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In A Theory of Justice, John Rawls offers a unique conception of justice as other philosophers have before him, such as Plato, Thomas Hobbes, and David Hume (Pomerleau n.d.). From a different angle, ethics of care philosophers have addressed justice too (Bubeck 1995; Engster 2007; Held 2006; Tronto 2013). For Western ethical and political thought in general, justice has been important, and existing political orders have made justice a significant, genuine virtue. In the United States, the Preamble of the Constitution includes establishing justice as one of its goals; respect for justice molds American youth as they pledge allegiance to the flag, a recitation ending with the phrase “with liberty and justice for all” (Okin 1989, 3). Furthermore, James Madison believed that “justice is the end of government”, and the principles of justice help the majority to unite despite many parties and various interests (2003, 254-255). Arguably, Western society has failed to realize justice, whether this relates to race and police brutality, economic inequality and exploitation, oppression of women or people with different gender identities, or colonization and genocidal practices against Indigenous nations and peoples; some may claim Western societies have done more to promote injustice. In this essay, I will reimagine justice and offer an alternative interpretation: justice as preservative care for sustained peace.


Chapter is from Ethics of Care Series-Vol. 13 book: Care Ethics, Religion, and Spiritual Traditions. Edited by: Inge van Nistelrooij, Maureen Sander-Staudt & Maurice Hamington.

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