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Old 20th January 2021, 09:01 PM   #1
angrysoba
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What is Justice?

People have disagreed over what justice is for millenia. Or maybe longer.

Some researchers have argued that a sense of justice is a kind of heuristic that humans (and other primates) have evolved to maintain group cohesion.

But does that map onto society as a whole?

Can there be a truly coherent system of justice?

What should the state's role in administering justice be?

Do theories of justice stemming from retribution, protection of society, deterrence or rehabilitation have the strongest claim as an organizing principle of justice systems around the world?

Please argue your pants off...
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Old 21st January 2021, 12:22 AM   #2
Thor 2
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Well the whole thing is wrapped up in the Bible:

- An eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.
- Kill your kids if they turn into little *****.
- Beat the crap out of your slaves if they don't behave - only if they heal up afterwards mind.

On the other hand:

- Turn the other cheek and such.
- Love your enemies.

Well there it is - what could be clearer?
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Old 21st January 2021, 05:44 AM   #3
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One of the important aspects of justice is equality.
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Old 21st January 2021, 07:12 PM   #4
arthwollipot
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Well the whole thing is wrapped up in the Bible:

- An eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.
- Kill your kids if they turn into little *****.
- Beat the crap out of your slaves if they don't behave - only if they heal up afterwards mind.

On the other hand:

- Turn the other cheek and such.
- Love your enemies.

Well there it is - what could be clearer?
Again, the former is mostly Old Testament and the latter mostly New.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 03:39 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
People have disagreed over what justice is for millenia. Or maybe longer.

Some researchers have argued that a sense of justice is a kind of heuristic that humans (and other primates) have evolved to maintain group cohesion.

But does that map onto society as a whole?

Can there be a truly coherent system of justice?

What should the state's role in administering justice be?

Do theories of justice stemming from retribution, protection of society, deterrence or rehabilitation have the strongest claim as an organizing principle of justice systems around the world?

Please argue your pants off...
Well, you understand that in most situations there are at least 2 truths: each side has its own truth. Of course, in the case of real crimes (murders, thefts), everything is clear that there can be only one truth here - the criminal is guilty. But what about other issues? For example, treason. People can change for various reasons, and it is not a fact that the original fault will be on the one who changed. Often cheating occurs due to an inadequate relationship from the partner. And where is the truth and how to determine who is really to blame?
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Old 22nd January 2021, 06:42 AM   #6
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I think, deep down, retribution is the one that makes the most sense.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 01:24 PM   #7
Thor 2
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Again, the former is mostly Old Testament and the latter mostly New.

Thanks again for pointing that out arth.

I have always found it amusing to observe the ducking and weaving of the faithful, when asked about the Old Testament God, and his less than exemplary conduct and instructions, compared to those of The Boy, in the New Testament. Mind you The Boy did give us Hell in Technicolor.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 02:04 PM   #8
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Allen and Bob get into a fight outside to bar. The fight escalates and Bob falls back and smacks his head on the pavement, dying quickly.

Bob's brothers are pissed off, so they go looking for Allen, beat the crap out of him, so he's a vegetable with a feeding tube.

Allen's cousins think this went way too far for an accident. They go looking for Bob's brothers and shoot them in a drive by.

I think justice is whatever system gives most people a feeling that things are taken care of and they don't have to do that.

More specifically, justice is the most minimal system that acheives that aim. Too draconian and people will feel like they need to violently tear down the justice system itself and you're back where you started.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 02:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Allen and Bob get into a fight outside to bar. The fight escalates and Bob falls back and smacks his head on the pavement, dying quickly.

Bob's brothers are pissed off, so they go looking for Allen, beat the crap out of him, so he's a vegetable with a feeding tube.

Allen's cousins think this went way too far for an accident. They go looking for Bob's brothers and shoot them in a drive by.

I think justice is whatever system gives most people a feeling that things are taken care of and they don't have to do that.

More specifically, justice is the most minimal system that acheives that aim. Too draconian and people will feel like they need to violently tear down the justice system itself and you're back where you started.
This pretty much my view. "Justice" is whatever the consensus of the local community is, about fairness and being satisfied that the perpetrator got what's coming to them.

---

Swinging back to the OP:

Protecting society from recidivism isn't justice, it's pragmatism.

Rehabilitating criminals isn't justice, it's mercy and possibly also pragmatism.

I dunno what exactly "a coherent system of justice" is supposed to mean, but I suspect it's neither possible nor necessary. That said, the basic principle of Rule of Law seems to be widely understood, accepted, and implemented in most democracies (though without perfect success, of course). Is that a coherent system of justice? One that purports to apply the same laws and consequences to everyone equally?

The state's role depends on the state. Most places, the state is the monopoly enforcer of the rule of law. I think that's probably one of the few legitimate core functions of the state. To be a dispassionate arbiter of disputes between citizens, including disputes about crime and punishment.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 12:22 AM   #10
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Simply put, Justice is when freedom isn't violated. Although in the last 100 years many hold regressive ideas from Greco-Roman times like Platonism and the state enforcing it's beliefs, true Justice comes Natural law. Natural law states that no man may enforce his will another, whether it be by murder, robbery or deception. The only exception, called "justification of force" is when you need to protect your own or someone else's autonomy, such as lying to a captor to get free or shooting a looter who entered your home with ill intentions for your family. There is no such thing as "positive justice" and it only applies to preventing evil things. The legal system in the Western world reflects this where every crime has a punishment and lacking "positive morality" is utterly ignored. Unfortunately though, the Government doesn't answer to any court and is allowed to do injustice with impunity, with wealth redistribution programs, indoctrination through the public-education system, taking away self-defense, and piles of regulations. Justice is allowing the natural state of things when we co-exist with our independence intact.
I hope that answered your question OP.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 09:21 AM   #11
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I'm gonna mix it up a bit. Ignore the hardcore libertarianism...
Originally Posted by Lupus View Post
<snip>
... And ask about the parochialism:
Quote:
The legal system in the Western world reflects this where every crime has a punishment and lacking "positive morality" is utterly ignored. <snip>
Why do you single out the "Western world"? It's not like the legal systems of the... Eastern world? Southern world? ... It's not like anybody else's legal systems are any different. So what's up with the parochialism?
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Old 23rd January 2021, 12:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Why do you single out the "Western world"? It's not like the legal systems of the... Eastern world? Southern world? ... It's not like anybody else's legal systems are any different. So what's up with the parochialism?
The Western Justice system evolved out of Magna Carta, different parts of Asia and Africa evolved their own systems, that were often are still can be more similar to a kangaroo court. I wasn't dealing with them, but more how the Western legal system came to be, although it is currently in decline. Your argument is like saying "Elephants from India and Africa are both Elephants, therefore they are the same".

I get referred to as hardcore here because I call out injustice,
"Thus, if there exists a law which sanctions slavery or monopoly, oppression or robbery, in any form whatever, it must not ever be mentioned. For how can it be mentioned without damaging the respect which it inspires? Still further, morality and political economy must be taught from the point of view of this law; from the supposition that it must be a just law merely because it is a law."
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Old 23rd January 2021, 01:06 PM   #13
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A definitive definition of Justice is fleeting because it has been changed throughout history. This implies that Justice is a social construct; that means society decides what its definition should mean.

There have been examples that have already been posted in this thread that engender this as true. Another example is the contrasting ideas of Equality Under the Law with Equality of Outcome. Both have usefulness in making value judgments.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 01:32 PM   #14
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I submit that justice should be a system of punishment for whatever misdeeds that a society has deemed to be detrimental to the common good (in a broad sense) in a way that best benefits the common good and common well-being, while also taking basic human rights into account.

It should therefore not be based on the idea of revenge, as this concept is generally not beneficial for society as a whole and the well-being of its members, but rather on the idea of crime prevention by example as well as rehabilitation if justified.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 02:05 PM   #15
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Just to throw a spanner in the works, I don't really believe justice is something we should be pursuing. We should have our sights set on keeping society safe and rehabilitating wrongdoers. To crave justice is a moral failing in my opinion.

Having said that I would really get off on seeing Donald Trump thrown in jail.

I never said I was perfect.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 02:44 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ServiceSoon View Post
A definitive definition of Justice is fleeting because it has been changed throughout history. This implies that Justice is a social construct; that means society decides what its definition should mean.

There have been examples that have already been posted in this thread that engender this as true. Another example is the contrasting ideas of Equality Under the Law with Equality of Outcome. Both have usefulness in making value judgments.
So what's your definition of justice? Or do you not have one because society hasn't told you what to think?
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Old 23rd January 2021, 02:48 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Lupus View Post
The Western Justice system evolved out of Magna Carta, different parts of Asia and Africa evolved their own systems, that were often are still can be more similar to a kangaroo court. I wasn't dealing with them, but more how the Western legal system came to be, although it is currently in decline. Your argument is like saying "Elephants from India and Africa are both Elephants, therefore they are the same".


I get referred to as hardcore here because I call out injustice,
"Thus, if there exists a law which sanctions slavery or monopoly, oppression or robbery, in any form whatever, it must not ever be mentioned. For how can it be mentioned without damaging the respect which it inspires? Still further, morality and political economy must be taught from the point of view of this law; from the supposition that it must be a just law merely because it is a law."
We're talking about elephant trunks, and you're talking about African elephants exclusively. Why doesn't your worldview of elephant trunks include Asian elephants? Why your parochialism?
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Old 23rd January 2021, 02:49 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Tommok View Post
I submit that justice should be a system of punishment for whatever misdeeds that a society has deemed to be detrimental to the common good (in a broad sense) in a way that best benefits the common good and common well-being, while also taking basic human rights into account.

It should therefore not be based on the idea of revenge, as this concept is generally not beneficial for society as a whole and the well-being of its members, but rather on the idea of crime prevention by example as well as rehabilitation if justified.
What's the difference between revenge and punishment for misdeeds?
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Old 23rd January 2021, 02:53 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Just to throw a spanner in the works, I don't really believe justice is something we should be pursuing. We should have our sights set on keeping society safe and rehabilitating wrongdoers. To crave justice is a moral failing in my opinion.

Having said that I would really get off on seeing Donald Trump thrown in jail.

I never said I was perfect. : blush :
Nobody ever said you were perfect. "blush"

It seems to me that a sense of justice is integral to keeping a society safe.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 03:06 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Nobody ever said you were perfect. "blush"

It seems to me that a sense of justice is integral to keeping a society safe.

Huh!

I would like to see an explanation of this.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 03:15 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
What's the difference between revenge and punishment for misdeeds?

Pondering ......... nah ......... can't see a difference.

If the punishment for misdeeds, has the motive of deterring others from duplicating those deeds, however, I can seen a chink of light between the two.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 03:32 PM   #22
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"This photo doesn't do me justice," she said.
I thought what she needed was mercy.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 04:13 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Huh!

I would like to see an explanation of this.
Nobody has ever said you were perfect.

Explanation: Nobody ever thought even for a moment that you were perfect.

"blush"
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Old 23rd January 2021, 05:14 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Nobody ever said you were perfect. "blush"

It seems to me that a sense of justice is integral to keeping a society safe.
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Nobody has ever said you were perfect.

Explanation: Nobody ever thought even for a moment that you were perfect.

"blush"

I detect a bit of slippery deviousness here. I think it would be quite obvious to you and others that it was the highlighted, I was looking for an explanation for.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 05:23 PM   #25
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Justice is when the aggrieved feel ok with the balance of the result.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 08:10 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
We're talking about elephant trunks, and you're talking about African elephants exclusively. Why doesn't your worldview of elephant trunks include Asian elephants? Why your parochialism?
I say why here. I remember our last conversation was like this as well.
Originally Posted by Lupus View Post
I wasn't dealing with them, but more how the Western legal system came to be, although it is currently in decline.
A wandering and unstable mind needs to look to other places and times for inspiration. A healthy one trusts his own place and era and remains firm upon it. You shouldn't copy other people but look at what has worked from yourself.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 10:26 PM   #27
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Justice means to make things right.

In a society, a justice system is essential. You canít have individuals getting justice for themselves -thatís just anarchy. No, you need a neutral party to look at each case and decide 1)If there was a wrong that needs to be righted and 2)how best to make that wrong right.

A justice system sublimates the base human instinct for revenge.
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Old 24th January 2021, 04:01 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by xjx388 View Post
In a society, a justice system is essential.
It's a pity that we only ever got a legal system.
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Old 24th January 2021, 10:43 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Lupus View Post
I say why here.
Okay but the origin of western court system doesn't really have anything to do with the topic. Why did you bring it up?
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Old 24th January 2021, 10:44 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
It's a pity that we only ever got a legal system. : boggled :
Why is it a pity? Or boggling to you?

There is an ideal that all societies should strive for, but few (or none) will ever achieve. It's not a pity that we get as close to that ideal as we can. It's not boggling that we get as close as we can.
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Old 24th January 2021, 11:35 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
It's a pity that we only ever got a legal system.

Itís something, even if it isnít particularly great, and it does seem to effectively sublimate the desire for revenge.
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Old 24th January 2021, 11:40 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Just to throw a spanner in the works, I don't really believe justice is something we should be pursuing. We should have our sights set on keeping society safe and rehabilitating wrongdoers. To crave justice is a moral failing in my opinion.

Having said that I would really get off on seeing Donald Trump thrown in jail.

I never said I was perfect.
As a few of us have said, when people don't feel a sense of justice from the system, they try to get it themselves. We can certainly condemn those urges as moral failings, but if we're building a system tailored to practical outcomes, unfortunately indulging them to some extent probably gets us a safer society than wagging out finger at them
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Old 24th January 2021, 12:24 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Okay but the origin of western court system doesn't really have anything to do with the topic. Why did you bring it up?
You know, there's lots learn as well from non-western countries like the Philippines. With Duterte's policies, now all criminals are killed, no questions asked. Now crime has dropped down tremendously with criminals being taken out of the gene pool and powerful deterrence for future criminals. Such a justice style could be used all around the world to great effect. Other systems and the drug war in America have lead to nothing but repeated failures, one after another. This could change the world for the good of humanity.
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Old 24th January 2021, 12:34 PM   #34
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Justice? Jesus, who knows what that is?

But we can see injustice in an instant.
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Old 24th January 2021, 02:44 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
As a few of us have said, when people don't feel a sense of justice from the system, they try to get it themselves. We can certainly condemn those urges as moral failings, but if we're building a system tailored to practical outcomes, unfortunately indulging them to some extent probably gets us a safer society than wagging out finger at them

Although I can see possibilities of achieving justice in some situations I think there are many where it will elude us. I will give you an example of such:

I colleague of mine some years ago, told a gathering at the office, of an incident involving his wife's less than astute driving.

As she was rounding a corner, a tray of cakes she had on the seat next to her, obeyed dynamic law and moved to the edge of the seat. The woman reacted to save the cakes and lost control of the car. The car mounted the curb and smashed into the fence of a property.

There was much laughter from the gathering. Being all male, some no doubt saw some reinforcement of their prejudice, that women drivers were lacking in ability. The damage to the fence was paid for by our colleague, and justice was done.

Now imagine if someone had been on the footpath. Someone who was killed or injured as a result of this misadventure. How would justice look in that instance?
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Old 24th January 2021, 02:53 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Although I can see possibilities of achieving justice in some situations I think there are many where it will elude us. I will give you an example of such:

I colleague of mine some years ago, told a gathering at the office, of an incident involving his wife's less than astute driving.

As she was rounding a corner, a tray of cakes she had on the seat next to her, obeyed dynamic law and moved to the edge of the seat. The woman reacted to save the cakes and lost control of the car. The car mounted the curb and smashed into the fence of a property.

There was much laughter from the gathering. Being all male, some no doubt saw some reinforcement of their prejudice, that women drivers were lacking in ability. The damage to the fence was paid for by our colleague, and justice was done.

Now imagine if someone had been on the footpath. Someone who was killed or injured as a result of this misadventure. How would justice look in that instance?
It's your story. You tell us what you think.
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Old 24th January 2021, 03:08 PM   #37
Thor 2
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It's your story. You tell us what you think.

No I don't have an answer. But then again I think that justice and the pursuit thereof can be futile. Further to that I think it not the most moral way to go.
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Old 24th January 2021, 11:40 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
What's the difference between revenge and punishment for misdeeds?
Punishment is intended to keep those and other people from doing the same thing in the future, and the open "threat" with it is what is supposed to keep those acts from happening in the first place. This system is (more or less) beneficial for the well-being of a group of people, i.e. a society.

Revenge on the other hand as motivation for punishment is not so good. In order for your society to work well, you should keep the idea of acting out of revenge in general to a minimum, as this doesn't contribute to the well-being of your group. Things tend to work better if people understand this and therefore try to direct their reactions to their emotions accordingly.
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Old 25th January 2021, 01:14 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by ServiceSoon View Post
A definitive definition of Justice is fleeting because it has been changed throughout history. This implies that Justice is a social construct; that means society decides what its definition should mean.
I would contest that a definition of justice is possible, but it is only as accurate as it's ability to define itself as an evolving sociological tool that changes with society.

In that definition of justice, we know two primary things:
  1. Everyone has a different version of justice, but we all share at least some of the same societal pressures that establish our own individual version of justice.
  2. The concept of justice is an important enough socioeconomic tool to be present in every known society. That critical status of justice in our society is very important in understanding what pressures affect our sense of justice throughout different cultures at different periods of time.
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Old 25th January 2021, 03:38 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Why is it a pity? Or boggling to you?

There is an ideal that all societies should strive for, but few (or none) will ever achieve. It's not a pity that we get as close to that ideal as we can. It's not boggling that we get as close as we can.
If the closest we can get to "justice" is subjecting people to legal technicalities then I repeat, it's a pity.
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