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"Social Justice" as a Standard for Institutions and Policy

Ben Peterson


The concept of "social justice" has ardent advocates and avid foes. Drawing from the modern tradition of Catholic social teaching, I develop a conceptualization of social justice that is sensitive to the critiques of scholars who charge that the concept is unfit to serve as a standard for normative evaluation because it is necessarily statist and egalitarian. I propose defining social justice as the securing of that to which members of a society are due according to mutual obligations enforceable by a public authority, as essential to the common good. The conceptualization offers a framework for clear debate about social justice-based claims.

Ben Peterson, "'Social Justice' as a Standard for Institutions and Policy," Journal of Markets & Morality 26, no. 2 (2023): 231-255

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