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The Concept of Rectificatory Justice in Aristotle’s Philosophy

aristotle-idolRectificatory justice as Aristotle’s describes it in his Book V: Ethics is generally practiced right after injustice has been done and that too on the foundational-basis of equal return’ principle, i.e. all the parties accredited, attributed and recognized with equivalent merit. He has thoroughly argued this as part of his political philosophy of Nicomachean Ethics.

Injustice usually takes place when distributive justice breaksdown or collapses in a well-established as well as a model communal system. Rectificatory justice is normally justice’s species such as the people who are responsible to uphold their vows and promises to retain justice and are also concerned with or related to righting injustice. The primary aim of rectificatory justice is to generally set several unjust circumstances and situations, right. The account of Aristotle, in Western philosophy, is typically taken into consideration as one of the classic statements on this type of justice.

Aristotle views justice as an inclusive, complete, and absolute virtue to the greatest degree/extent, and also, injustice is seen as a total of vice. Therefore, rectificatory justice isn’t just total justice, rather, it’s a component or element of particular justice along with distributional justice. Distributive justice is generally concerned with the allotment or allocation of such things that can be alienated among the society’s members either in unequal or equal shares. Whereas on the other hand, rectificatory justice is habitually concerned with various rectifying as well as repairing transactions where an individual was treated quite unjustly, unequally, inhumanely, and unfairly by another individual.

This creates no difference and disparity whether a good person has defrauded a bad person or a bad person has defrauded a good person, nor whether it’s a bad or good man who has committed adultery. The law does view the injury or destruction done in a distinctive as well as a distinguishing manner, and also, does treat the parties as equivalent and identical. It also happens if an individual is in the wrong or erroneous direction and the other individual is being wronged, and if an individual did inflict injury or any harm and the other individual has received it.

justiceThereby, this type of injustice (inequality), the judges always try to equalize and balance it. Also, for a case in which an individual has received whereas another individual has just inflicted a wound/injury or an individual has slain and another person has been slain, the action, as well as suffering, has been distributed unequally, asymmetrically, and disproportionately; but the judge does try to even it out by means/ways of the penalty while taking away from the assailant’s gain. For the word ‘gain’, in general, is applied to such cases, even it is not a terminology appropriate as well as suitable to certain cases, for instance, to the individual who does inflict an injury along with a loss to the victim or sufferer; at all the events/episodes when the suffering has been predicted or envisaged, the one is known as a loss and the other one is called as gain.

Hence, the equal is usually an intermediate or midway among the less and the greater, but the loss as well as the gain is less and greater in contrary ways, respectively; less of the evil and more of the good is generally gain whereas the contrary is loss; midway among them is equivalent, which is just; thus corrective justice would be the midway between gain and loss. That’s why when an individual creates dispute/conflict, they do seek refuge in the judge, and to go to the respective judge which is simply like go to seek justice; for the judge’s nature is to be the type of animate/conscious justice, and they do seek the respective judge as a midway, and in some countries, these judges are known as mediators and that too on the assumption that if those judges do get what’s intermediate or midway then they will surely get what’s just.

Then, just is a midway, since the judge seems an intermediate. Now the judge does restore equality, it’s, as though, there was a line being divided into subdivisions does exceed the half, and further added it to the smaller subdivision. When the whole has been divided equally, then they generally say that they do have their very own; when they have received what’s equivalent. The equal is midway or intermediate among the lesser as well as the greater line as per arithmetical ratio or proportion.

Also, it’s for this reason that it is known as just i.e. sikaion due to its division into two equivalent sections i.e. sicha, just like if an individual was to call it sichaion; where the judge i.e. sikastes is usually the one who does bisect i.e. sichastes. For when anything gets subtracted from one of the two equivalents and then, added to the other one, the other one is in excess in those two equivalents; since if what was taken from the one wasn’t included in the other one, the latter would’ve been excess by one merely.

Therefore, it does exceed the midway by one, and the intermediate does exceed by the one from which something was being taken. Since Aristotle, western philosophy has generally yielded dialogues and discussions regarding justice specifically rectificatory justice along with some other famous historical writers such as John Locke and Hugo Grotius comprising rectificatory thoughts or ideas or notions in their accounts. Justice, unfortunately, wasn’t even really a core and primary matter of concern again right after the philosophy of Aristotle in the Western tradition in the 1970s i.e. until the restoration of the political philosophy.

Even though a vast piece of literature was being produced in the following decades, a comparative, relative, and respective scarcity or rarity of attention and emphasis has been paid to injustice as well as the injustice’s rectification. However, the work’s volume on rectificatory justice has viewed an important increase or rise since the concluding years of the 20th century. When the rights do circumscribe the just behavior’s sphere, injustices do occur when a right gets transgressed. To account for such transgressions’ rectification, a rectificatory justice’s conception and idea must consist of at least the following essential and vital notions such as

  • Restoration
  • Compensation
  • Apology
  • Punishment

When injustice takes place, those upon whom it has been perpetrated suffer a loss oftentimes. Restoration is required at any time possible, which does call for the comeback of specifically that which got lost as an outcome of injustice, as in the stolen property’s case. When restoration isn’t possible, compensation can deal with any losses that stay unaccounted for. Compensation is usually meant for the sake of counterbalancing an unjust or unfair loss with anything else that is equal in value to that specific loss. In justice, this requirement for rectificatory compensation is mostly what’s being meant by reparations. Since offering compensation does mean providing anything other than the accurate thing that got lost, so in this way, the compensation is quite distinguishable and noticeable from the restoration.

Also, rectification does call for an apology. Since compensation and restoration can merely address unjust losses, an apology is required for the sake of effecting rectification because it’s the apology that does address an injustice’ wrong. What makes a wrong injustice is generally the lack of esteem, reverence, and respect being illustrated when the rights of an individual get violated. Therefore, the wrong’s righting is being accomplished using an apology, i.e. an acknowledgment of unlawful activity or misconduct or transgression that consists of the reaffirmation that those who did suffer the injustice do have moral, just as well as ethical standing. Last but not the least, punishment is generally considered as one of the important conception, perception, and a notion of rectificatory justice, unlike the rest of the three i.e. restoration, compensation as well as apology, which do address what the victims or sufferers of injustice are due because punishment does address what may be because of the perpetrators or executors of injustice.

The concern of the global community for rectificatory justice is exhibited in the UDHR i.e. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UDHR does require that all individuals do have the basic fundamental rights to an influential remedy for several acts violating the basic fundamental rights granted to those individuals either by the law or constitution. The concerns for rectificatory justice are also illustrated in the DRIP i.e. the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The DRIP consists of the right to redress and restore for indigenous individuals by several means that can comprise restitution, lands’ compensation, and territories, and last but not the least, resources that they have owned traditionally or occupied or utilized otherwise, and which have been either damaged, used, occupied, taken or confiscated without their informed, prior, and free consent.

Most of the community at the global level did acknowledge the significance of the rectifying injustice following the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance in 2001 held in Durban, South Africa. The conference report issued did acknowledge that the slave trade, as well as slavery, is a crime against humanity. Also, they are among the major manifestations and sources of xenophobia, racial discrimination, racism, and related intolerance, and that Africans and individuals of African descent, Asian and people of African descent along with indigenous individuals were victims of such acts and continue to be sufferers of their outcomes/consequences. It robustly reaffirmed as one of the pressing requirements of justice that sufferers of human rights violations due to xenophobia, racial discrimination, racism, and related intolerance must be guaranteed of having access to justice, comprising the right to seek reparation.

All in all rectificatory justice generally occurs in connection with both voluntary and involuntary transactions. This kind of justice has a different and distinct particular character. For the justice distributing ordinary or general possessions is always as per the type of proportion such as a case in which the distribution or allotment is done from a partnership’s common funds as per the similar proportion which the funds do put into the particular business by its partners does bear to each other. Whereas on the contrary, the injustice being opposed to this type of justice is that which does violate the ratio or proportion. But during transactions, the justice among man and man is a form of equality certainly, and injustice a kind of inequality i.e. not as per that type of proportion or ratio, however, but as per to the arithmetical ratio or proportion.

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Category: Socio Political

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