“The notion of justice as a virtue began in reference to a trait of individuals, and to some extent remains so, even if today we often conceive the justice of individuals as having some (grounding) reference to social justice. But from the start, the focus on justice as a virtue faced pressures to diffuse, in two different ways. First, ‘justice as a virtue’ is ambiguous as between individual and social applications. Rawls and others regard justice as ‘the first virtue of social institutions’ (1971, p 3), but Rawls is not the first to think of justice as a virtue of social institutions or societies …” (more)
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. First published Fri Mar 8, 2002; substantive revision Fri Aug 7, 2020.