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The Concept of Injustice: Philosophical and Literary Perspectives

The Concept of Injustice: Philosophical and Literary Perspectives (Hardback)

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The Concept of Injustice challenges traditional Western justice theory. Thinkers from Plato and Aristotle through to Kant, Hegel, Marx and Rawls have subordinated the idea of injustice to the idea of justice. Misled by the word's etymology, political theorists have assumed injustice to be the sheer, logical opposite of justice. Heinze summons ancient and early modern texts, philosophical and literary, with special attention to Shakespeare, to argue that injustice is not primarily the negation, failure or absence of justice. It is the constant product of regimes and norms of justice. Justice is not always the cure for injustice, and is often its cause.

LawJurisprudence & general issuesJurisprudence & philosophy of lawLawJurisprudence & general issuesSystems of lawCommon law Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd Publication Date: 24/10/2012 ISBN-13: 9780415524414  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Eric Heinze is Professor of Law and Humanities at Queen Mary, University of London. His most recent publications on legal theory have appeared in Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Ratio Juris, International Journal of Law in Context, Legal Studies, Journal of Social & Legal Studies, Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, Law & Critique, Law & Literature, and Law & Humanities.

More books by Eric Heinze

Customer Reviews

BOOK REVIEW THE CONCEPT OF INJUSTICE By Eric Heinze Hardback ISBN: 978 0 415 52441 4 Ebook ISBN: 978 0 203 09424 2 Routledge – a Glasshouse Book LEGAL THEORY: DOES JUSTICE CAUSE INJUSTICE? READ THIS BOOK AND SEE IF YOU AGREE An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers Plato asked ‘what is justice?’ Author and legal theorist Eric Heinz, now asks ‘what is injustice?’ Most people think they know the difference. Most lawyers, judges and other main players in the legal system know they know the difference. However, it’s this sense of certitude that Heinz seeks to knock on its head. As Professor of Law and Humanities at Queen Mary College, University of London, Heinz argues in this thought provoking treatise that, contrary to the traditional tenets of Western justice theory, injustice is not primarily the negation, failure or absence of justice. Rather it is ‘the constant product of regimes and norms of justice’. Furthermore, justice is not always the cure for injustice, but often its cause. If you don’t agree with any of this, don’t worry. According to Heinz, Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel and even Karl Marx wouldn’t have either. It was apparently Plato’s friend Thrasymachus -- dubbed ‘proto-Nietzschean’ by Heinz -- who praised what we infer is the superiority of injustice, of which he was convinced, arguing that power or wealth or even happiness can be acquired by clever and daring folk by unjust actions and through the application of force or stealth. Proto-Nietzschean? You bet! Small wonder that two and a half millennia later, everybody knows about Plato, but nobody’s ever heard of Thrasymachus. But here we over-simplify and digress. As the author later warns us, Plato’s Socrates cannot solve the problem of justice…by erasing Thrasymachus or what he stands for’. Agree or not, it is unarguable that justice and injustice co-exist and will always do so. Which is why, reluctantly one has to admit that some attempt should be made to explain injustice without necessarily condoning it – and that is, in our view, what this book has set out to do. In constructing and supporting his arguments, the author selects and quotes from any number of literary as well as philosophical texts, which range from the Bible to Sophocles, Plato and Aristotle -- and from Augustine and Dante to Thomas Aquinas and Erasmus. Particular attention is paid to Shakespeare, whose works are more frequently referred to than anybody else’s. Others quoted also include Racine, Voltaire, and Rousseau, as well as Kant, Schiller, Jeremy Bentham and Marx and Engels and more besides. A breadth and depth of erudition is offered in this overview of injustice as a concept, as well as close and convincing argument. If you, like most advocates -- whether lawyers, academics, or philosophers -- enjoy building up arguments, or demolishing them, there is much food for thought here in this glossy hardback. If you’re doing research in this area of legal theory, you’ll be delighted with the extensive footnoting throughout, the massive bibliography and the useful index. This contemporary take on issues as old as time, was published in 2013.

- 23/02/2013
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