The priority of injustice: the copernican shift in the theory of justice




During the last decades of the twentieth century, various social and philosophical changes pushed to problematize some of the fundamental ideas of the theory of justice. Among them is the relationship that until then was postulated between the ideas of justice, an ideal construction that the philosopher was supposed to elucidate, and injustice, a secondary concept understood as the absence of justice. The idea of the “priority of injustice” now appears as a fundamental starting point for many philosophers of diverse traditions. In this article I will analyze the different meanings that this priority adopts in the main representatives of this “shift”, as well as their different ways of conceiving injustices, giving reasons to prefer some approaches to others. This “Copernican shift”, as I will attempt to show, entails transformations relevant to the idea of justice that no contemporary theory should ignore.

Keywords: justice, injustice, ideal theory, democracy, justice as a process.