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Virtues and Their Vices$
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Kevin Timpe and Craig A. Boyd

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199645541

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645541.001.0001

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The Virtues of Justice 1

The Virtues of Justice 1

Chapter:
(p.59) 2 The Virtues of Justice1
Source:
Virtues and Their Vices
Author(s):

David Schmidtz

John Thrasher

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645541.003.0003

Philosophy has a long history of treating justice as a virtue, indeed a virtue of both persons and institutions. Where ancient thinkers tended to emphasize the personal aspect, modern thinkers have been more institutional. The two broad conceptions of virtue, however, need not be defended in isolation, but can instead be treated as complementary, giving each other substance. In particular, justice as a personal virtue has to do with being a fair cooperator—a reciprocator. Just institutions and societies by the same token do what institutions can do to make reciprocity a legitimate mutual expectation, an expectation on which just individuals can afford to rely. Just institutions do this precisely by not taking reciprocity for granted but instead doing what they can (through institutions of contract law, for example, as well as though conventions and technologies by which people establish reputations) to make reciprocity pay.

Keywords:   justice, reciprocity, institutions, personal virtue, mutual expectation

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