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Justice depends on the identification of the individuals with their community

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Value judgment.
  3. Justice, society and religion.
  4. Reasoning and understanding of justice.
  5. Rawl's interpretation.
  6. Justification of rights.
  7. Communitarianism tension.
  8. Community identity.
  9. Conclusion.
  10. Bibliography.

Seyla Benhabib in The Claims of Culture reported the case of a young Laotian American woman abducted from her work at Fresno State University and then raped. Her assailant, a Hmong/Laotian immigrant, argued that among his tribe this behaviour is the customary way to choose a bride. He uses so-called ?cultural defence? so that his conduct should be judged according to his own cultural standards, his own norms of the just and unjust. The court indeed seemed to agree in part, deciding of a relatively light sentence. This event is an institutional application of the claim ?Justice depends on the identification of the individuals with their community?. What has happened to Themis, pointing to the divine norm of Justice, for her daughter Dike, goddess of human law and order, enemy of falsehood, and protector of a wise administration of justice within the human community? Essentially defined as an absolute norm, justice, as relative, sounds like an oxymoron.

[...] It finds in its liberal path an achieved version in Rawls' theory aiming at detaching the principles of justice from community dependency. His deontological project seeks to separate, for political purposes, the right, character of politics and pure procedure, from the good, depending on our comprehensive moral and philosophical conceptions. This justifies the hypothesis of the veil of ignorance, of an individual detached of any social or particular consideration. Minimally constructed, autonomous subjects affirm the basic principles of right that are to govern the pursuits of individual and social various conceptions of the good in political society, principles that exclude the presupposition of any comprehensive philosophical doctrine or position about the ends. [...]

[...] The end here is the same as the one of liberals equality of freedom and chances and of the republicans the integration for a stronger identification to the political community as the frame of reference of a common good. Only the situation of exclusion and domination makes a differential treatment necessary. Cultural differences are an expression of human dignity which can help integration. These ?universal dignity?[iv] principle and integration purpose are a common denominator in republicanism, liberalism and communitarianism. Philip Pettit even reconciles republicanism and multiculturalism arguing that promoting the non-domination of one individual of a class implies that the whole group beneficiates of its members' liberty accounting for the specific link between them. [...]

[...] However, their assertion that it depends on the identification with a community is not new: republicanism had long recognized this necessity. It can be read in such motto as the French one ?Liberty Equality Fraternity?: liberty and equality, the conditions of justice in society, are bound to fraternity, to the feeling that all citizens taking part to this sharing belong to a same community having a common good, a same highest interest, a res publica, the thing of all. But, this community was obviously the de facto existing one, the nation-state, in which the State was constituted as the natural justice-provider. [...]

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