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Aristotle on Justice - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 55
Justice/Aristoteles/Höffe: Characteristic of justice is the property of being
Höffe I 56
owed. Aristotle hints at it where he speaks of the allotrion agathon, of the "foreign good", a good to which the other has a claim. In doing so, he anticipates the modern separation of law and morality: Justice differs from generosity and magnanimity in that it alone is owed and only in it may the coercive law intervene.
Sub-areas within justice: According to the subject area, he distinguishes justice in so far as it constitutes the entire virtue that
"general justice" (iustitia generalis), by the
"special justice" (iustitia particularis). This deals with external goods such as offices and dignity, income or money and health or security.
Social goods: For these "basic social goods" Aristotle, in contrast to the modern welfare state, did not envisage any redistribution.
In contrast to Plato(1), both [forms of justice] are directed only at others, not also at themselves. For an injustice against oneself can only be spoken of in a metaphorical sense.


1 Plato, Nomoi, I 631c-d

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Gaus I 313
Justice/Aristotle/Keyt/Miller: Aristotle's account of justice and injustice is one expression of his naturalism. The prime justificatory principle in the Politics is that everything within the sphere of social conduct that is (un)natural is (unjust (Pol. I.3.1253b20-3, 5.1254al 7-20, 1255a1-3,
10.1258a40-b2; III.16.1287a8-18, 17.1287b37-9; VII.3.1325b7-lO, 9.1329a13-17). >Nature/Aristotle.
Ethics: in the Ethics Aristotle distinguishes universal justice (or lawfulness) from particular justice (or fairness) and divides the latter into distributive and corrective justice (EN V .1-4). His theory of distributive justice consists in the combination of his justice-of-nature principle with the Platonic principle of proportional equality. By this theory a just constitution is one under which political power is distributed in proportion to worth, where worth is assessed according to the standard of nature - the standard of a polis with a completely natural social and political structure. Aristotle describes such a polis in Politics VII-VIII, and virtue, rather than wealth or freedom, turns out to be nature's standard (for details see Keyt, 1991a(1)). >Nature/Aristotle, >Stasis/Aristotle.

Pol: Aristotle Politics
EN: Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics


1. Keyt, David (1991a) 'Aristotle's theory of distributive justice'. In David Keyt and Fred D. Miller, eds, A Companion to Aristotle's Politics. Oxford: Blackwell.

Keyt, David and Miller, Fred D. jr. 2004. „Ancient Greek Political Thought“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2021-05-12
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