Aristotle on Justice

2000 WordsDec 2, 20068 Pages
In this paper, I shall address two central contemporary criticisms of Aristotle's conception of justice. These criticisms of Aristotle's account of specific justice have focused on two central problems. First, Aristotle's insistence that all specifically unjust actions are motivated by pleonexia Pleonexia can be understood as the desire to have more of some socially availablegood, and is usually translated as greed or acquisitiveness. Close . Second, Aristotle does not identify a deficient vice with respect to justice. This violates his "golden mean" doctrine with respect to virtue. Without the identification of the deficient vice with respect to justice, then justice must not be a virtue of character. Due to considerations of…show more content…
Defending one's home, fighting against invaders, when they are attacking the state to preserve one's family and friends is an example of the application of these qualifications on the virtue of courage. Considering how this action affects the overall well being of others, we are considering how the action is generally just. In sum, the distinction being made here is that the same virtue can be seen all by itself, as a part of the character of an individual only, and where the virtue is in relation to another person in a particular political community, and its effects on the well being of others in that political community. We have the same state considered from different perspectives. Aristotle says that justice is spoken of in two ways: as lawful and as fair. I will discuss general justice first in order to distinguish it from specific justice. Generally speaking, general justice is concerned with the common good of the community. In the Politics, Aristotle refers to justice as being a communal virtue. "Similarly, then, we shall say that virtue has a just claim in the dispute, since [general] justice, we say, is a communal (koinoniken) virtue, which all the other virtues necessarily accompany" (Pol.1283a36-39 trans. Reeve [modified]). This communal or relational aspect of justice shows up both in general and specific justice. I shall discuss the communal or
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