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The other kind is that which supplies a corrective principle in private transactions.2. [13] 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.1 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.2 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. [2] for every action admitting of more and less admits of the equal also. 3. [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. [4] 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 persons3], 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. [5] 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. [6] 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. [7]

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. [8] 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. [9]

(That a discrete proportion4 has four terms is plain, but so also has a continuous proportion, since it treats one term as two, and repeats it:

1 ‘Involuntary’ here means lacking the consent of one of the parties.

2 In chap. 4 below, the writer gives no illustration of the operation of Corrective Justice in Voluntary Transactions, but he is clearly thinking of actions at law for damages resulting from breach of contract. See 4.13 note.

3 These words appear to be an interpolation.

4 A ‘discrete proportion’ means one in which the two ratios are disconnected, being between different terms, whereas in a ‘continuous proportion’ they have one term in common.

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