What Is Justice?

Justice itself is the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstance, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all.

- Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

Podcast of the Day

Each week Melvyn is joined by four guests with different backgrounds to discuss a really big question. This week he's asking 'What is Justice'? Helping him answer it are barrister Harry Potter, criminologist David Wilson, philosopher Angie Hobbs and historian Alice Taylor.

For the rest of the week Harry, David, Angie and Alice will take us further into the history of ideas about justice with programmes of their own. Between them they will examine civil disobedience, Kant's theory of Justice, Habeas Corpus and philosopher John Rawls' ideas on how to create a just society.

Listen to the History of Ideas podcast: What is Justice?

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

Today, most of our political arguments revolve around welfare and freedom – increasing economic output and respecting people's rights. But a just society requires something more: reasoning together about the meaning of the good life. Whether we're arguing about financial bailouts and bankers' bonuses, or the growing gap between rich and poor, or how to contend with the environmental costs of economic growth, questions of justice are bound up with competing notions of civic virtue and the common good...

Continue reading Michael Sandel's article: Towards a Just Society

Further Reading

The idea of justice occupies centre stage both in ethics, and in legal and political philosophy. We apply it to individual actions, to laws, and to public policies, and we think in each case that if they are unjust this is a strong, maybe even conclusive, reason to reject them. Classically, justice was counted as one of the four cardinal virtues (and sometimes as the most important of the four); in modern times John Rawls famously described it as ‘the first virtue of social institutions’...

Continue reading the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Justice by David Miller

Related Topics

Democracy | Equality | Feminism | Freedom | Plato

Each day I post the best introductory resources I can find on an important philosophical, scientific or historical topic. By collecting the best educational content the internet has to offer, I hope to make it as easy as possible for everyone to get into the habit of learning something valuable every day. If you’d like to join me, simply enter your email below:


Know of a video, podcast, or article that deserves to be featured? Get in touch on Twitter or Facebook.