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Arrupe’s first guest post! A thought exercise on justice.

April 8, 2010 11 comments

Editor’s note: Along with Mr. McDoof and Beedeekay, there is now Arrupe joining us to write his first post below. Other guest submissions are thoroughly welcome. (Enjoy!)

In his book, The Idea of Justice, Amartya Sen uses the following example to illustrate how it is possible for there to be “plural and competing reasons for justice, all of which have claims to impartiality and which nevertheless differ from, and rival, each other.”  The examples serve as a good thought exercise in helping people identify the grounds upon which they base their notions of “justice”.

Example:  You have to decide which of the three children – Anne, Bob and Carla – should get a flute about which they are quarrelling.  Anne claims the flute on the ground that she is the only one of the three who knows how to play it.  Bob contends that he should be given the flute because he is the only one among the three who is so poor that he has no toys of his own.  Lastly, Carla interjects and points that the she has been working diligently for many months to make the flute with her own labor.

Who should get the flute and why?

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