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The Ajax DilemmaJustice, Fairness, and Rewards$
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Paul Woodruff

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199768615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199768615.001.0001

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A New Approach to Justice and Compassion

A New Approach to Justice and Compassion

Chapter:
(p.61) A New Approach to Justice and Compassion
Source:
The Ajax Dilemma
Author(s):

Paul Woodruff

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199768615.003.0004

This chapter distinguishes between two closely related concepts, “justice” and “fairness.” Fairness has often been thought to be the heart of justice, but this is wrong. Fairness forbids compassion while justice does not. A theory is proposed where justice sometimes calls us to set fairness aside in the name of compassion. It attempts to understand justice in such a way that it is fully compatible with compassion. If justice is going to help us get along, it has to affect our feelings. And if justice is a quality of character, it must be about feelings, because that is where character is—in the feelings that help us do well or poorly. In the final analysis, justice and compassion come down to the same thing—to a sort of human wisdom.

Keywords:   justice, fairness, compassion, feelings, human wisdom

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