The term Justice has been used since ancient times and has entered the vocabulary of various nations. The essence and content of justice, its relationship with law as a normative regulator of social relations has often been the subject of heated discussions between philosophers, lawyers, economists and ordinary citizens since long ago.
Historical experience shows that the same phenomena and actions in different historical eras were evaluated differently, but the change from one era to another did not lead to a sharp replacement and denial of the previously existing concept of justice.
This fact suggests that justice is dialectically connected with the economic basis of society and a qualitative transition to another formation does not lead to a qualitative transition in the public consciousness.
That is why, during the development of a new socio-economic formation, the concept of justice still expressed the old moral assessment of behaviour at the level of a tribe, clan, community or nation.
New concepts and norms of behaviour were formed in the new emerging ruling class on the basis of their economic advantage.
Adopted with the advent of the bourgeoisie and bourgeois concepts of property, such new slogans as freedom, equality and fraternity, along with the division of society into new classes of oppressors and oppressed, the concept of justice again only fully corresponded with the interests of the ruling class.
This was expressed in the division of justice into egalitarian and distributive; equality, as the basis of justice, was allowed very limitedly. This concept of justice was also consistent with the idea of the state as a stronghold and expression of justice, as well as law, as its criteria and means of protecting the interests of the people.
The dogma about the necessity of legal responsibility for the commission of a crime, the inevitability of punishment and the implementation of the role of justice in this process runs like a red thread through the lectures of the ancients, as the basis of their philosophical concepts.
In ancient Greek and Roman legal thought, the concept of a close relationship between law and justice dominated; law must be based on justice, which is inherent in the very nature of the human mind and social relations.
Justice has always been regarded by progressive minds as a goal to which people and laws should strive.
Justice, as an integral characteristic of the correspondence of any social phenomenon in the rules of the development of society, can be present in all social norms and phenomena in which this society develops; religious, moral, corporate, ethical and legal.
Law is only an integral part of justice, but not justice itself. The definition of justice as a legal phenomenon is correct only if we recognize that in society, except for law, there are no other manifestations of human activity in matters of ethics and morality, when “everything else is nothing, and law is everything.” But this is not enough for justice.
The concept of justice can be interpreted as “the requirement of correspondence between the practical role of various individuals (social classes) in the life of society and their social position, between their rights and duties, between deed and retribution, labor and reward, crime and punishment, people’s merits and their public recognition”.
Thinkers have argued and discussed over the concept of justice for millennia and will continue to do so for countless more millennia, but, despite all such debate, there should be no doubt that justice does indeed exist in this world.
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This article is originally published on: Perceptions of Justice; the Law vs. Philosophy