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Justice, Conflict, and Adversary Argument: An Examination of Stuart Hampshire’s Ideas and Their Implications for American Public Administration

Author: MICHAEL W. SPICER
Published in PAQ, Vol. 38 No. 4


This article draws on the ideas of Stuart Hampshire to examine the political practices of our culture as a basis for deriving a shared understanding of justice. It is argued here that such practices intimate a notion of procedural justice or “hearing the other side:” the idea that there is virtue in settling the various disputes that arise among us concerning our different interests and conceptions of the good, including our different conceptions of substantive justice, by processes of adversarial argument rather than force. The article also argues that, if public administration scholars and practitioners wish to foster procedural justice, then, they need to have an understanding of and appreciation for our constitutional practices of adversarial argument, as well as seeking other ways of promoting such adversarial argument within their own particular agencies and organizations.

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