I just finished reading for my very first class about Tort Law, and my head is spinning. I understand, or at least am beginning to grasp, the basic concepts of torts--intentional torts, tort liability, etc.--into which over half of the contents of our reading delved. However, the remainder of our reading dealt with the theoretical concept of justice and whether or not justice is natural or conventional, and this is the part of our reading that has driven me to the computer to compose a written discussion of the issues I cannot, as of yet, fully grasp.
I'm struggling with a few basic, theoretical concepts: Does (human) nature inherently possess a universal concept of right and wrong? To what extent do social constructs affect our everyday interpretation of right and wrong? Is there any way to establish basic human rights without conforming to the existing power and consequently excluding some minority? And if, as I have previously held, the concept of a moral compass is a social construct, how does that affect my desire to advocate for social justice? Does social justice even exist? And how do I reconcile my conflicting notions that, although morality and justice are socially constructed, I feel it is my duty as a member (and minority) of society to fight for the deprived rights I believe I, other minorities, and all who are oppressed deserve?
In essence, these questions fundamentally deal with the ancient argument regarding nature versus nurture. I have come to believe that although nature and nurture have conventionally been pitted against one another, we as individuals and a society are, in reality, a complicated amalgamation of both. Therefore, if I apply this theory to my above questions, I begin to see how justice can be considered neither entirely natural nor entirely conventional but must be an intricate combination of both. I think I might have to wait until tomorrow's class discussion of the readings, however, to really get a grasp on how I might maneuver through the intricacies of natural and conventional justice in order to define and advocate social justice.
Although I have in no way reached anything close to an answer to my questions, I'm not going to write anymore today on this topic because I know tomorrow's class discussion will provide beneficial insight into these painfully complicated concepts. A follow-up post will come when I've formulated more concrete answers to the questions I posed above.
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Letter #4: The Leap
6 months ago