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Injustice is a violation of justice . Failure to act in accordance with one's duty also belongs to injustice.

Heraclitus ties the determination of justice to the experience of injustice. “One would not have known the word 'justice' if these things did not exist.” For Aristotle : “The unrighteous do not always want too much, but in certain circumstances also want too little, namely of what is in themselves Is evil. But since the lesser evil appears to a certain extent as a good and greed is directed towards goods, such a person seems to be greedy. In reality, however, he is a friend of inequality. "( NE 1129b)

Friedrich Nietzsche points out the inevitability of injustice in human life : "You should learn to understand the necessary injustice in every pros and cons, injustice as inseparable from life, life itself as conditioned by the perspective and its injustice."

Conceptual content

Arbitrariness is one of the main causes of injustice because it breaks the principle of impartiality . Perceived injustice is an essential motive for demanding justice. For example, Charles Dickens had his character Pip in the novel Great Expectations (around 1860) say: “In the small world in which children live, there is nothing that they perceive and feel so sensitively as injustice.” John Rawls said in 1975: “ So, so far as circumstances permit, one has a natural duty to remove injustices and begin with the worst, which differ the furthest from perfect justice ”. The American legal philosopher Judith N. Shklar has pointed out that it is much more concrete in practice to make the manifold events of injustice a topic than an abstract concept of justice. "After all, injustice is not a politically meaningless term, and the seemingly infinite variety and frequency of acts of injustice encourage a style of thinking that is less abstract than formal ethics, but more analytical than the science of history."

Injustice judgments are therefore an important aspect in justice research . "The starting point of social psychological and sociological empirical justice research is the motivational force of experiences of injustice, ie the question of the extent to which experiences of injustice and perceptions of justice or injustice influence people's actions." The meaning of the term therefore depends on the perspective, depending on whether Justice is viewed from a religious, philosophical or ideological point of view or is claimed by a victim, a perpetrator or an observer. "Empirically it has been shown that inequalities are only perceived and named as unjust if the distribution was brought about through an intentional act or omission and the responsible actors cannot provide sufficient justification for the violation of legitimate rights."

Judith Shklar refers to various psychological aspects that take place in the background that are connected with the discussion about injustice. People who are at a disadvantage often consider themselves victims even when objectively they are not. “However, taking the victims' point of view seriously does not always mean that they are always right to perceive an injustice. We often accuse ourselves and each other for no good reason. We create scapegoats , we blame wildly, we feel guilty for actions we never did, we blame anyone happier than we are. ”Injustices can arise without intent, solely because of unfavorable circumstances. “It is impossible to characterize victims. They are just people who were in the wrong place in the wrong company at the wrong time. Many of today's victims will make others victims tomorrow. ”Unjust conditions have the ability to persist because those who profit from the situation want to prevent changes, or at least adopt a passive stance towards requests for change. “One reason there is no cure for injustice is because even fairly righteous citizens don't want one. This is not due to our disagreement about what is unjust, but rather to an unwillingness to give up the peace and quiet that injustice can and does offer. "

Perceptions of injustice

In a study of feelings of injustice in working life, the French sociologist François Dubet , using a plural theory of social justice, classified perceived violations of justice according to three principles:

  1. Violation of equality : not meant as egalitarianism, but as equality of positions and starting opportunities;
  2. Non-recognition of individual performance within the framework of a meritocratic status hierarchy;
  3. Circumcision of individual autonomy , that is, the possibilities to develop personal initiatives or to take advantage of opportunities for self-realization.


Closely related to the topic of injustice is the question of God's lack of compensatory justice ( theodicy ).

In legal practice it is discussed whether there should be equal treatment in the wrong .

The Innocence Project is a US non-profit organization that combats injustice by solving errors of justice .

It is considered a special form of injustice when those sentenced to death are wrongly executed. States with the death penalty inevitably accept the execution of innocent people, because neither the police nor the judiciary work properly. It has been proven that judicial errors and misjudgments occur again and again in the rule of law. Since an executed death penalty is final, it cannot be redeemed retrospectively. This damages the credibility of the legal system of this state and is a main argument against the death penalty.

The concept of love of one's enemies calls for a defense against injustice to renounce violence and to overcome it through nonviolence. An outstanding example of this was Mahatma Gandhi , who declared against the oppression by the British colonial rulers: "We will not bow to this injustice - not only because it destroys us, but also because it destroys you as well."

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Injustice  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Heraklit: Fragments , Diels wreath B 23
  2. Friedrich Nietzsche, Menschliches, Allzumenschliches, Preface No. 6
  3. Ernst Tugendhat : Justification of Morality and Justice (PDF; 892 kB), p. 6
  4. Charles Dickens: Great Expectations . dtv, Munich 1972, 77
  5. John Rawls: A theory of justice , Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1975, 278
  6. Judith N. Shklar: About injustice. Explorations to a Moral Feeling . Rotbuch, Berlin 1997, p. 26
  7. Kerstin Haase: Justice and impartiality. On the relationship between normative and empirical theories of justice , in: Stefan Liebig and Holger Lengfeld (eds.): Interdisciplinary research on justice. Linking empirical and normative perspectives , Campus, Hamburg 2002, 53–75, here 54–55
  8. Stefan Liebig and Meike May: Dimensions of social justice (PDF; 2.4 MB), in: From Politics and Contemporary History , 47/2009 of November 16, 2009, 3–8, here 4
  9. Judith N. Shklar: About injustice. Explorations of a Moral Feeling, Rotbuch, Berlin, 10–11
  10. Judith N. Shklar: About injustice. Explorations about a moral feeling, Rotbuch, Berlin, pp. 62–63
  11. Judith N. Shklar: About injustice. Exploring a moral feeling, Rotbuch, Berlin, 78
  12. ^ François Dubet: Injustices. On the subjective feeling of injustice in the workplace. Hamburger Edition, Hamburg 2008.
  13. Eknath Easwaran, Michael N. Nagler: Gandhi the Man: The Story of His Transformation. Nilgiri Press, 1997, ISBN 0915132966 , p. 74