Book 51. In regard to Justice1 and Injustice, we have to enquire what sort of actions precisely they are concerned with, in what sense Justice is the observance of a mean, and what are the extremes between which that which is just is a mean. 1.  Our enquiry may follow the same procedure as our preceding investigations.1.  Now we observe that everybody means by Justice that moral disposition which renders men apt to do just things, and which causes them to act justly and to wish what is just; and similarly by Injustice that disposition which makes men act unjustly and wish what is unjust. Let us then assume this definition to start with as broadly correct.1.  The fact is that it is not the same with dispositions as with sciences and faculties. It seems that the same faculty or science deals with opposite things2; but a disposition or condition which produces a certain result does not also produce the opposite results; for example, health does not give rise to unhealthy actions, but only to healthy ones: healthy walking means walking as a healthy man would walk.3 1.  Hence4 sometimes the nature of one of two opposite dispositions is inferred from the other, sometimes dispositions are known from the things in which they are found; for instance, if we know what good bodily condition is, we know from this what bad condition is as well, but we also know what good condition is from bodies in good condition, and know what bodies are in good condition from knowing what good condition is. Thus, supposing good condition is firmness of flesh, bad condition must be flabbiness of flesh, and a diet productive of good condition5 must be a diet producing firmness of flesh.1.  Also, if one of two correlative groups of words is used in several senses, it follows as a rule that the other is used in several senses too: for example, if ‘just’ has more than one meaning, so also has ‘unjust’ and ‘Injustice.’ 1.  Now it appears that the terms Justice and Injustice are used in several senses, but as the equivocal uses are closely connected, the equivocation is not detected; whereas in the case of widely different things called by a common name, the equivocation is comparatively obvious: for example （the difference being considerable when it is one of external form）, the equivocal use of the word kleis （key） to denote both the bone6 at the base of the neck and the instrument with which we lock our doors.1.  Let us then ascertain in how many senses a man is said to be ‘unjust.’ Now the term ‘unjust’ is held to apply both to the man who breaks the law and the man who takes more than his due, the unfair7 man. Hence it is clear that the law-abiding man and the fair man will both be just. ‘The just’ therefore means that which is lawful and that which is equal or fair, and ‘the unjust’ means that which is illegal and that which is unequal or unfair. 1.  Again, as the unjust man is one who takes the larger share, he will be unjust in respect of good things; not all good things, but those on which good and bad fortune depend. These though always good in the absolute sense, are not always good for a particular person. Yet these are the goods men pray for and pursue, although they ought not to do so; they ought, while choosing the things that are good for them, to pray that what is good absolutely may also be good for them.1.  The unjust man does not however always choose the larger share: of things that, speaking absolutely, are bad he chooses the smaller share; but nevertheless he is thought to take more than his due, because the lesser of two evils seems in a sense to be a good, and taking more than one's due means taking more than one's due of good. 1.  Let us call him ‘unfair,’ for that is a comprehensive term, and includes both taking too much of good things and too little of bad things.8 1.  Again, we saw that the law-breaker is unjust and the law-abiding man just. It is therefore clear that all lawful things are just in one sense of the word, for what is lawful is decided by legislature, and the several decisions of the legislature we call rules of justice. 1.  Now all the various pronouncements of the law aim either at the common interest of all, or at the interest of a ruling class determined either by excellence or in some other similar way; so that in one of its senses the term ‘just’ is applied to anything that produces and preserves the happiness, or the component parts of the happiness, of the political community.1.  But the law also prescribes certain conduct: the conduct of a brave man, for example not to desert one's post, not to run away, not to throw down one's arms; that of a temperate man, for example not to commit adultery or outrage; that of a gentle man, for example not to strike, not to speak evil; and so with actions exemplifying the rest of the virtues and vices, commanding these and forbidding those—rightly if the law has been rightly enacted, not so well if it has been made at random.1.  Justice then in this sense is perfect Virtue, though with a qualification, namely that it is displayed towards others. This is why Justice is often thought to be the chief of the virtues, and more sublime ‘or than the evening or the morning star’9; and we have the proverb— “ In Justice is all Virtue found in sum.10
” And Justice is perfect virtue because it is the practice of perfect virtue; and perfect in a special degree,11 because its possessor can practise his virtue towards others and not merely by himself; for there are many who can practise virtue in their own private affairs but cannot do so in their relations with another. 1.  This is why we approve the saying of Bias, ‘Office will show a man’; for in office one is brought into relation with others and becomes a member of a community.1.  The same reason, namely that it involves relationship with someone else, accounts for the view12 that Justice alone of the virtues is ‘the good of others,’ because it does what is for the advantage of another, either a ruler or an associate. 1.  As then the worst man is he who practises vice towards his friends as well as in regard to himself, so the best is not he who practises virtue in regard to himself but he who practises it towards others; for that is a difficult task.1.  Justice in this sense then is not a part of Virtue, but the whole of Virtue; and its opposite Injustice is not a part of Vice but the whole of Vice 1.  （the distinction between Virtue and Justice in this sense being clear from what has been said: they are the same quality of mind, but their essence is different13; what as displayed in relation to others is Justice, as being simply a disposition of a certain kind is Virtue）.2. What we are investigating, however, is the Justice which is a part of Virtue, since we hold that there is such a thing as Justice in this sense; and similarly we are investigating Injustice in the particular sense. 2.  The existence of the latter is proved by the following considerations: （1） When a man displays the other vices—for instance, throws away his shield, from Cowardice, or uses abusive language, from Bad Temper, or refuses to assist a friend with money, from Meanness—though he acts unjustly, he is not taking more than his share of anything; whereas when a man takes more than his share, it is frequently not due to any of these vices, and certainly not to all of them, yet nevertheless the action does display some vice, since we blame it; in fact it displays the vice of Injustice. 2.  Therefore there is another sort of Injustice, which is a part of Injustice in the universal sense, and there is something unjust which is a part of the unjust in general, or illegal. 2.  （2） Again, suppose two men to commit adultery, one for profit, and gaining by the act, the other from desire, and having to pay, and so losing by it: then the latter would be deemed to be a profligate rather than a man who takes more than his due, while the former would be deemed unjust, but not profligate; clearly therefore it is being done for profit that makes the action unjust. 2.  （3） Again, whereas all other unjust acts are invariably ascribed to some particular vice—for example, adultery is put down to Profligacy, desertion from the ranks to Cowardice, assault to Anger—an unjust act by which a man has profited is not attributed to any vice except Injustice.2.  Hence it is manifest that there is another sort of Injustice besides universal Injustice, the former being a part of the latter. It is called by the same name because its definition falls in the same genus, both sorts of Injustice being exhibited in a man's relation to others; but whereas Injustice in the particular sense is concerned with honor or money or security, or whatever term we may employ to include all these things, its motive being the pleasure of gain, Injustice in the universal sense is concerned with all the things that are the sphere of Virtue.2.  Thus it is clear that there are more kinds of Justice than one, and that the term has another meaning besides Virtue as a whole. We have then to ascertain the nature and attributes of Justice in this special sense.2.  Now we have distinguished two meanings of ‘the unjust,’ namely the unlawful and the unequal or unfair, and two meanings of ‘the just,’ namely the lawful and the equal or fair. Injustice then, in the sense previously mentioned, corresponds to the meaning ‘unlawful’; 2.  but since the unfair is not the same as the unlawful, but different from it, and related to it as part to whole （for not everything unlawful is unfair, though everything unfair is unlawful）, so also the unjust and Injustice in the particular sense are not the same as the unjust and Injustice in the universal sense, but different from them, and related to them as part to whole; for Injustice in this sense is a part of universal Injustice, and similarly the Justice we are now considering is a part of universal Justice. We have therefore to discuss Justice and Injustice, and the just and unjust, in the particular sense.2.  We may then set aside that Justice which is coextensive with virtue in general, being the practice of virtue in general towards someone else, and that Injustice which is the practice of vice in general towards someone else. It is also clear how we should define what is just and unjust in the corresponding senses. For the actions that spring from virtue in general are in the main identical with the actions that are according to law, since the law enjoins conduct displaying the various particular virtues and forbids conduct displaying the various particular vices. Also the regulations laid down for the education that fits a man for social life are the rules productive of virtue in general. 2.  As for the education of the individual as such, that makes a man simply a good man, the question whether this is the business of Political Science or of some other science must be determined later: for it would seem that to be a good man is not in every case the same thing as to be a good citizen.14 2.  Particular Justice on the other hand, and that which is just in the sense corresponding to it, is divided into two kinds. One kind is exercised in the distribution of honor, wealth, and the other divisible assets of the community, which may be allotted among its members in equal or unequal shares. The other kind is that which supplies a corrective principle in private transactions.2.  This Corrective Justice again has two sub-divisions, corresponding to the two classes of private transactions, those which are voluntary and those which are involuntary.15 Examples of voluntary transactions are selling, buying, lending at interest, pledging, lending without interest, depositing, letting for hire; these transactions being termed voluntary because they are voluntarily entered upon.16 Of involuntary transactions some are furtive, for instance, theft, adultery, poisoning, procuring, enticement of slaves, assassination, false witness; others are violent, for instance, assault, imprisonment, murder, robbery with violence, maiming, abusive language, contumelious treatment.3. Now since an unjust man is one who is unfair, and the unjust is the unequal, it is clear that corresponding to the unequal there is a mean, namely that which is equal; 3.  for every action admitting of more and less admits of the equal also. 3.  If then the unjust is the unequal, the just is the equal—a view that commends itself to all without proof; and since the equal is a mean, the just will be a sort of mean too. 3.  Again, equality involves two terms at least. It accordingly follows not only （a） that the just is a mean and equal [and relative to something and just for certain persons17], but also （b） that, as a mean, it implies certain extremes between which it lies, namely the more and the less; （c） that, as equal, it implies two shares that are equal; and （d） that, as just, it implies certain persons for whom it is just. 3.  It follows therefore that justice involves at least four terms, namely, two persons for whom it is just and two shares which are just. 3.  And there will be the same equality between the shares as between the persons, since the ratio between the shares will be equal to the ratio between the persons; for if the persons are not equal, they will not have equal shares; it is when equals possess or are allotted unequal shares, or persons not equal equal shares, that quarrels and complaints arise.3.  This is also clear from the principle of ‘assignment by desert.’ All are agreed that justice in distributions must be based on desert of some sort, although they do not all mean the same sort of desert; democrats make the criterion free birth; those of oligarchical sympathies wealth, or in other cases birth; upholders of aristocracy make it virtue. 3.  Justice is therefore a sort of proportion; for proportion is not a property of numerical quantity only, but of quantity in general, proportion being equality of ratios, and involving four terms at least.3.  （That a discrete proportion18 has four terms is plain, but so also has a continuous proportion, since it treats one term as two, and repeats it: for example,19 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 four proportionals.）3.  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 divided20; 3.  then, 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. 3.  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,21 since the proportionate is a mean, and the just is the proportionate.3.  （This kind of proportion is termed by mathematicians geometrical proportion22; 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; 3.  though vice versa in the case of an evil, because a lesser evil in comparison with a greater counts as a good, 3.  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）, is not the equal according to geometrical but according to arithmetical proportion.23 For it makes no difference24 whether a good man has defrauded a bad man or a bad one a good one, nor whether it is a good or a bad man that has committed adultery; the law looks only at the nature of damage, treating the parties as equal, and merely asking whether one has done and the other suffered injustice, whether one inflicted and the other has sustained damage.  Hence the unjust being here the unequal, the judge endeavors to equalize it: inasmuch as when one man has received and the other has inflicted a blow, or one has killed and the other been killed, the line25 representing the suffering and doing of the deed is divided into unequal parts, but the judge endeavors to make them equal by the penalty or loss26 he imposes, taking away the gain.  （For the term ‘gain’ is used in a general way to apply to such cases, even though it is not strictly appropriate to some of them, for example to a person who strikes another, nor is ‘loss’ appropriate to the victim in this case;  but at all events the results are called ‘loss’ and ‘gain’ respectively when the amount of the damage sustained comes to be estimated.） Thus, while the equal is a mean between more and less, gain and loss are at once both more and less in contrary ways, more good and less evil being gain and more evil and less good loss; and as the equal, which we pronounce to be just, is, as we said, a mean between them, it follows that Justice in Rectification27 will be the mean between loss and gain.  This is why when disputes occur men have recourse to a judge. To go to a judge is to go to justice, for the ideal judge is so to speak justice personified. Also, men require a judge to be a middle term or medium—indeed in some places judges are called mediators—, for they think that if they get the mean they will get what is just. Thus the just is a sort of mean, inasmuch as the judge is a medium between the litigants.  Now the judge restores equality: if we represent the matter by a line divided into two unequal parts, he takes away from the greater segment that portion by which it exceeds one-half of the whole line, and adds it to the lesser segment. When the whole has been divided into two halves, people then say that they ‘have their own,’ having got what is equal.  28This is indeed the origin of the word dikaion （just）: it means dicha （in half）, as if one were to pronounce it dichaion; and a dikast （judge） is a dichast （halver）. The equal is a mean by way of arithmetical proportion between the greater and the less.  For when of two equals29 a part is taken from the one and added to the other, the latter will exceed the former by twice that part, since if it had been taken from the one but not added to the other, the latter would exceed the former by once the part in question only. Therefore the latter will exceed the mean by once the part, and the mean will exceed the former, from which the part was taken, by once that part.  This process then will enable us to ascertain what we ought to take away from the party that has too much and what to add to the one that has too little: we must add to the one that has too little the amount whereby the mean between them exceeds him, and take away from the greatest30 of the three the amount by which the mean is exceeded by him.  Let the lines AA, BB, CC be equal to one another; let the segment AE be taken away from the line AA, and let the segment CD be added to the line CC, so that the whole line DCC exceeds the line EA by CD+CF; then DCC will exceed BB by CD.31  The terms ‘loss’ and ‘gain’ in these cases are borrowed from the operations of voluntary exchange. There, to have more than one's own is called gaining, and to have less than one had at the outset is called losing, as for instance in buying and selling, and all other transactions sanctioned by law;32  while if the result of the transaction is neither an increase nor a decrease, but exactly what the parties had of themselves, they say they ‘have their own’ and have neither lost nor gained. Hence Justice in Involuntary Transactions is a mean between gain and loss in a sense: it is to have after the transaction an amount equal to the amount one had before it. 5. The view is also held by some that simple Reciprocity is Justice. This was the doctrine of the Pythagoreans, who defined the just simply as ‘suffering reciprocally with another.’33  Reciprocity however does not coincide either with Distributive or with Corrective Justice  （although people mean to identify it with the latter when they quote the rule of Rhadamanthys— “ An a man suffer even that which he did,
Right justice will be done）.
”  For in many cases Reciprocity is at variance with Justice: for example, if an officer strikes a man, it is wrong for the man to strike him back; and if a man strikes an officer, it is not enough for the officer to strike him, but he ought to be punished as well.  Again, it makes a great difference whether an act was done with or without the consent of the other party.34  But in the interchange of services Justice in the form of Reciprocity is the bond that maintains the association: reciprocity, that is, on the basis of proportion, not on the basis of equality. The very existence of the state depends on proportionate reciprocity; for men demand that they shall be able to requite evil with evil— if they cannot, they feel they are in the position of slaves—and to repay good with good— failing which, no exchange takes place, and it is exchange that binds them together.  This is why we set up a shrine of the Graces in a public place, to remind men to return a kindness; for that is a special characteristic of grace, since it is a duty not only to repay a service done one, but another time to take the initiative in doing a service oneself.  Now proportionate requital is effected by diagonal conjunction. For example, let A be a builder, B a shoemaker, C a house, and D a shoe. It is required that the builder shall receive from the shoemaker a portion of the product of his labor, and give him a portion of the product of his own. Now35 if proportionate equality between the products be first established, and then reciprocation take place, the requirement indicated will have been achieved; but if this is not done, the bargain is not equal, and intercourse does not continue. For it may happen that the product of one of the parties is worth more than that of the other, and in that case therefore they have to be equalized.  This holds good with the other arts as well; for they would have passed out of existence if the active element did not produce, and did not receive the equivalent in quantity and quality of what the passive element receives.36 For an association for interchange of services is not formed between two physicians, but between a physician and a farmer, and generally between persons who are different, and who may be unequal, though in that case they have to be equalized.  Hence all commodities exchanged must be able to be compared in some way. It is to meet this requirement that men have introduced money; money constitutes in a manner a middle term, for it is a measure of all things, and so of their superior or inferior value, that is to say, how many shoes are equivalent to a house or to a given quantity of food. As therefore a builder is to a shoemaker,37 so must such and such a number of shoes be to a house, [or to a given quantity of food]38; for without this reciprocal proportion, there can be no exchange and no association; and it cannot be secured unless the commodities in question be equal in a sense.  It is therefore necessary that all commodities shall be measured by some one standard, as was said before. And this standard is in reality demand, which is what holds everything together, since if men cease to have wants or if their wants alter, exchange will go on no longer, or will be on different lines. But demand has come to be conventionally represented by money; this is why money is called nomisma （customary currency）, because it does not exist by nature but by custom （nomos）, and can be altered and rendered useless39 at will.  There will therefore be reciprocal proportion when the products have been equated, so that as farmer is to shoemaker,40 so may the shoemaker's product be to the farmer's product. And when they exchange their products they must reduce them to the form of a proportion, otherwise one of the two extremes will have both the excesses41; whereas when they have their own,42 they then are equal, and can form an association together, because equality in this sense can be established in their case （farmer A, food C, shoemaker B, shoemaker's product equalized D43）; whereas if it were impossible for reciprocal proportion to be effected in this way, there could be no association between them.  That it is demand which, by serving as a single standard, holds such an association together, is shown by the fact that, when there is no demand for mutual service on the part of both or at least of one of the parties, no exchange takes place between them [as when someone needs something that one has oneself, for instance the state offering a license to export corn in exchange for wine].44 This inequality of demand has therefore to be equalized.  Now money serves us as a guarantee of exchange in the future: supposing we need nothing at the moment, it ensures that exchange shall be possible when a need arises, for it meets the requirement of something we can produce in payment so as to obtain the thing we need. Money, it is true, is liable to the same fluctuation of demand as other commodities, for its purchasing power varies at different times; but it tends to be comparatively constant. Hence the proper thing is for all commodities to have their prices fixed; this will ensure that exchange, and consequently association, shall always be possible. Money then serves as a measure which makes things commensurable and so reduces them to equality. If there were no exchange there would be no association, and there can be no exchange without equality, and no equality without commensurability. Though therefore it is impossible for things so different to become commensurable in the strict sense, our demand furnishes a sufficiently accurate common measure for practical purposes.  There must therefore be some one standard, and this accepted by agreement （which is why it is called nomisma, customary currency）; for such a standard makes all things commensurable, since all things can be measured by money. Let A be a house, B ten minae and C a bedstead. Then A=B/2 （supposing the house to be worth, or equal to, five minae）, and C （the bedstead） =B/10; it is now clear how many bedsteads are equal to one house, namely five.  It is clear that before money existed this is how the rate of exchange was actually stated—five beds for a house—since there is no real difference between that and the price of five beds for a house.  We have now stated what Justice and Injustice are in principle. From the definition given, it is plain that just conduct is a mean between doing and suffering injustice, for the former is to have too much and the latter to have too little. And Justice is a mode of observing the mean, though not in the same way as the other virtues are, but because it is related to a mean, while Injustice is related to the extremes. Also, Justice is that quality in virtue of which a man is said to be disposed to do by deliberate choice that which is just, and, when distributing things between himself and another, or between two others, not to give too much to himself and too little to his neighbor of what is desirable, and too little to himself and too much to his neighbor of what is harmful, but to each what is proportionately equal; and similarly when he is distributing between two other persons.  Injustice on the contrary is similarly related to that which is unjust, which is a disproportionate excess or deficiency of something beneficial or harmful. Hence Injustice is excess and defect, in the sense that it results in excess and defect: namely, in the offender's own case, an excess of anything that is generally speaking beneficial and a deficiency of anything harmful, and in the case of others,45 though the result as a whole is the same, the deviation from proportion may be in either direction as the case may be. Of the injustice done, the smaller part is the suffering and the larger part the doing of injustice.  So much may be said about the nature of Justice and Injustice, and of the Just and the Unjust regarded universally.46 6. But seeing that a man may commit injustice without actually being unjust, what is it that distinguishes those unjust acts the commission of which renders a man actually unjust under one of the various forms of injustice, for example, a thief or an adulterer or a brigand? Or shall we rather say that the distinction does not lie in the quality of the act? For a man may have intercourse with a woman knowing who she is, yet not from the motive of deliberate choice, but under the influence of passion;  in such a case, though he has committed injustice, he is not an unjust man: for instance, he is not a thief, though guilty of theft, not an adulterer, though he has committed adultery, and so forth.  The relation of Reciprocity to Justice has been stated already.  But we must not forget that the subject of our investigation is at once Justice in the absolute sense and Political Justice. Political Justice means justice as between free and （actually or proportionately） equal persons, living a common life for the purpose of satisfying their needs. Hence between people not free and equal political justice cannot exist, but only a sort of justice in a metaphorical sense. For justice can only exist between those whose mutual relations are regulated by law, and law exists among those between whom there is a possibility of injustice, for the administration of the law means the discrimination of what is just and what is unjust. Persons therefore between whom injustice can exist can act unjustly towards each other （although unjust action does not necessarily involve injustice）: to act unjustly meaning to assign oneself too large a share of things generally good and too small a share of things generally evil.  This is why we do not permit a man to rule, but the law, because a man rules in his own interest, and becomes a tyrant; but the function of a ruler is to be the guardian of justice, and if of justice, then of equality.  A just ruler seems to make nothing out of his office; for he does not allot to himself a larger share of things generally good, unless it be proportionate to his merits; so that he labors for others, which accounts for the saying mentioned above,47 that ‘Justice is the good of others.’  Consequently some recompense has to be given him, in the shape of honor and dignity. It is those whom such rewards do not satisfy who make themselves tyrants.  Justice between master and slave and between father and child is not the same as absolute and political justice, but only analogous to them. For there is no such thing as injustice in the absolute sense towards what is one's own; and a chattel,48 or a child till it reaches a certain age and becomes independent, is, as it were, a part of oneself, and no one chooses to harm himself;  hence there can be no injustice towards them, and therefore nothing just or unjust in the political sense. For these, as we saw, are embodied in law, and exist between persons whose relations are naturally regulated by law, that is, persons who share equally in ruling and being ruled. Hence Justice exists in a fuller degree between husband and wife than between father and children, or master and slaves; in fact, justice between husband and wife is Domestic Justice in the real sense, though this too is different from Political Justice.7. Political Justice is of two kinds, one natural, the other conventional. A rule of justice is natural that has the same validity everywhere, and does not depend on our accepting it or not. A rule is conventional that in the first instance may be settled in one way or the other indifferently, though having once been settled it is not indifferent: for example, that the ransom for a prisoner shall be a mina, that a sacrifice shall consist of a goat and not of two sheep; and any regulations enacted for particular cases, for instance the sacrifice in honor of Brasidas,49 and ordinances in the nature of special decrees.  Some people think that all rules of justice are merely conventional, because whereas a law of nature is immutable and has the same validity everywhere, as fire burns both here and in Persia, rules of justice are seen to vary.  That rules of justice vary is not absolutely true, but only with qualifications. Among the gods indeed it is perhaps not true at all; but in our world,50 although there is such a thing as Natural Justice, all rules of justice are variable. But nevertheless there is such a thing as Natural Justice as well as justice not ordained by nature;  and it is easy51 to see which rules of justice, though not absolute, are natural, and which are not natural but legal and conventional, both sorts alike being variable. The same distinction will hold good in all other matters; for instance, the right hand is naturally stronger than the left, yet it is possible for any man to make himself ambidextrous.  The rules of justice based on convention and expediency are like standard measures. Corn and wine measures are not equal in all places, but are larger in wholesale and smaller in retail markets. Similarly the rules of justice ordained not by nature but by man are not the same in all places, since forms of government are not the same, though in all places there is only one form of government that is natural, namely, the best form.  The several rules of justice and of law are related to the actions conforming with them as universals to particulars, for the actions done are many, while each rule or law is one, being universal.  There is a difference between ‘that which is unjust’ and ‘unjust conduct,’ and between ‘that which is just’ and ‘just conduct.’ Nature or ordinance pronounces a thing unjust: when that thing is done, it is ‘unjust conduct’; till it is done, it is only ‘unjust.’ And similarly with ‘just conduct,’ a dikaioma （or more correctly, the general term is dikaiopragema, dikaioma denoting the rectification of an act of injustice）. We shall have later52 to consider the several rules of justice and of law, and to enumerate their various kinds and describe them and the things with which they deal.8. Such being an account of just and unjust actions, it is their voluntary performance that constitutes just and unjust conduct. If a man does them involuntarily, he cannot be said to act justly, or unjustly, except incidentally, in the sense that he does an act which happens to be just or unjust.  Whether therefore an action is or is not an act of injustice, or of justice, depends on its voluntary or involuntary character. When it is involuntary, the agent is blamed, and only in that case is the action an act of injustice; so that it is possible for an act to be unjust without being an act of injustice, if the qualification of voluntariness be absent.  By a voluntary action, as has been said before,53 I mean any action within the agent's own control which he performs knowingly, that is, without being in ignorance of the person affected, the instrument employed, and the result （for example, he must know whom he strikes, and with what weapon, and the effect of the blow）; and in each of these respects both accident54 and compulsion must be excluded. For instance, if A took hold of B's hand and with it struck C, B would not be a voluntary agent, since the act would not be in his own control. Or again, a man may strike his father without knowing that it is his father, though aware that he is striking some person, and perhaps that it is one or other of the persons present55; and ignorance may be similarly defined with reference to the result, and to the circumstances of the action generally. An involuntary act is therefore an act done in ignorance, or else one that though not done in ignorance is not in the agent's control, or is done under compulsion; since there are many natural processes too that we perform or undergo knowingly, though none of them is either voluntary or involuntary56; for example, growing old, and dying.  Also an act may be either just or unjust incidentally. A man may restore a deposit unwillingly and from fear of consequences, and we must not then say that he does a just act, nor that he acts justly, except incidentally; and similarly a man who under compulsion and against his will fails to restore a deposit can only be said to act unjustly or do what is unjust incidentally.  Again voluntary acts are divided into acts done by choice and those done not by choice, the former being those done after deliberation and the latter those done without previous deliberation.  There are then three ways57 in which a man may injure his fellow. An injury done in ignorance is an error, the person affected or the act or the instrument or the result being other than the agent supposed; for example, he did not think to hit, or not with this missile, or not this person, or not with this result, but it happened that either the result was other than he expected （for instance he did not mean to inflict a wound but only a prick）, or the person, or the missile.  When then the injury happens contrary to reasonable expectation, it is （1） a misadventure. When, though not contrary to reasonable expectation, it is done without evil intent, it is （2） a culpable error; for an error is culpable when the cause of one's ignorance lies in oneself, but only a misadventure when the cause lies outside oneself.  When an injury is done knowingly but not deliberately, it is （3） an act of injustice or wrong; such, for instance, are injuries done through anger, or any other unavoidable or natural passion to which men are liable; since in committing these injuries and errors a man acts unjustly, and his action is an act of injustice, but he is not ipso facto unjust or wicked, for the injury was not done out of wickedness. When however an injury is done from choice, the doer is unjust and wicked.  Hence acts due to sudden anger are rightly held not to be done of malice aforethought, for it is the man who gave the provocation that began it, not he who does the deed in a fit of passion.  And moreover the issue is not one of fact, but of justification （since it is apparent injustice that arouses anger）; the fact of the injury is not disputed （as it is in cases of contract, where one or the other of the parties must be a knave, unless they dispute the facts out of forgetfulness）. They agree as to the facts but dispute on which side justice lies so that one thinks he has been unjustly treated and the other does not. On the other hand, one who has planned an injury is not acting in ignorance;58  but if a man does an injury of set purpose, he is guilty of injustice, and injustice of the sort that renders the doer an unjust man, if it be an act that violates proportion or equality. Similarly one who acts justly on purpose is a just man; but he acts justly only if he acts voluntarily.  Of involuntary actions some are pardonable and some are not. Errors not merely committed in ignorance but caused by ignorance are pardonable; those committed in ignorance, but caused not by that ignorance but by unnatural or inhuman passion, are unpardonable.9. But it may perhaps be doubted whether our discussion of suffering and doing injustice has been sufficiently definite; and in the first place, whether the matter really is as Euripides has put it in the strange lines59— “ I killed my mother—that's the tale in brief!
Were you both willing, or unwilling both?
” Is it really possible to suffer injustice60 voluntarily, or on the contrary is suffering injustice always involuntary, just as acting unjustly is always voluntary? And again, is suffering injustice always voluntary, or always involuntary, or sometimes one and sometimes the other?  And similarly with being treated justly （acting justly being always voluntary）. Thus it would be reasonable to suppose that both being treated unjustly and being treated justly are similarly opposed to acting unjustly and acting justly respectively: that either both are voluntary or both involuntary. But it would seem paradoxical to assert that even being treated justly is always voluntary; for people are sometimes treated justly against their will.  The fact is that the further question might be raised, must a man who has had an unjust thing done to him always be said to have been treated unjustly, or does the same thing hold good of suffering as of doing something unjust? One may be a party to a just act, whether as its agent or its object, incidentally.61 And the same clearly is true of an unjust act: doing what is unjust is not identical with acting unjustly, nor yet is suffering what is unjust identical with being treated unjustly, and the same is true of acting and being treated justly; for to be treated unjustly requires someone who acts unjustly, and to be treated justly requires someone who acts justly.  But if to act unjustly is simply to do harm voluntarily, and voluntarily means knowing the person affected, the instrument, and the manner of injury, it will follow both that the man of defective self-restraint, inasmuch as he voluntarily harms himself, voluntarily suffers injustice, and also that it is possible for a man to act unjustly towards himself （for the possibility of this is also a debated question）.  Moreover, lack of self-restraint may make a person voluntarily submit to being harmed by another; which again would prove that it is possible to suffer injustice voluntarily. But perhaps this definition of acting unjustly is incorrect, and we should add to the words ‘to do harm knowing the person affected, the instrument and the manner’ the further qualification ‘against that person's wish.’  If so, though a man can be harmed and can have an unjust thing done to him voluntarily, no one can suffer injustice voluntarily, because no one can wish to be harmed: even the unrestrained man does not, but acts contrary to his wish, since no one wishes for a thing that he does not think to be good, and the unrestrained man does what he thinks he ought not to do.  One who gives away what is his own—as Homer62 says that Glaucus gave to Diomede “ golden arms for bronze,
An hundred beeves' worth for the worth of nine—
” cannot be said to suffer injustice; for giving rests with oneself, suffering injustice does not—there has to be another person who acts unjustly.  It is clear then that it is not possible to suffer injustice voluntarily. There still remain two of the questions that we proposed to discuss: （1） Is it ever he who gives the unduly large share, or is it always he who receives it, that is guilty of the injustice? and （2） Can one act unjustly towards oneself?  If the former alternative is possible, that is, if it may be the giver and not the receiver of too large a share who acts unjustly, then when a man knowingly and voluntarily assigns a larger share to another than to himself— as modest people are thought to do, for an equitable man is apt to take less than his due—this is a case of acting unjustly towards oneself. But perhaps this also requires qualification. For the man who gave himself the smaller share may possibly have got a larger share of some other good thing, for instance glory, or intrinsic moral nobility. Also the inference may be refuted by referring to our definition of acting unjustly: in the case supposed, the distributor has nothing done to him against his wish; therefore he does not suffer injustice merely because he gets the smaller share: at most he only suffers damage.  And it is clear that the giver as well as the receiver of an undue share may be acting unjustly, and that the receiver is not doing so in all cases. For the charge of injustice attaches, not to a man of whom it can be said that he does what is unjust, but to one of whom it can be said that he does this voluntarily, that is to say one from whom the action originates; and the origin of the act in this case lies in the giver and not in the receiver of the share.  Again, ‘to do a thing’ has more than one meaning. In a certain sense a murder is done by the inanimate instrument, or by the murderer's hand, or by a slave acting under orders. But though these do what is unjust, they cannot be said to act unjustly.63  Again, although if a judge has given an unfair judgement in ignorance, he is not guilty of injustice, nor is the judgement unjust, in the legal sense of justice （though the judgement is unjust in one sense, for legal justice is different from justice in the primary sense）, yet if he knowingly gives an unjust judgement, he is himself taking more than his share, either of favor or of vengeance.  Hence a judge who gives an unjust judgement for these motives takes more than his due just as much as if he shared the proceeds of the injustice; for even a judge who assigns a piece of land on that condition does not receive land but money.  Men think that it is in their power to act unjustly and therefore that it is easy to be just. But really this is not so. It is easy to lie with one's neighbor's wife or strike a bystander or slip some money into a man's hand, and it is in one's power to do these things or not; but to do them as a result of a certain disposition of mind is not easy, and is not in one's power.  Similarly men suppose it requires no special wisdom to know what is just and what is unjust, because it is not difficult to understand the pronouncements of the law. But the actions prescribed by law are only accidentally just actions. How an action must be performed, how a distribution must be made to be a just action or a just distribution—to know this is a harder task than to know what medical treatment will produce health. Even in medicine, though it is easy to know what honey, wine and hellebore, cautery and surgery are, to know how and to whom and when to apply them so as to effect a cure is no less an undertaking than to be a physician.  And for this very reason64 men think that the just man will act unjustly no less than justly, because the just man is not less but rather more able than another to do any particular unjust thing: for example, he can lie with a woman, or strike a blow, and a brave man can throw away his shield, and can wheel to the right or left and run away. But to be a coward and to be guilty of injustice consists not in doing these things （except accidentally）, but in doing them from a certain disposition of mind; just as to be a physician and cure one's patients is not a matter of employing or not employing surgery or drugs, but of doing so in a certain manner.  Claims of justice exist between persons who share in things generally speaking good, and who can have too large a share or too small a share of them. There are persons who cannot have too large a share of these goods: doubtless, for example, the gods. And there are those who can derive no benefit from any share of them: namely, the incurably vicious; to them all the things generally good are harmful. But for others they are beneficial within limits; and this is the case with ordinary mortals.10. We have next to speak of Equity and the equitable, and of their relation to Justice and to what is just respectively. For upon examination it appears that Justice and Equity are neither absolutely identical nor generically different. Sometimes, it is true, we praise equity and the equitable man, so much so that we even apply the word ‘equitable’65 as a term of approval to other things besides what is just, and use it as the equivalent of ‘good,’ denoting by ‘more equitable’ merely that a thing is better. Yet at other times, when we think the matter out, it seems strange that the equitable should be praiseworthy if it is something other than the just. If they are different, either the just or the equitable is not good; if both are good, they are the same thing.  These then are the considerations, more or less, from which the difficulty as to the equitable arises. Yet they are all in a manner correct, and not really inconsistent. For equity, while superior to one sort of justice, is itself just: it is not superior to justice as being generically different from it. Justice and equity are therefore the same thing, and both are good, though equity is the better.  The source of the difficulty is that equity, though just, is not legal justice, but a rectification of legal justice.  The reason for this is that law is always a general statement, yet there are cases which it is not possible to cover in a general statement. In matters therefore where, while it is necessary to speak in general terms, it is not possible to do so correctly, the law takes into consideration the majority of cases, although it is not unaware of the error this involves. And this does not make it a wrong law; for the error is not in the law nor in the lawgiver, but in the nature of the case: the material of conduct is essentially irregular.  When therefore the law lays down a general rule, and thereafter a case arises which is an exception to the rule, it is then right, where the Iawgiver's pronouncement because of its absoluteness is defective and erroneous, to rectify the defect by deciding as the lawgiver would himself decide if he were present on the occasion, and would have enacted if he had been cognizant of the case in question.  Hence, while the equitable is just, and is superior to one sort of justice, it is not superior to absolute justice, but only to the error due to its absolute statement. This is the essential nature of the equitable: it is a rectification of law where law is defective because of its generality. In fact this is the reason why things are not all determined by law: it is because there are some cases for which it is impossible to lay down a law, so that a special ordinance becomes necessary.  For what is itself indefinite can only be measured by an indefinite standard, like the leaden rule66 used by Lesbian builders; just as that rule is not rigid but can be bent to the shape of the stone, so a special ordinance is made to fit the circumstances of the case.  It is now plain what the equitable is, and that it is just, and that it is superior to one sort of justice. And from this it is clear what the equitable man is: he is one who by choice and habit does what is equitable, and 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.67 For instance, the law does not sanction suicide （and what68 it does not expressly sanction, it forbids）.  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 principle69） which the law does not allow.  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,70 as being an offense against the state.  （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: justice and injustice always necessarily imply more than one person.  Again （b） an act of injustice must be voluntary and done from choice, and also unprovoked; we do not think that a man acts unjustly if having suffered he retaliates, and gives what he got. But when a man injures himself, he both does and suffers the same thing at the same time. Again （c） if a man could act unjustly towards himself, it would be possible to suffer injustice voluntarily.  Furthermore （d） no one is guilty of injustice without committing some particular unjust act; but a man cannot commit adultery with his own wife, or burglary on his own premises, or theft of his own property. （3） And generally, the question, Can a man act unjustly towards himself? is solved by our decision upon the question, Can a man suffer injustice voluntarily?  （It is further manifest that, though both to suffer and to do injustice are evils—for the former is to have less and the latter to have more than the mean, corresponding71 to what is health-giving in medicine and conducive to fitness in athletic training—nevertheless to do injustice is the worse evil, for it is reprehensible, implying vice in the agent, and vice utter and absolute—or nearly so, for it is true that not every unjust act voluntarily committed implies vice—, whereas to suffer injustice does not necessarily imply vice or injustice in the victim.  Thus in itself to suffer injustice is the lesser evil, though accidentally it may be the greater. With this however science is not concerned; science pronounces pIeurisy a more serious disorder than a sprain, in spite of the fact that in certain circumstances a sprain may be accidentally worse than pleurisy, as for instance if it should happen that owing to a sprain you fell and in consequence of falling were taken by the enemy and killed.）  In a metaphorical and analogical sense however there is such a thing as justice, not towards oneself but between different parts of one's nature; not, it is true, justice in the full sense of the term, but such justice as subsists between master and slave, or between the head of a household and his wife and children. For in the discourses on this question72 a distinction is set up between the rational and irrational parts of the soul; and this is what leads people to suppose that there is such a thing as injustice towards oneself, because these parts of the self may be thwarted in their respective desires, so that there may be a sort of justice between them, such as exists between ruler and subject.  So much may be said in description of Justice and of the other Moral Virtues.