Aristotle's Concept Of Justice Essay

1121 words - 4 pages

In his book The Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle discusses the concept of justice in Book V. Justice is used with its many different connotations. However, in order to explain the statement that justice can only be found in the laws established by the state I would like to point out the last two types of justice and the notion of equity Aristotle refers to in his book. The first is natural justice, true for everyone, and next to that there is conventional justice which can differ in different societies and there is the notion of equity that works in unusual cases. With understanding these three concepts we can reach to the conclusion that according to Aristotle justice can not only be found in the laws established by the state and he is right in claiming such an idea. Anyone who is a virtuous person can also be just. But not everyone who is just is also virtuous.Would you consider someone who kills the murderer of his wife a murderer? Would you put him in the same position as Jack the Ripper? Do you think justice is protected by the law? Is it just to stone adulteresses to death even if it complies with the law? Which law is just and which is not? What are the criteria? Are the laws of the state enough to maintain justice?Such questions can be boosted up to thousands if one starts to think about justice, itsconnotations and the relation between justice and law. The debate is a long-lasting one. In his book The Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle discusses the concept of justice in Book V. Justice is used with its many different connotations. There is particular justice, distributive justice, reciprocal justice, political and social justice, domestic justice, natural and conventional justice. I would like to point out the last two types of justice in order to understand Aristotle's idea of law and justice relation in a state. According to Aristotle, there is natural justice, true for everyone, and next to that there is conventional justice which can differ in different societies.Natural justice is the kind of justice that can be applied to every human being regardless of nation, race, religion, etc. It has the same validity everywhere and do not depend on acceptance. Aristotle argues that "the things which are not just by nature but by human enactment are not everywhere the same, since constitutions are not the same, though there is by one which is everywhere by nature the best" (124). Accordingly, the conventional justice is set by the society and in some cases by the rulers of the society.However, Aristotle suggests that, for the laws established by the state, a law can be just whether it is for the advantage of the law makers or the rulers or the dominant class. In The Nichomachean Ethics, he says that "the laws…on all subjects aim at the common advantage either of all or of the best or of those who hold power…" (108). He adds that every kind of conventional justice is created in one way from the natural justice and it is normal that...

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