suspect, is more likely to argue for libertarian oriented systems (Buchanan, 1982(4); Gauthier, 1987(5); Levin, 1982(6)). However, there are also followers of Hobbes who insist his contractarianism is better read to justify some important aspects of the welfare state, rather than a merely minimalist government (Kavka, 1986(7); Morris, 1998(8): ch. 9; Vallentyne, 1991(9)). So theorists who share the 'contractarian' label may also be characterized by a libertarian rejection of redistribution or an egalitarian insistence on widespread distribution (...).
Equality/egalitarianism: the most common alternatives to characterizing distributive justice theories along the dimensions of welfare and responsibility have been to characterize them either along the related dimension of equality, or according to the degree of egalitarianism the theories prescribe. So each of the theories already surveyed here could alternatively be categorized
according to its treatment, or approach, to equality (Joseph and Sumption, 1979(10); Rakowski, 1991)(11). >Equality/Sen.
Sen: in his influential lecture 'Equality of what?' (1980)(12), Amartya Sen addresses the question of what metric egalitarians should use to determine the degree to which a society realizes the ideal of equality.
A range of alternative variables for what should be equalized have since been introduced (Daniels,
1990(13)) and refined, including the resource egalitarians discussed above (Dworkin, 2000)(14), equal opportunity for welfare (Arneson, 1989(15); 1990(16); 1991(17)), equal access to advantage (Cohen, 1989)(18), and equal political status (Anderson, 1999)(19).
Gaus I 232
Concepts/content/theories: Another complication (...) comes from differences in how the very topic of distributive justice itself is conceived, with some theorists emphasizing process rather than content or justification.
Principles: [many theories] address the question of distributive justice by recommending principles intended as normative ideals for institutions, which themselves will significantly determine the distribution of resources. These theories reflect progress and a growing consensus throughout most of the twentieth century about what is not acceptable. For example, all of the theories on offer reject the inequalities characteristic in feudal, aristocratic, and slave societies, as well as the inequalities inherent in systems that restrict access to goods, services, jobs or positions on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity or religion.
Deciding processes: On the other hand, some theorists believe that the ongoing existence of reasonable disagreement reflects importantly on the very nature of distributive justice. They argue that, within the area of reasonable disagreement about what are the best distributive ideals, the additional questions to examine are whether the processes for deciding distributive questions are just. So, some argue that certain distributive justice issues should be dealt with at the constitutional level, variously described, while other issues are properly decided at the legislative level.
Just processes; a subgroup of these theorists also take the view that some decisions about distributive justice issues can be partly or fully justified because they are the result of a just process (Christiano, 1996(20); Gaus, 1996(21)). Rational argument alone may be able to exclude some systems as unjust, but others will be justified not simply on the grounds of their content, but also by the process by which they were reached. >Liberalism/Lamont.
1. Mill, John S. (1877) Utilitarianism, 6th edn. London: Longmans, Green.
2. Sidgwick, Henry (1890) The Methods of Ethics, 4th edn. London: Macmillan.
3. Hampton, Jean (1991) 'Two faces of contractarian thought'. In Peter Vallentyne, ed., Contractarianism and Rational Choice: Essays on David Gauthier 's Morals by Agreement. New York: Oxford University Press, 31—55.
4. Buchanan, Allen (1982) 'A critical introduction to Rawls' theory of justice'. In H. Gene Blocker and Elizabeth H. Smith, eds, John Rawls' Theory of Social Justice: An Introduction. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press.
5. Gauthier, David Peter (1987) Morals by Agreement. Oxford: Clarendon.
6. Levin, Michael (1982) 'A Hobbesian minimal state'. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 1 1 (4): 338-53.
7. Kavka, Gregory S. (1986) Hobbesian Moral and Political Theory. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
8. Morris, Christopher (1998) An Essay on the Modern State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
9. Vallentyne, Peter (1991) Contractarianism and Rational Choice: Essays on David Gauthier's Morals by Agreement. New York: Cambridge University Press.
10. Joseph, Keith and Jonathan Sumption (1979) Equality. London: Murray.
11. Rakowskl, Eric (1991) Equal Justice. Oxford: Clarendon.
12. Sen, Amartya (1980) 'Equality of what?' In Sterling M. McMurrin, ed., Tanner Lectures on Human Values, vol. I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 195-220.
13. Daniels, Norman (1990) 'Equality of what: welfare, resources, or capabilities?' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 50 (Fall): 273-96.
14. Dworkin, Ronald (2000) Soveæign Virtue: The Theory and Practice of Equality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
15. Arneson, Richard (1989) 'Equality and equal opportunity for welfare, Philosophical Studies, 56: 77-93.
16. Arneson, Richard (1990) 'Liberalism, Distributive Subjectivism and equal opportunity for welfare', Philosophy and Public Affairs, 19: 159-94.
17. Arneson, Richard (1991) 'Lockean self-ownership: towards a demolition', Political Studies, 39 (l): 36-54.
18. Cohen, G. A. (1989) 'On the currency of egalitarian justice'. Ethics, 99 906_44.
19. Anderson, Elizabeth (1999) 'What is the point of equality?' Ethics, 109 (2): 287-337.
20. Christiano, Thomas (1996) The Rule of the Many: Fundamental Issues in Democratic Theory. Boulder, CO: Westview.
21. Gaus, Gerald (1996) Justificatory Liberalism. New York: Oxford University Press.
Lamont, Julian 2004. „Distributive Justice“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications_____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Gerald F. Gaus
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004