previous next
who does not stand on his rights unduly, but is content to receive a smaller share although he has the law on his side. And the disposition described is Equity; it is a special kind of Justice, not a different quality altogether.11.

The foregoing discussion has indicated the answer to the question, Is it possible or not for a man to commit injustice against himself? (1) One class of just actions consists of those acts, in accordance with any virtue, which are ordained by law.1 For instance, the law does not sanction suicide (and what2 it does not expressly sanction, it forbids). [2] Further, when a man voluntarily (which means with knowledge of the person affected and the instrument employed) does an injury (not in retaliation) that is against the law, he commits injustice. But he who kills himself in a fit of passion, voluntarily does an injury (against the right principle3) which the law does not allow. [3] Therefore the suicide commits injustice; but against whom? It seems to be against the state rather than against himself; for he suffers voluntarily, and nobody suffers injustice voluntarily. This is why the state exacts a penalty; suicide is punished by certain marks of dishonor,4 as being an offense against the state. [4]

(2) Moreover, it is not possible to act unjustly towards oneself in the sense in which a man is unjust who is a doer of injustice only and not universally wicked. (This case is distinct from the former, because Injustice in one sense is a special form of wickedness, like Cowardice, and does not imply universal wickedness; hence it is necessary further to show that a man cannot commit injustice against himself in this sense either.) For (a) if it were, it would be possible for the same thing to have been taken away from and added to the same thing at the same time. But this is impossible:

1 The argument seems to be, that suicide does not prove the possibility of a man's committing ‘injustice,’ in the wider sense of any illegal injury, against himself. Suicide is an act of injustice in this sense, since it is the voluntary infliction of bodily harm not in retaliation and therefore contrary to law; but it is an offense not against oneself but against the State, since it is punished as such.

2 Or perhaps ‘and any form of homicide that it does not expressly permit.’

3 i.e., the principle of retaliation.

4 At Athens a suicide's hand was buried apart from the body; Aeschin. 3.244.

load focus Greek (J. Bywater)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Athens (Greece) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (2 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: