Contradictions, justice and laws

Cover of "Caves of Steel (Robot (Spectra ...
Cover of Caves of Steel (Robot (Spectra Books))

“What is your definition of justice?”

“Justice, Elijah, is that which exists when all the laws are enforced.”

Fastolfe nodded. “A good definition, Mr Baley, for a robot. The desire to see all laws enforced has been built into R. Daneel, now. Justice is a very concrete term to him since it is based on law enforcement. A human can recognise that, on the basis of an abstract moral code, some laws may be bad ones, and their enforcement unjust. What do you say, R. Daneel?'”

“An unjust law,” said R. Daneel evenly, “is a contradiction in terms.”

Isaac Asimov, The Caves of Steel (1954) – Chapter 8: Debate over a Robot


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