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Justice as Lawfulness



What is the relationship between justice as an individual virtue and justice as an institutional virtue? The latter has been exhaustively explored by political philosophers, whereas the former remains underexplored in the literature on virtue ethics. This article defends the view that individual justice is logically prior to institutional justice, and argues that this view requires a conception of individual justice I call ‘justice as lawfulness’. The resulting view consists of three claims. First, just institutions are composed of the relations between just persons. Second, the just person has a disposition to act in accordance with the legal and social norms (collectively, the nomoi) of the existing political tradition. Third, departures from the nomoi require that the just person act with practical wisdom to reform the nomoi according to an implicit standard of justice in the political tradition.



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Thanks to the following people for helpful comments on this article, which is based on chapter 4 of my (2017) doctoral dissertation Virtue Politics (Rogers 2017): Julia Annas, Joe Espena, Mario Ivan Juarez-Garcia, Mark LeBar, Fred Miller Jr., John Proios, Gregory Robson, Daniel C. Russell, David Schmidtz, Bjorn Wastvedt, and a handful of anonymous reviewers.



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