Countering the Counterfactual : A Case for Rectificatory Justice for Colonialism

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Linköpings universitet/Centrum för tillämpad etikFilosofiska fakulteten


Rectificatory justice for colonialism has been, in recent years, included in the discussion of global justice. The idea is that former colonial powers acknowledge, apologise and make reparations for the harms caused during colonialism. However, there are some objections to rectificatory justice for colonialism. This paper examines one of the main objections, the counterfactual argument. This objection has been found to have some plausibility due to the difficulty in estimating the effect of past injustice on present conditions, as well as the claim that African countries did indeed benefit from colonialism. However, due to the exploitative nature of colonialism, it is reasonable to argue for rectificatory justice based solely on the harm caused, without having to conceptualise a world without the occurrence of colonialism. The aim of this paper is to claim that the harms of colonialism are partly to blame for the current global inequality and that rectificatory justice will go a long way in decreasing this inequality.

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