The essays in this collection by the noted French philosopher Paul Ricoeur grew out of a series of invited lectures given in France on the question of the nature of justice and the law at the Institut des Hautes Etudes pour a Justice in Paris. Gathered under the title "The Just", the essays represent a sustained reflection on the relation between the concept of the juridical - as embedded in written laws, tribunals, judges and verdicts - and the philosophical concept of right, situated between moral theory and politics. In political philosophy, Ricoeur argues, the question of right is obscured by the haunting presence of historical evil. In a philosophy of right, on the other hand, the leading theme is peace. Building on the framework established in his earlier work, "Oneself as Another", Ricoeur shifts his focus from political considerations to those having to do with the juridical dimension of the problem of justice. Fleshing out this framework, Ricoeur revisits the work of Plato, Aristotle and Kant in his engagements with contemporary thinkers, particularly John Rawls, Michael Walzer, Hannah Arendt and Ronald Dworkin.
His thought ranges from conceptual analysis, to the theory of law, and finally to the act of judging, exploring the ideas of sanction, rehabilitation, pardon and the status of conscience in relation to the demands of the law. A valuable work for understanding the development of Ricoeur's hermeneutic philosophy and the literary and religious dimensions of his thought, "The Just" should also be of interest to scholars interested in matters of ethics, law and justice.