Try the eTextbook free for 7 days on your Fire, iOS, Android, PC, or Mac.

+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Sold by belltowerbooks
Condition: :
Comment: Fast Shipping! Ships within 1 business day. Arrives within 3-8 business days. May contain highlighting/markings or cover wear. This item does not include any CDs, Infotracs, Access cards or other supplementary material.
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
  • List Price: $34.99
  • Save: $4.90 (14%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
The Elements of Justice has been added to your Cart
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $9.75
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Elements of Justice Paperback – January 9, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0521539364 ISBN-10: 0521539366

Buy New
Price: $30.09
25 New from $30.09 14 Used from $26.09
Rent from Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$30.09 $26.09

"A Republic No More: Big Government and the Rise of American Political Corruption"
Various interest groups encamped in the District of Columbia mean we now have a special interest democracy. Find out more
$30.09 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The Elements of Justice + Anarchy, State, and Utopia
Price for both: $45.08

Buy the selected items together
Engineering & Transportation Books
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (January 9, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521539366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521539364
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #765,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...(W)hat makes Elements of Justice so rich and compelling is that Schmidtz does not follow the dominant pattern of philosophical argumentation..."
Adam Kadlac, The Hedgehog Review

Book Description

What is justice? Questions of justice are questions about what people are due, but what that means in practice depends on context. Depending on context, the formal question of what people are due is answered by principles of desert, reciprocity, equality, or need.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See both customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Currie-Knight TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 18, 2011
Format: Paperback
Many theories of justice are monistic: they suggest that justice boils down to rules x, y, and z, where x, y, and z do not ever conflict, offer clear answers to each moral dilemma when used properly, and do not depend on context. In "Elements of Justice" Schmidtz lays out what he calls a "contextual functionalist" view of the elements of justice - a pluralistic conception that suggests "justice' is made up of four elements that cannot be reduced to any formula. Desert, reciprocity, equality, and need are each part of justice, but depending on the situation, one (or two) of these four may be more important than others. For instance:

What do we owe to children? What they need.
What do we owe to spouses and friends? Reciprocation.
What do we owe to citizens? Equality under the law.
What do we owe to employees? What they deserve.

The book is in six sections. The first goes over why Schmidtz sees this as essentially a pluralistic view of justice that is more akin to a map than a theory (a map is an imperfect guide; a theory is a detailed argument). Section two goes over the concept of desert and what is entailed. Schmidtz points out that desert cannot only be a reward but also in anticipation of what one will do. John can deserve his promotion by doing a good job, but Jane might deserve to be hired based on what we think she will do when she gets the job. The third section is devoted to the idea of reciprocity and how justice often (but not always) demands that we give in proportion to what we receive, paying back or paying forward. The fourth section goes over the idea of equality, noting in particular that attempts at equality of x will always result in inequalities somewhere else.

Lastly, we get into the idea of need.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 25 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on May 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This week the state in which I live, Nevada, executed someone. Was he guilty? Probably, he was found guilty in a trial and then confessed. After some twelve yers on death row he quit appealing and asked to be executed. The comment of the children of the lady he killed were reported by the news as being thankful that justice had been served and closure brought to the situation. Today in the paper there are several articles wanting other people on death row to be executed.

Is this justice? Is it justice if the people executed are largely poor, minority and male? Or do the poor, minority males commit more crimes?

These and many other points about justice do not have easy answers. This little book attempts to present a theory of justice that covers these and many other points. In defining justice he discusses deserving, reciprocity, equality, and the philosophy of what has defined justice down through the years.

Excellently written, this is a book that makes you think.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The Elements of Justice
This item: The Elements of Justice
Price: $34.99 $30.09
Ships from and sold by