Friday, March 31, 2023

Evening Note for Friday, March 31

 Thought for the Evening: Regimes of Justice with Regard to Bad Situations

Justice is involved in many things, but one part of its range of activities is dealing with bad situations. If we think of full-blown bad situations as cases in which harms are done by wrong behavior stemming from a faulty disposition, then we have three elements here (fault, misbehavior, harm) that can make something a bad situation in some sense. We also have to consider whether remedy is practicable. If we add this, then we get a number of different kinds of bad situations, broadly construed, with which justice may have to deal, based on four variables. We can then represent each kind of situation by a number involving 0's and 1's; for standardization, we'll keep the order always as fault-misbehavior-harm-remediability, with remediability after a decimal. Here are some examples to make that clear:

111.0  This is the full-blown bad situation where there is no adequate remedy for what has been done.

001.1 This would be a case where a harm was done that was wholly accidental (unintentional and the action itself that led to it was not wrong), but something can be done to remedy the harm.

110.0 This would be a case in which someone did a bad thing out of bad motives but no harm was done, and there's nothing particularly adequate that can be done as remedy.

And so forth. In light of these different combinations, we can identify what we might call 'regimes of justice', structurally distinct general patterns of how justice will have to deal with these kinds of bad situations. The situations 000.0 and 000.1 fall outside of anything that we are considering here.

I. Regime of Repair. [111.1, 011.1, 101.1] The regime of repair always, of course, requires that the situation involve remediable harm for which one is in some way responsible. Thus in a regime of repair you are always engaging in some restoration or reparation or satisfaction (if done for yourself) or requiring others to do this (what is historically known as vindication). 

II. Regime of Mitigation [001.1] In the regime of mitigation, there is a harm for which you are not responsible, but you have it in your power to remedy it. As a matter of strict justice, you are not required to engage in repair if it is detrimental to you and yours, but as a matter of the root principles of justice, you should extend your assistance in repairing the situation to the extent that it can be done in a mutually beneficial way. If it's not you but a third party who is involved, your responsibilities are more tenuous, but would involve, to the extent you can reasonably and with mutual benefit do so, assisting and making possible what mitigation can be done.

III. Regime of Correction [100.1, 010.1, 110.1] In the regime of correction, someone acted with a bad disposition, or acted in a bad way, but a remedy is possible and for whatever reason no harm was done; given the situation, the remedy would involve at least self-correction and resolution not to act that way again. Again, if it is not oneself but a third party who has done this, the case may call for rebuke or reprimand, or it may just call for encouragement to improve, or something like that.

IV. Regime of Apology [111.0,  110.0, 101.0, 011.0, 001.0, 010.0, 100.0] The regime of apology deals with bad situations in which there is no adequate remedy. The human way of handling these situations in which nothing substantive can be done is the creation of symbolic remedies and token remedies, which can take a number of forms, but fall broadly under the category of apologizing (although some particular kinds of apologies may be part of repair, mitigation, and correction) or at least sympathetic acknowledgement.

So these seem to be the broad regions of justice in handling cases where something bad has been done, whether intentionally or by accident.

Various Links of Interest

 * Andrew Chignell, Leibniz and Kant on Empirical Miracles: Rationalism, Freedom, and Laws (PDF)

* Kathrin Koslicki, The threat of thinking things into existence (PDF), on Lynne Rudder Baker's account of artifacts

* Michel Dufour, Old and New Fallacies in Port-Royal Logic (PDF)

* Taylor Patrick O'Neill, The Relation of Justice and Mercy in Anselm's Prosogion

* Jon Tveit, A Brief Introduction to the Common Good, at "The Josias"

* David Neuhas, Christians and the Torah, reviews Rabbi Edward Feld's The Book of Revolutions, at "Commonweal"

* Jacob Blumenfeld, The Role of Potentiality in Aristotle's Ethics (PDF)

* John Michael Greer discusses Rudolf Steiner in The Perils of a Pioneer, at "Ecosophia"

* Brian Kemple, On Signs and Simulations

Currently Reading

Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (Pius II), Secret Memoirs of a Renaissance Pope
John Meyendorff, Imperial Unity and Christian Divisions: The Church AD 450-680
Michel Rene Barnes, The Power of God

In Audiobook

Roger Zelazny, Roadmarks
Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court