Saturday, October 8, 2016

An Insufficiently Succint Thought on why 'Social Justice' Replaced 'Justice'

The term 'justice' is less specific, and so, it poses a disadvantage to proponents of secularism, that is, by the very possibility of justice having, in its most basic form, a spiritual nature (i.e. God defines justice). 'Social justice,' on the other hand, is the migration of moral rightness from the supernatural world to the human world, with an emphasis on political institutions, that is, since justice is, rather abstractly, the process of moral rightness being brought to situations of moral wrongness. The first worrisome possibility about all this is that what is morally right or wrong is decided by a human institution, and as we know, such institutions are prone to error. God, on the other hand, is not prone to error. 

A second consideration I'd like to mention is that social justice is quite structural functionalist in nature, which is bizarre, since structural functionalism is generally recognized as an embarrassment in relation to other sociological theories. Structural functionalism assumes that the cogs in the societal machine (norms, customs, traditions, institutions) cooperate with one another in order to maintain solidarity and stability. Social justice must have these same goals since it's about moral rightness being brought to situations of moral wrongness (social harmony), and especially since all of the aforementioned components can take on a moral nature. 

Perhaps structural functionalism isn't dead like its critics claim? Justice is a wildly popular topic in sociology, and as far as I'm concerned, there is a contradiction between its popularity and the idea that structural functionalism is no longer relevant.


  1. This has come to mind lately, not necessarily as technical as you have it here. But it's here.

    1. Interesting! Did you have any additional thoughts about it that I might have glossed over? Until I looked into the criticisms of social justice, I never would have gotten so hung up on the matter, haha.