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Affirmative Action Vs. Equal Opportunity Essay

1018 words - 5 pages

Some of life' s most important decisions rely on the concept of justice; however, that idea seems to be a difficult one to define. According to Webster's dictionary, the term justice is the "quality of being just; merited reward or punishment". While this definition may seem abstract, justice must be clearly understood because it plays such an important role in creating the fair society that is so desirable. The many issues of judicial concern that affect that society today, for example the ethical debate between affirmative action and equal opportunity, have intrigued thinkers throughout history as evidenced in Aristotle's Politics: A Definition of Justice.Aristotle's views of justice are ...view middle of the document...

" Aristotle therefore asserts, that in a community, appropriate recognition of equalities and inequalities among people will result in justice; and without justice no nation can exist properly.The purpose of affirmative action is to manage the steady refusal of individuals, on the basics of their gender or race, from opportunities to perform and contribute in the work force. Affirmative action is an effort to develop a method of creating opportunities in education and employment for qualified individuals who are members of groups that have experienced persistent discrimination. Opponents of affirmative action want to see the "most qualified" people hired, regardless of gender, race, or age, referring to equal opportunity policies. An individual should be hired because they are the best for the part not because they are a minority unless the minority is the best. Some people will argue that affirmative action means that the best qualified will not be hired, but it has been demonstrated that test and educational qualifications are not necessarily the best predictors of future success. Employers hire people not only on test scores but also on appearance, family and personal connections, and on race and gender preferences, indicating that talent or qualifications can be defined in many ways. So even though a person may not have the highest test scores, they still may be qualified and be hired. This is the equal opportunity that Aristotle speaks of in his passage about justice.Aristotle expresses many complicated ideas about justice such as: that men speak of limited justice when it comes to justice of persons, a proper government has just laws and a misrepresented government has unjust laws, and the state ought to be governed by the multitude rather than the few. But his idea that people of office should be elected because of their superior excellence relates closely to the modern concept of affirmative action and equal opportunity. Aristotle says, "Men admit...

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