Annette C. Baier

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How might Baier endorse the notions of justice and fairness despite her critiques?

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Baier would endorse justice and fairness, but she would add care.

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In her essay "The Need for More Than Justice" and her other writings, Annette C. Baier critiques the ethics of justice, but she does not actually negate the concepts of justice and fairness in and of themselves. Rather, she argues that people need more than the concepts of justice and fairness as they are commonly defined. They also need the concept of care. Let's outline some of Baier's ideas.

First, Baier describes the limits of justice as it has been defined by many philosophers. Justice often overlooks concepts of moral emotions like love. It can be perceived as cold and uncaring and even twisted to be employed as a tool of oppression. Justice, as often defined, simply does not go far enough to describe the necessary moral development, especially of women and children.

Second, Baier describes a concept that is needed in addition to justice and fairness: care. Care is "a felt concern for the good of others and for community with them." It goes far beyond the idea of justice as simply what people are due to embrace what is good for people as individuals and in community.

Third, Baier also presents the notions of trust, compassion, sympathy, gentleness, good temper, and agreeableness as necessary to moral development. These, too, go beyond justice and call people to deeper relationships.

Fourth and finally, Baier would endorse justice and fairness as part of a larger picture of morality. Justice is positive in that it identifies the basic rights of people and calls upon others to respect those rights and to provide what is due. Further, fairness is a necessary foundation to trust and other moral concepts. If people are not fair, they are not altogether trustworthy, and trust breaks down. If people don't respect justice, care and sympathy can suffer. Therefore, justice and fairness must find a place in the overall picture of morality, yet they must be filled out by other virtues.

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