as the line representing term one is to the line representing term two, so
is the line representing term two to the line representing term three; here the line
representing term two is mentioned twice, so that if it be counted twice, there will be
Thus the just also involves four terms at least, and the ratio between the first pair of
terms is the same as that between the second pair. For the two lines representing the
persons and shares are similarly divided2
as the first term is to the second, so is the third to the fourth; and hence, by
alternation, as the first is to the third, so is the second to the fourth; and therefore
also, as the first is to the second, so is the sum of the first and third to the sum of
the second and fourth. Now this is the combination effected by a distribution of shares,
and the combination is a just one, if persons and shares are added together in this way.
The principle of
Distributive Justice, therefore, is the conjunction of the first term of a proportion with
the third and of the second with the fourth; and the just in this sense is a mean between
two extremes that are disproportionate,3
since the proportionate is a mean, and the just is the
（This kind of proportion is termed by mathematicians geometrical proportion4
; for a geometrical proportion is one in which the sum of the first and third
terms will bear the same ratio to the sum of the second and fourth as one term of either
pair bears to the other term.—3.
Distributive justice is not a continuous proportion, for its second and
third terms, a person and a share, do not constitute a single term.）
The just in this sense is therefore the proportionate, and the unjust is that which
violates proportion. The unjust may therefore be either too much or too little; and this
is what we find in fact, for when injustice is done, the doer has too much and the
sufferer too little of the good in question;
though vice versa in
the case of an evil, because a lesser evil in comparison with a greater counts as a good,
since the lesser of
two evils is more desirable than the greater, but what is desirable is good, and the more
desirable it is, the greater good it is.3.
This then is one kind of Justice.4.
The remaining kind is Corrective Justice, which operates in private transactions, both
voluntary and involuntary.
This justice is of a different
sort from the preceding. For justice in distributing common property always conforms with
the proportion we have described （since when a distribution is made from the
common stock, it will follow the same ratio as that between the amounts which the several
persons have contributed to the common stock）; and the injustice opposed to
justice of this a kind is a violation of this proportion.
But the just in private transactions, although it is the equal in a sense （and
the unjust the unequal）,