Conflict Resolution

Advanced Problem-Solving Strategies

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I heard a great story tonight from a college professor. Near the beginning of this professor’s course on political philosophy, a student proclaimed that there was no such thing as justice. “I’ve read Nietzsche,” the student said, “and so I know that there is only power. Justice does not exist.”

The professor asked the student to give the course a little more time to test his assumptions. “But I’m warning you,” the professor advised. “If you still think the way you do by the end of this semester, you are not going to get a very good grade.”

“You can’t do that,” the student said.

“Why not?” asked the professor.

“Because it’s not fair!”

The professor told us how pleased he felt that he had achieved that kind of rare teaching moment, the lesson being that even when people doubt that justice exists, our desire for justice remains strong; our appeals to justice are often the strongest arguments at our disposal.