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Such are the motives and incentives that stimulate men to injustice and wrong, which have been found to be so many varieties of pleasure: we next proceed to examine and classify, for the use of the forensic practitioner, the dispositions and characters of wrong-doers and of their intended victims, those who are most likely to be exposed to wrong. First of all, the ‘possibility’ of effecting it must always be taken into account by any one who contemplates the perpetration of a wrong: and not only the general possibility, as whether so and so is possible to a human being (physical or absolute possibility), but a special possibility to themselves, καὶ ἑαυτοῖς δυνατόν; in other words, the moral possibility, when the act is done in such a way or under such circumstances as shall render it worth their while; such that the prejudice or injury sustained by the action or its consequences shall not outweigh the prospective benefit; an act done in spite of these considerations may be regarded as morally ‘impossible’. εἴτε ἂν (οἴωνται) λαθεῖν πράξαντες] ‘whether, that is, the intended wrongdoers think the crime will never be detected at all; or be detected, but remain unpunished; or if it be punished, that the loss or injury so sustained will be less than the gain resulting from it to themselves’.
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