Social justice is most commonly referred to as the idea that everyone deserves equal rights and opportunities. There are several definitions of the term social justice, however this definition refers to the social, economic, and political rights that people who share this viewpoint of social justice believe everyone is entitled to. Opposing viewpoints when it comes to this term may firmly believe that social justice is nothing more than one group of people, usually the poor, putting all their own responsibility on another group of people, usually the rich. This viewpoint contradicts the word equality or as previously stated the word equal. However, in order to have a just or fair society everyone would need to be treated the same, in other words equally. "At the heart of a just society lies equality, important for its role as a regulatory principle" (Social Justice, Education and Schooling p.278).
It is important to analyze the words in the definition of social justice in order to better understand what the term means exactly. The term "rights" seems to be a word used in every definition of social justice. "Rights" according to some are thought to be synonymous with the term entitlement. However, Thomas Hobbes, a well-known English philosopher, uses the word "right" in two separate ways depending on what type of "right" he is referring to. When Hobbes refers to rights of the sovereign, he suggests that "rights" are "something to which one is morally entitled." When Hobbes is referring to the rights of a subject or person, his definition is then changed to "freedom from obligation" (Hobbe's Theory of Rights p.79).
Furthermore, the term justice itself needs to be analyzed in order to better understand the meaning of social justice. "Justice is discussed as a philosophical, theological and subjective issue" (Social Justice in a Diverse Society, p. 221). This statement suggests that the definition of the term depends entirely on the...
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