Finnis on Justice
University of Oxford - Faculty of Law
June 11, 2012
John Keown and Robert George (eds), Reason, Morality, and the Law: The Jurisprudence of John Finnis (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2012)
Oxford Legal Studies Research Paper No. 29/2012
In Natural Law and Natural Rights (1980), Finnis offers a famous treatment, with Thomist roots, of the subject-matter and the departments of justice. I have doubts about whether he gets either the subject-matter or the departments exactly right. In this paper I offer a rival treatment of both, with roots in Aristotle unmediated by Aquinas. Finnis later came to doubt the Thomist departments of justice. I argue that he was right to do so but that he overreacted by doubting all attempts to departmentalize justice. I stand up for the Aristotelian departmentalization. I nevertheless credit Finnis with important insights concerning the relationship between justice and law.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 28
Keywords: John Finnis, Aquinas, Aristotle, justice, distributive, corrective, commutative, rights, duties, allocations, virtues
Date posted: June 12, 2012
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