Finnis on Justice

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

28 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2012  

John Gardner

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: June 11, 2012

Abstract

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

Gardner, John, Finnis on Justice (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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2081900

John Gardner (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom

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