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The Contingencies of Life

The Contingencies of Life

(p.89) 6 The Contingencies of Life
Human Predicaments
John Kekes
University of Chicago Press

The imperfection of justice is an unavoidable problem in our evaluative framework. We often do not get what we deserve and get what we do not deserve. The reason for this is that the contingencies of scarcity, incorrigibility, and conflicts make the proportional distribution of rewards and punishment, benefits and burdens unavoidably imperfect. We must find a way of living with the imperfections of justice. We can try to approximate perfect justice, but our efforts to do so are subject to the very contingencies with which we are trying to cope. The search for an ideal of theory of justice that would avoid allow us to avoid these problems is doomed to fail. Reason requires accepting imperfect justice and trying to make it less imperfect. The conflict between how we think life should be and how life is cannot be eliminated.

Keywords:   problems, justice, ideal theory case, contingency, necessity, modes of evaluation, conflicts, scarcity, incorrigibility, imperfection

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