UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Justice in personhood : the responsibility for action Ozturk, Ebru


This master’s thesis is philosophically-oriented educational scholarship that proposes a theory of justice as personal responsibility for action. It belongs to the tradition of humanities-based research that uses pre-qualitative methods to develop concepts and ideas into philosophical arguments and theories. Remaining loyal to the style and methods of philosophy, this study provides definitions, offers distinctions and anticipates objections to the claim as a whole and its main premises individually which are “personhood” (in Chapter 3), “responsibility” (in Chapter 4), and “action” (in Chapter 5). This philosophical study has essentially evolved out of a preceding empirical research project on the perceived and experienced differences in relations to native and non-native English teachers in Turkey, from which “justice” appeared as a preliminary concept of conflict. This journey from an empirical to philosophical research is detailed in the introduction (Chapter 1). By taking a particular historical approach to the development of the concept of justice from Greece in antiquity to medieval Turkey (particularly in Chapter 2) to the present day, this thesis seeks to explore the barriers to and enablers of justice in the plurality of persons in the modern era. The claim that justice is a personal responsibility for action provides a conception of justice as a common language of relationality among human persons in a common world, acting on their ability to respond to other persons. The cultivation of this ability to respond to others gives education a binding role in this claim by providing the necessary conditions for persons to develop an understanding of living in a common world shared with others in the final chapter (Chapter 6). It also serves as a reflection on the problems that anticipated objections to the claim revealed, which are addressed from a pedagogical lens, thereby providing parents and teachers some common guides to promote justice through education.

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