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Nicomachean Ethics   


what is equal in accordance with proportion; and similarly in
distributing between two other persons. Injustice on the other hand is
similarly related to the unjust, which is excess and defect, contrary
to proportion, of the useful or hurtful. For which reason injustice is
excess and defect, viz. because it is productive of excess and
defect-in one's own case excess of what is in its own nature useful
and defect of what is hurtful, while in the case of others it is as a
whole like what it is in one's own case, but proportion may be
violated in either direction. In the unjust act to have too little is
to be unjustly treated; to have too much is to act unjustly.
Let this be taken as our account of the nature of justice and
injustice, and similarly of the just and the unjust in general.
6
Since acting unjustly does not necessarily imply being unjust, we must
ask what sort of unjust acts imply that the doer is unjust with
respect to each type of injustice, e.g. a thief, an adulterer, or a
brigand. Surely the answer does not turn on the difference between
these types. For a man might even lie with a woman knowing who she
was, but the origin of his might be not deliberate choice but passion.
He acts unjustly, then, but is not unjust; e.g. a man is not a thief,
yet he stole, nor an adulterer, yet he committed adultery; and
similarly in all other cases.
Now we have previously stated how the reciprocal is related to the
just; but we must not forget that what we are looking for is not only
what is just without qualification but also political justice. This is
found among men who share their life with a view to selfsufficiency,
men who are free and either proportionately or arithmetically equal,
so that between those who do not fulfil this condition there is no
political justice but justice in a special sense and by analogy. For
justice exists only between men whose mutual relations are governed by
law; and law exists for men between whom there is injustice; for legal
justice is the discrimination of the just and the unjust. And between
men between whom there is injustice there is also unjust action
(though there is not injustice between all between whom there is
unjust action), and this is assigning too much to oneself of things
good in themselves and too little of things evil in themselves. This
is why we do not allow a man to rule, but rational principle, because
a man behaves thus in his own interests and becomes a tyrant. The
magistrate on the other hand is the guardian of justice, and, if of
justice, then of equality also. And since he is assumed to have no
more than his share, if he is just (for he does not assign to himself
more of what is good in itself, unless such a share is proportional to
his merits-so that it is for others that he labours, and it is for
this reason that men, as we stated previously, say that justice is
'another's good'), therefore a reward must be given him, and this is
honour and privilege; but those for whom such things are not enough
become tyrants.
The justice of a master and that of a father are not the same as the
justice of citizens, though they are like it; for there can be no
injustice in the unqualified sense towards thing that are one's own,
but a man's chattel, and his child until it reaches a certain age and
sets up for itself, are as it were part of himself, and no one chooses
to hurt himself (for which reason there can be no injustice towards
oneself). Therefore the justice or injustice of citizens is not
manifested in these relations; for it was as we saw according to law,
and between people naturally subject to law, and these as we saw' are
people who have an equal share in ruling and being ruled. Hence
justice can more truly be manifested towards a wife than towards
children and chattels, for the former is household justice; but even
this is different from political justice.
7
Of political justice part is natural, part legal, natural, that which
everywhere has the same force and does not exist by people's thinking
this or that; legal, that which is originally indifferent, but when it

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