Upper Left Quadrant Details Upper Right Quadrant Details Lower Left Quadrant Details Lower Right Quadrant Details Details



Justice can be defined as an ideal or a legitimized distribution of valued goods, symbolic or material. Our main concern are then the principles and rules governing the distribution of justice.
The vertical axis runs from rules to equality. This is a permanent tension in most moral philosophers as well as in the practice of justice. The emphasis on equality is a belief in - or search for - a moral standard sanctioned by either God or nature. Rules, on the other side, stress the need for shared procedures and terms of discourse. The horizontal axis refers to the original source of justice, contrasting a fixed - whether transcendent or positive - law with the emphasis on individual rights.
Justice in the liberal tradition (LLQ) is virtually defined by the constitutionally provided means of meting out justice. In many respects, justice in this quadrant can be considered the by-product of good procedure. In the courts, it is called "the administration of justice." The democratic conceptualization of justice (URQ) puts a far more prominent emphasis on equality -- the equality of all members of the "distributive community." Equality is never absent in the liberal discourse on justice, but is more a matter of shame than of right. Equality, instead, becomes the corner stone of the democracy model. With one basic measure for the administration of justice: the welfare of the community. The utilitarian or laissez faire model of justice is the most individualistic of the models, inasmuch as participation with the expectation of justice is limited to a contractual agreement among self-interested individuals. The contract, properly entered into, is, in the market model, justice itself. o be loyal to history, the upper left quadrant should have been treated first, not last. This is the aristocracy model, or, to the sociologists, the status model that preceded the contract model. This is the traditional world governed by the personal discretion of those deemed worthy of rule. Some Marxists, many post- and neo-Marxists and hosts of other non-Marxist thinkers on the right as well as the left, have continually attempted to modernize and keep the upper left quadrant. Why? Because at least in Aristotle and some of his successors, there was a traditional understanding of justice that comes very close to what so many modern thinkers have called social justice, These hopes transcend established ideological territories and bring into great instability the whole distinction between Left and Right.