Sunday, November 29, 2009

Justice separate from Morality?

Jane's post reminded me of our discussion of the Gutmann and Thompson essay, which is all about the morality inherent in truth commissions. We trashed that essay in class and I'm down with that, but I remember being dissatisfied with Dr. J's trashing. A good example is the realist approach. In the essay, they describe the realist response as supporting the truth commission (as an alternative to traditional trials) because that would be impractical, given the nature and scale of the crimes committed. Gutmann and Thompson reject this approach on the grounds that this is not a moral principle, and Dr. J rejects that rejection, instead claiming that the trials and their alternatives (ie- truth commissions) are moral by nature. But I don't like to think of justice as moral at all.

Instead, I think of justice as a purely practical measure, taken to keep the community under control. We all live in a big system, so there has to be some measure to maintain the order...of the system. It seems like morality is too subjective, like it might create some sort of inherent problems with our system of justice if we base it entirely on morality. I'm not really sure. But I think there's something like this in my Hume notes? Either way, I think this can apply to both justice overall and truth commissions as well.

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