The Pursuit of Justice

The Pursuit of Justice


What is Justice? Justice is so hard to define there isn’t even an entry in The Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought. For nearly 4,000 years – since the time of Plato – this question has been thought about. From Aristotle to Kant to Bentham and John Stuart Mills even to Marx, this question remains unanswered. Not one book, but an entire library have been written about Justice and what it means. Knock down arguments against Utilitarianism and Deontology have been developed. There is no definitive enunciation of this issue.

The better question then is what is injustice? This is always and readily apparent. Whether it’s the injustice of the oppressed, the beaten, the violated. Whether it’s the laws, the courts, the government injustice has always been easy to see. Or is it? The perception of injustice can be scaled. A sense of justice for a young child is different from that of a law maker. The perception of injustice shifts from generation to generation. It shifts from society to society. Injustice, like Justice, it turns out is a sticky and messy issue, for example the debate surrounding abortion.


Where the rubber meets the road is how we practice Justice and how we act in reaction to perceived in Justice. How we define harm, violence, disparity, prejudice, nepotism and wrong doing. Action in this manner can also be scaled, it starts with how we react to each other all the way through to the “Justice System” or sometimes called the “Criminal Justice System.”

I have, in one way or another, been researching the concept of Justice since 2012; at least in a quasi-formal manner. This is such a large project that I will in part need to dedicate my life to investigating what Justice means. My early conclusion though is that Justice is dependent entirely on the society in which it is to be acted out. Personally, I am at this point in line with the Kantian perspective that motive rather than the ends, is what counts. In this section though you will learn about Justice from a wide range or perspectives.

Crime and Public Policy

Crime and Justice
How exactly can we act to reduce or stop crime?

Crime is a clear form of injustice. However the definition of crime is clear. Thinkers from Durkheim to Foucault, Habermas to Garland have theorized on what constitutes criminality.

The theories over time become public policy. In other words, an investigation of public policy is a good path to take in order to understand how conceptions become reality.  This is the action of justice. It shifts and transmutes and changes over time and changes with our social systems. It is in a sense the phenomenological analogue to the nomial ideal. In addition I have spent much of my brief teaching career in the criminology discipline.