Finnis on Justice
John Keown and Robert George (eds), Reason, Morality, and the Law: The Jurisprudence of John Finnis (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2012)
28 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2012
Date Written: June 11, 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.
Keywords: John Finnis, Aquinas, Aristotle, justice, distributive, corrective, commutative, rights, duties, allocations, virtues
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation