What is Rule Justice or Procedural Justice?June 28, 2021
According to this type of justice advocated by classical liberalism, justice is not a concept related to individuals but is about rules. “The actions of individuals are fair if they are consistent with the rules that protect the negative status rights envisaged by classical liberalism and are not directed to a specific subject in general, positive or negative terms” (Yayla 2000, p.73).
As can be seen, there is no longer any mention of sharing or distribution here. Justice is concerned with the form, not the content, of the action in question. The core value in this type of justice is freedom. “In a transaction of two people, the justice-related quality of this transaction is determined by the intersection of the free will of the two parties at a certain point, rather than the material content of the transaction” (Denis, quoted from the History of Economic Doctrines, Atilla Yayla 2000, p. 74). Those who laid the foundations of this understanding of justice were John Locke (1632-1704) and David Hume (1711-1776). I. Kant’s (1724-1804) understanding of justice is also discussed within the justice of this rule.
His famous analogy with the invisible hand, Adam Smith (1723-1790) also defined justice, albeit indirectly, by staying within procedural justice. Because, according to him, “A fair system is one in which everyone is equally free and subject to the same predictable rules.” (cited by A. Smith, Yayla 2000, p. 73).
The invisible hand metaphor is mentioned in Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. “Each individual, in pursuit of his own self-interest, often contributes to society more effectively than he intends to contribute” (Smith A, Wealth of Nations). Accordingly, harmony and order will occur spontaneously. By spontaneous, he actually means market relations, which he defines as the invisible hand (tr.wikipedia.org).
This rule of justice also finds its place in contemporary theories of justice. This understanding, which was inherited by F. A. Hayek (1899-1992) and Robert Nozick (1938-2002), was developed this time against social justice theories that flared up with John Rawls’s (1921-2002) theory of justice as fairness. For this reason, the type of justice that we will put against the rule justice is this understanding of justice as fairness. In this way, we can both better understand the source of social justice debates and avoid defining social justice as a genre. Because, as Bali says, social justice is actually the embodiment of the abstract idea of justice in a certain time and place and is not a genre, but justice as fairness can be considered as a type of justice that feeds this understanding and is influenced by Aristotle’s distributive justice.
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook