Tuesday, April 17, 2007


The Idea of Justice II

Just a few updates to this post. I spoke with one of my conservative Christian friends recently, and he was again expressing some of the sorts of views of justice as being something only God can provide and it being somewhat futile for us humans to try to approximate it (c.f. Judaism in which we are commanded: "justice, justice shall you pursue" -- still, only God can be truly just, but the pursuit of justice is not looked upon as futile in any way by Judaism). But this time around, the spin was more secular, and my friend (half-jokingly) referred to his point of view as being very "post-modern". When I said he was actually being quite Pauline, he was flattered by the comparison to someone who is a saint in his religion, but thought my thesis went a bit too far. Still, he thought it was an appropriate corrective to those who tend to view Christianity in terms he would consider to be "hippy-esque".

Anyway, it also occured to me that there are limits to how far Judaism would take its idealistic Pragmatism -- e.g. we won't go as far as Kant (who seems to mistake, however, Judaism for Catholicism or Islam -- we aren't that heteronomic) in totally rejecting heteronomy. So I guess one can say that Christianity need not reject the Jewish idealistically Pragmatic view of justice but that it either must reject that point of view in favor of a more realistic point of view or it must embrace it to the point of rejecting any trace of heteronomy arising from viewing certain axioms, serving as the basis for legal reasoning, as being given by God at Sinai.

It is all in the mind
I guess that's what Berkeley would have said -- so you're in good company. Alas, my post here hasn't addressed Berkeley's views on justice (in part because I don't know what they are) ... but I reckon you've just done that with one of you're favorite catch-phrases!
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