From Friendship to Justice: in Search of the Meaningful Life in the Society

PhD in Philosophy

Social justice as a concept and as a value landmark is central to understanding modern societies. Its researchers approach social practices and institutions that produce various types of inequality and social exclusion — economic, status, symbolic, and others.

Researchers are no less concerned about the social practices and institutions that contribute to the growth of social justice. The most prominent theorist of justice of the twentieth century, the philosopher John Rawls, believed that such growth is impossible without ensuring the self-respect and mutual respect of its members in society. The Nobel Prize winner, economist and philosopher Amartya Sen, together with the philosopher Martha Nussbaum, placed “a decent life” at the center of their model of a just society. Their approach based on the assessment of human capabilities (capabilities approach) allows us to strive for a social structure that takes into account human identity and is based on caring for social inclusion.

Another important line of thought about a just social order is comprehending the ways people can live together and create communities in which a decent life becomes possible. Beginning with Aristotle, friendship is particularly important for such communities, which can serve as a central prerequisite for ensuring justice in society.

In the format of interactive lectures, seminars and discussions we will map the concept of ​​justice in the life of each and every one of us. Should we strive for equality? Are a decent life and self-respect and mutual respect really the most important landmarks of our life? What allows communities to be agents of social justice? Finally, why is it important today to explore various areas of justice (for example, gender or environmental)?

As a result of the course students and students

  • learn about key structures and institutions of a just society, as well as ways to argue for justice, and

  • learn to apply this knowledge to the analysis of modern societies, including Belarusan.


A. Sen. The idea of justice. M., 2016.
Aristotle. The Nicomachean Ethics. Book 8 ("Treatise on friendship")
O. Shparaga. Self- and mutual respect on the other side of abstraction and social degradation (05/20/2016) // Open Philosophical Faculty (video)