previous next


Justice is the virtue which assigns to every one his due, and in this shews obedience to the law. This virtue and the two following, which are all specially characterised by ‘obedience to the law’, are thereby invested with a political and objective character, and distinguished from the remainder, which are rather subjective and individual. The end and object of the true statesman is to make the citizens good, and this must be effected by training them in obedience to the laws of that form of government under which they live; the type of the perfect citizen varying under various constitutions. δοκεῖ δὲ καὶ κατ᾽ ἀλήθειαν πολιτικὸς περὶ ταύτην (τὴν ἀρετὴν) μάλιστα πεπονῆσθαι: βούλεται γὰρ τοὺς πολίτας ἀγαθοὺς ποιεῖν καὶ τῶν νόμων ὑπηκόους. Eth. N. I 13, sub init.

ὡς νόμος] sc. λέγει, κελεύει, προστάττει; i.e. the law settles the legal rights of the citizens of a state, the observance of which is justice. Injustice is the cause of unfair distribution, to injustice it is owing that men take what does not belong to them, τὰ ἀλλότρια, and thus it acts or operates in disobedience to the law. Of the three kinds of justice distinguished in Eth. N. VI, this takes in only the first, δικαιοσύνη διανεμητική, c. 6; the other two are (1) διορθωτική or ἐπανορθωτική ‘corrective’ justice, which ratifies and corrects wrong, and restores plaintiff and defendant to an equality, c. 7; and (2) reciprocal justice, τὸ ἀντιπεπονθός the lex talionis, the law of retaliation or reciprocity transferred to commercial justice, which regulates exchanges and contracts of all kinds, c. 8.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: