The Just World
Dimitry Kochenov, Gráinne de Búrca and Andrew Williams (eds.), Europe's Justice Deficit?, Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2015, pp.435-458.
34 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2014 Last revised: 7 Mar 2018
Date Written: June 22, 2014
The main claim of this paper is basic. Justice is not merely man-made: it is also an inherent innate component of being human, some aspects of which can be traced further back into the animal world. When speaking about justice seriously, the link between justice and human nature emerging from evolutionary archaeology, biology, psychology, primatology and an array of other disciplines cannot be ignored or interpreted away. The core of the analysis then revolves around two concepts. The first one, drawing on Melvin Lerner’s scholarship, is the Just World – a sub-conscious implicit belief that the world is fair and that everyone eventually gets what he or she deserves, which is at the core of human psychology. The second one, drawing on Susan Opotow’s scholarship, is the scope of justice. In a nutshell, the scope of justice is the field where the Just World functions. All what falls outside the scope of justice is simply ignored, again subconsciously, no matter what: even if the most inequitable and outrageously unfair things happen, the Just World cannot be possibly compromised by anything, which is outside the scope of justice. These insights allow approaching the concept of justice in law in a new light and can have far-reaching effects on the understanding of the key concepts besides justice, including, inter alia, legitimacy, democracy, and equality.
Keywords: Justice, EU Law, Just World, Lerner, Scope of Justice, Law and Biology, Law and Psychology, Brain, Principles of law
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By Brian Leiter
By Brian Leiter