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Aspects of Fairness

"It's not fair! He's got more than me." "It's not fair! She always get to sit next to you, Mum." So say children. Then adults say "It's not fair that someone should get benefits if they don't contribute" and "It's not fair that other people have so many privileges that we don't."

But what is fairness? Fairness about what - size of piece of cake, love, financial benefits, privileges, and so on. Fairness has something to do with justice, reward and punishment, so contributions entitle us to benefits - fairness is to do with entitlement. But what about someone who is unable to contribute? It would be harsh and unethical to debar those from benefits. There seems to be a difference between entitlement and generosity.

Dooyeweerd's aspects can help us separate out issues, in two ways:

Aspects of life about which we can be fair or unfair
Aspect Anticipating Use
Creating the IS
Knowledge Elicitation
Quantitative aspect
(Discrete amount)
Spatial aspect
Kinematic aspect
(Flowing movement)
Physical aspect
(Forces, energy, mass)
Biotic/organic aspect Food, sustenance
Sensitive/psychic aspect Sight, hearing, motor movement (disabilities)
Analytical aspect
Formative aspect Ability to achieve
Lingual aspect (Access to) media, knowledge, education
Social aspect Friendships. Status. Roles.
Economic aspect Resources, money, time
Aesthetic aspect Fun, leisure, a pleasant environment
Juridical aspect (Access to) justice, redress
Ethical aspect Love, care But can such things ever be subject to juridical norms?
Pistic/Faith aspect Belief. But is it meaningful to talk about fairness here?

This page is part of a collection that discusses application of Herman Dooyeweerd's ideas, within The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Email questions or comments would be welcome.

Written on the Amiga and Protext.

Compiled by (c) 2011 Andrew Basden. You may use this material subject to conditions.

Created: 29 May 2012 Last updated: