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4e. Justice - Community Volunteer

Justice

Is a distribution considered just or unjust from the point of view of the motives of the distributor?

Dilemma

Duty. As a community volunteer at Semple High School, Jim looked at the duty roster for volunteers in the Physical Education Department. He recognized some of the mundane duties from his days in high school … clean up the equipment, store the equipment just to mention a few. Then he spotted a new ‘duty’ on the roster … assist the basketball coach in home games. He said to himself, ‘That’s not a duty … I’d love to do that! Basketball is my favourite game.

Rights. Jim’s first reaction to the position of assisting the coach in home games was, ‘On what authority can I tell a player to do anything?’ The students will regard only the coach as someone who is knowledgeable about basketball strategies. No student will regard me as someone who has the right to tell them anything. So, how can I be an assistant coach?

Motive. Of course Jim would do his duty as an assistant coach … he does not want to be an assistant coach from a sense of duty. He wants to do it because he loves the game and he is committed to help players perfect their skills!

Desert. Jim felt he deserved this volunteer position because he had been a star basketball player in high school. When he approach the Coach to apply for the position of assistant coach, the Coach immediately recognized Jim from his days in high school where he had been a star basketball player. Jim got the position.

Just. Of course, Jim realized that there were other star basketball players when he was in high school. So what would make it fair or just for the Coach to pick him if others applied as well? Jim could only hope that the Coach would not allow his personal motives interfere with this decision because that might make the decision unfair or unjust.

Discussion

  • Is a distribution considered just or unjust from the point of view of the motives of the distributor?
  • Discuss other situations where people would be concerned about motives interfering with fair or just decision.
  • Discuss how each judgement ( duty, rights, motive, desert, justice) contributes to a more thorough understanding of a moral dilemma.

You may want to discuss other dilemmas.

Consider this view of ‘the motive of the distributior’

  • Crooked thinking

A distribution is considered just or unjust from the point of view of the motives of the distributor.

  • Straight thinking

Is a distribution considered just or unjust from the point of view of the motives of the distributor? That could not be the case because any reference to motives would clearly be a reference to the distributor and not to that which is distributed and therefore a reference to motives could not determine whether a distribution is just.


Moral principle value tests

An application of the moral principle value tests probably illustrates most clearly what is entailed in evaluative reasoning. They are:

It is important to emphasize that the moral-value principle tests are not designed to resolve issues (guarantee right answers!) but to assess the ‘justification’ for moral value decisions.

To view the Dilemma from the perspective of Duty, Rights, Motives, Desert and Justice, click the following:

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