In this essay I will discuss the necessary conditions for convention of justice to arise according to Hume's theory, will agree and support Hume's idea of justice and will list the implication and the impact on the topic of global justice Hume's nature of justice have. First, I will discuss the meaning of the justice and three necessary conditions required for the justice to exist: Sentiment of self-love, adequate scarcity of goods, and sympathy in respective order to see if these conditions indeed describe the world today and logic is sound.
Next, Hume's writing in the A Treatise of Human Nature will be explored to emphasize the difference of natural and artificial virtue, justice being artificial virtue. Finally, I will conclude that through Hume's stand on the nature of justice, the topic of global justice is highly unlikely to be achieved or established due to the fact that justice is an artificial virtue, and cannot possibly accommodate all human being's interest under one virtue unless by means of global education or institution.
I will first define the meaning of justice and discuss the three conditions required for the justice to arise, and each will be described in the order required to exist and made to connect with others. According to dictionary.com, justice is "The quality of being fair and reasonable."1 The first necessity for arise of justice is the sentiment of self-love. If the society is altruistic, there would be no reason for justice to exist since everyone is looking out for other's happiness. No one will be greedy or jealous, often the motivation for the actions that are unjust like stealing or murder.
The second necessity for arise of justice is the adequate scarcity of goods. The scarcity of goods has to be adequate in order for justice to arise because if there is no goods, every human being will be living for survival, therefore consideration of rules and morals will be disregarded. In the opposite spectrum, if there is too much of goods present, there will be no need for justice since losing the easily replaceable good means nothing but minor annoyance to society.
The third and final necessity is the sympathy, or ability to think and understand from other person's point of view, and also emotionally affected by the thinking and cause to act. Without sympathy, one cannot feel wrong about watching other person's suffering. For example, if there is a person who witnesses the horrific accident yet has not sympathy, that person most likely to just sit and do nothing but be awed at the scene of carnage.
As mentioned earlier, if these conditions are not in order, the chance of arise of justice will be unlikely. Again for example, if the society was altruistic, even if there was high scarcity of goods, people will be willing to sacrifice in order to make other's happy. Same goes for the level of scarcity of goods and sympathy since if there is too little of goods available, people will be struggle to self-preserve and will disregard rules and morals of society to survive. Since people are focused to live and compete for resources, sympathy is last thing on the mind.
These three necessities for arise of justice seems to be consistent with the world we live in today. Many of the places, where the conditions have been met, mostly the European and North American countries, and the people live in peace and have strong system of justice in place. In contrast, the place where the scarcity of the goods are low, for example Sub Saharan Africa, there are many corruptions, thief, murder and many other injustice being committed for the survival. It is difficult to produce examples for lack thereof other two necessities (since there was no real Altruistic society in history nor the non-sympathetic group of people) but providing example for the one of three keys for arise of justice serves purpose to validate the Hume's account on nature of justice: If a society is based on people who are self-loving, morally upstanding, sympathetic and when competing for right amounts of resources, a need rises to establish a system to be fair and beneficial to everyone so people can coexist without fighting others for survival.
This, however brings up the point of argument from Hume that because justice is created from the necessity of a society, it is highly unlikely to be just or adequate for other society. To understand Hume's version of nature of justice, it is helpful to understand his distinction between natural and artificial virtue. This distinction is the key to his theory on global justice because Hume states, "that our sense of every kind of virtue is not natural; but that there are some virtues, that produce pleasure and approbation by means of an artifice or contrivance, which arises from the circumstances and necessity of mankind."
The difference between natural and artificial virtues is mainly that the former are invariable, while the latter may change, dependent on the motives of reward and punishment, praise and blame. Artificial virtues arise from the necessities of mankind, and not directly from human nature. For example, keeping promises would be an artificial virtue because one feels obligated to fulfill the contract, while naturally it is selfish interest to ignore the promise made. If this is so, then can there be a Global Justice? According to Hume's nature of justice, it is highly unlikely. Hume argues that since justice is derived from the need of a society, each society with different culture will have different definition of justice. Therefore the justice cannot be applied in global scale unless there is one institution that teaches the identical moral and culture.