Ethical Perspectives

March 2001

Introduction: discussing universal justice

Bart Pattyn


In the present issue of Ethical Perspectives, the reader will find two articles discussing universal justice. These articles were delivered as lectures to a conference on “debt reduction for the Third World” in February of last year in Louvain-la-Neuve. The contribution by Jef Van Gerwen and Toon Vandevelde argues that justice seldom implies uncomplicated and univocal positions. Johan Verstraeten's contribution illustrates some of the metaphors with which the Christian tradition understands universal justice and expresses its sense of responsibility to other people.
Within moral philosophy, it is primarily Kant who is seen as the defender of universal justice. Tore Nordenstam from the University of Bergen points out that, in their exposition of Kantianism and utilitarianism, the classic textbooks often misinterpret Kant's original intentions. At a time when a great deal of attention is focused on teaching schemes and slick presentation, Nordenstam reminds us of the importance of a close reading and a thoughtful commentary.

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To  Ethical Perspectives 1/2001