♠Aristotle´s “Nicomachean Ethics” and “Politics”:
“On The Concept of Justice”:
In Book V of “Nichomachean Ethics”, Aristotle attempted to apply his theory of the mean to define justice.
In this sense, he dissects justice into its smallest components, causing him to postulate three kinds, from two main types.
There are two distinct forms of justice: Universal and Particular.
1) Universal Justice is concerned with obeying laws and with virtue as a whole. (Type: c) Equitable Justice).
2) Particular Justice is seen as one of the virtues and is divided into two types (Types a) Distributive Justice and b) Corrective or Rectificatory Justice)
a) Distributive Justice, which involves distributing honors, money and other assets; and b) Corrective or Rectificatory Justice; which includes: voluntary transactions involving paying debts, buying and selling, and so on; and involuntary transactions involving the giving of just restitution of harms inflicted.
→The Distributive justice reflects our understanding of justice as the mean between two extremes of unfairness. Everyone agrees that justice involves the distribution of things in proportion to merit. The man who acts unjustly gets too much, the victim too little, of what is good. Therefore that which is unjust in the narrow sense defies the proper “geometrical” proportion.
→As for Corrective or Rectificatory Justice, this shows our belief that in any exchange the just is what is fair. Unlike distributive justice, it involves not “geometrical,” but “arithmetical” proportionality, because it doesn’t take into account the parties involved, just the transaction itself. Both parties are treated as equals before the law in the exchange of goods, regardless of their individual merits. The role of the judge, therefore, is to restore the mean between too much and too little: to remedy an inequitable division between two parties by means of some sort o f arithmetical progression. He tries to equalize the inequality of the injustice.
The Doctrine Of The Mean is related to justice as a mean between two extremes, (vices), deficiency, and excess, or gain and loss. It is important to stress here that Aristotle intends to define justice as a determinable mean between excesses which he presumes are vices.
Justice is the intermediate position between doing injustice and suffering it; one has more, the other less, than their share. It is that state of virtue in which the individual is capable of doing just acts from choice and of distributing property, not in a way which gives himself more than his neighbour, but to each in proportionately equal manner. Injustice is choosing excess or deficiency in defiance of proportion.
c) Equitable Justice is that kind of Universal Justice that Aristotle postulated as being a form of justice superior to legal justice. Realizing that the “generality” of the law sometimes gave rise to injustices, Aristotle postulated equity, which was to function, though the judge, as a “correction of the law where it is defective owing to its universality”. While all laws are stated universally, in some cases such a universal statement is not correct. The law thus states most is mostly right, and in cases where the statement does not apply correctly it is just for the legislator or the judge to correct for the deficiency of the law, as long as what is done is in accordance with the intention of the lawmaker, even if it conflicts with the exact statement.
►Comparative Graphic: Distributive Justice and Rectificatory or Corrective Justice (Types of Particular Justice):
Aristotle also developed the idea of Justice in the Book III (chapter 12) of “Politics”.
There he helds that “The political good is justice, and this is the common advantage”. Justice is considered to be a certain sort of equality, but what remains to be determined is what sort of equality and equality in what things. Persons preeminent in some things may not be preeminent in others, and some things are more of claim to honor and merit than others.
Aristotle says “The virtue of justice is a feature of a state; for justice is the arrangement of the political association, an a sense of justice decides what is just”.
For him, Justice means giving equal measures to equals and unequal measures to unequals. Aristotle realizes that people are bad judges concerning themselves and that as in oligarchy and democracy they tend to confuse a part of justice with the whole of justice. Justice must be central concern for every city, because the city exists “not only for the sake of living but primarily for the sake of living well.” As a result, “virtue must be a care for every city,” and a city can only foster virtue to the extent that it is just.
►Video: “On Aristotle´s Idea of Justice and The Theory of Golden Mean”:
►”Nicomachean Ethics” by Aristotle:
►”Politics” by Aristotle: