Sword and Scales: Philosophy of Justice Part 2


Last November 16, 2013, we attended a talk about Philosophy of Justice. There were three speakers that day: Mr. Mario Esteves, Dr. Jose Hernandez, and Mr. Dante Leocini.

Mr. Mario Esteves was the first speaker; he talked about the Filipino concept of cosmic justice or karma: an essential characteristic of Classical Natural Law Jurisprudence. He said that Classical Natural Law Jurisprudence is dominating influence worldwide and a prevailing dominant concept of justice among the common Philippine populace today. He also said that there are two essential characteristics of Classical Natural Law Jurisprudence. The first one is the connection between law and morality. He defined positive law and morality, morality mean as any kind of morality, whether conventional or critical, specific to time or place or universal. Law has an intrinsic connection with morality so that the characteristic of being moral is part of the meaning of positive law. He said that positive law must be moral. The second one is the moral order is part of the natural order. He explained that by the realization of the natural order of things in the entire universe and by the proper development of many accordance with his human nature. Also, he discussed that it is nature itself which determines how they are to live in a morally correct manner. In his discussion he said that the natural order of things normally reflects an order of peace and harmony, and that everything happens in accordance with reason, and that nothing happened by chance or by accident, and lastly cosmic justice rules the world. He described Karma as the metaphysical doctrine that everything that happens in the world, and in particular to man, is due to or because of reason. The next thing he explained is that Eternal law is composed of two kinds of law: Divine law and Natural law. The next part is the order due to human nature: The Aristotelian-Thomist tradition and the Stoic tradition. There are three of Aquinas’ Exposition of human nature, first is that good has the nature of an end, and evil, the nature of a contrary. Whatever is a means of preserving human life, belong to the natural law. Second, there is a man an inclination to thing that pertain to him which that pertain to him which he has in common with other animals. Third, there is in man an inclination to good, according to the nature of his reason, which nature is proper to him. The Stoic tradition believed that human nature is based on reason and man will achieve his true humanity if he can perfect his nature. Thus the Stoics too combined and coalesced nature with morality, just as Aristotle and Aquinas did. There are three Stoics’ exposition of human nature. First, man may find complete fulfillment and happiness anywhere, whether within the confines of society or not. Second, the idea of “calm resignation”: there are things and situation over which man has control and no control. The things under his control are his attitudes and emotions; he has no control over outside influences or forces in the world. Lastly, the doctrine of the “universal brotherhood of man”. This is based on the equality of all men due to the fact that all men are possessed of reason.

The next speaker was Dr. Jose Hernandez. He talked about Hustisya and Katarungan in the history of the Philippines. He focused during Andres Bonifacio’s time. He defined hustisya as kabanalan, katapatan, and katuwiran. While Husto, is just banal, tapat, sukat, and katampatan. He then explained the the connection of justics to Andres Bonifacio. First, nagtangka gumawa ng kasaysayan hiwalay sa Espanyol – the Spanish people said that Filipinos were useless without them being colonized. The Filipinos were once in the dark place and the Spanish people gave them light. Andres Bonifacio contrarily said that before the Spanish arrived, Filipinos were fine; when they arrived, the Filipinos were destroyed. If the Spanish people leave, then Filipinos would be fine again. Second, isang malaking bagay ginagawa ng mga Pilipino – blood compact signifies equality, same agreements with each other which is to continuously seek for goodness of others. When Andres Bonifacio looked at the blood compact of Sikatuna and Legaspi (Filipino and Spanish), he saw that Spanish people does not fulfill the agreements made. When this happened, Andres Bonifacio said that it is time for Spain to pay for what they have done.

He ended his discussion with a song related to the topic he discussed.

The last speaker, Mr. Dante Leocini talked about The “Root” of Platonic Justice. In his discussion of justice he said that the consolation of wealth is doing right. In his discussion, Justice is truth – telling and giving back what is not yours. It is also giving everyone “what is owed.” And giving what is due or appropriate. According to Socrates’ argument, doing good (friends) and harm (enemies) has no specific expertise. Therefore, it is not a serious thing (typical).  On the other hand, Thrasymachus’ argument is related to conventionalism and immoralism (injusticeism).

Based on the topics during the talk, I liked the first speaker’s topic most because I can relate and understand his topic more than the other two. Karma is not new to me and I also believe in it. Since I was young I hear people say that if you do something good or bad, karma will come. That’s why my mom told me to be careful with my actions and with what I say. She told me not to judge other people because the negative things I  say might happen to me or to my future kids. Overall, I learned so much about the talk especially about cosmic justice.


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