7 Text added for clarification.
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Justice is throughout for Aristotle a virtue (arete), a hexis or state of character - 'an established habit of feeling and reacting rightly' (H.H. Joachim : 72 - see Reading below). Its area of operation can be outlined as follows.

Distributive justice (dianemetikov dikaion) centres on the allocation of 'honour or money or such other assets as are divisible among the members of the community'community (koinonia)' (NE V. 1130b30 ff.). To allocate assets (benefits) on the basis of merit is the defining feature of distributive justice, though Aristotle recognises that the criteria of merit will vary between different kinds of polis - democratic, oligarchic and so on (NE V.1131a25 ff.). If I distribute a benefit according to need, I distribute justly at least in some contexts. If I allocate an honour to the undeserving, I distribute unjustly.

In the case of justice in exchange, Aristotle settles for 'reciprocal proportion' (NE V. 1133b5 ff.). Neither geometrical nor arithmetical proportion will quite work because the goods or services concerned may be incommensurable (beds and houses in Aristotle's example). There is no fixed, objective standard by which the value of houses can be compared with the value of beds. Here money saves the day. Each type of item has a money value : and reciprocal proportion can be worked out. The money value of a house may be taken to be (say) 10,000 times that of a pair of shoes. An exchange of a house for five pairs of shoes would not observe reciprocal proportion.

Endnote : justice and friendship (philia)

Aristotle is notable for the much-discussed view that 'Between friends there is no need for justice' (NE, VIII.1155a24-8). Delba Winthrop defines the foundation of this view as follows (references are to NE):

Each human being has affection for what seems good to him or her (1155b 23-25), and what seem to be good are the good, the pleasant, and the useful (1155b 18-19), so friendships can exist for the sake of any of these three ends. The good, who love the good, befriend others like themselves because of their goodness. If to be good is good for human beings, then in loving a friend as good, one not only loves him or her for himself or herself, or essentially, but one promotes his goodness, and thus his good, for a friend will prize the affection which is affection for his goodness (1156b 7-11, 1159b 4-7, 1170a 11-13, 1172a 8-15). Since a friend becomes dear to oneself, one secures one's own good in intending his or hers (1157b 33-35). Since the friendship of the good is also pleasant and useful to both parties (1156b 13-15, 1157a 1-3), their association secures to both the comprehensive good or happiness that the law claims to secure to political communities. Because their association is by a choice, born of disposition as well as passion (1157b 28-32), it will be stable and long-last- ing without the convention and law needed to stabilize associations for utility or pleasure. The good who are friends can and do trust one another (1156b 28-29, 1157a 20-24), so injustice need not be anticipated and the institutions and procedures to minimize it need not be established.(Delba Winthrop, 'Aristotle and Theories of Justice', The American Political Science Review, Vol. 72, No. 4 (Dec., 1978), pp. 1201-1216 : 1213.)

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, rev. ed. J.A.K. Thomson, H. Tredennick, J. Barnes, ISBN 10: 0140449493 / ISBN 13: 9780140449495 Published by Penguin Classics, 2004.

H.H. Joachim, Aristotle : The Nicomachean Ethics, ed. D.A. Rees, Oxford : OUP, 1966.

Delba Winthrop, 'Aristotle and Theories of Justice', The American Political Science Review, Vol. 72, No. 4 (Dec., 1978)12, 1201-1216.

Distributive justice (dianemetikov dikaion) centres on the allocation of 'honour or money or such other assets as are divisible among the members of the community' (NE V. 1130b30 ff.). To allocate assets (benefits) on the basis of merit is the defining feature of distributive justice, though Aristotle recognises that the criteria of merit will vary between different kinds of polis - democratic, oligarchic and so on (NE V.1131a25 ff.). If I distribute a benefit according to need, I distribute justly at least in some contexts. If I allocate an honour to the undeserving, I distribute unjustly.

In the case of justice in exchange, Aristotle settles for 'reciprocal proportion' (NE V. 1133b5 ff.). Neither geometrical nor arithmetical proportion will quite work because the goods or services concerned may be incommensurable (beds and houses in Aristotle's example). There is no fixed, objective standard by which the value of houses can be compared with the value of beds. Here money saves the day. Each type of item has a money value : and reciprocal proportion can be worked out. The money value of a house may be taken to be (say) 10,000 times that of a pair of shoes. An exchange of a house for five pairs of shoes would not observe reciprocal proportion.

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, rev. ed. J.A.K. Thomson, H. Tredennick, J. Barnes, ISBN 10: 0140449493 / ISBN 13: 9780140449495 Published by Penguin Classics, 2004.

Justice is throughout for Aristotle a virtue (arete), a hexis or state of character - 'an established habit of feeling and reacting rightly' (H.H. Joachim : 72 - see Reading below). Its area of operation can be outlined as follows.

Distributive justice (dianemetikov dikaion) centres on the allocation of 'honour or money or such other assets as are divisible among the members of the community (koinonia)' (NE V. 1130b30 ff.). To allocate assets (benefits) on the basis of merit is the defining feature of distributive justice, though Aristotle recognises that the criteria of merit will vary between different kinds of polis - democratic, oligarchic and so on (NE V.1131a25 ff.). If I distribute a benefit according to need, I distribute justly at least in some contexts. If I allocate an honour to the undeserving, I distribute unjustly.

In the case of justice in exchange, Aristotle settles for 'reciprocal proportion' (NE V. 1133b5 ff.). Neither geometrical nor arithmetical proportion will quite work because the goods or services concerned may be incommensurable (beds and houses in Aristotle's example). There is no fixed, objective standard by which the value of houses can be compared with the value of beds. Here money saves the day. Each type of item has a money value : and reciprocal proportion can be worked out. The money value of a house may be taken to be (say) 10,000 times that of a pair of shoes. An exchange of a house for five pairs of shoes would not observe reciprocal proportion.

Endnote : justice and friendship (philia)

Aristotle is notable for the much-discussed view that 'Between friends there is no need for justice' (NE, VIII.1155a24-8). Delba Winthrop defines the foundation of this view as follows (references are to NE):

Each human being has affection for what seems good to him or her (1155b 23-25), and what seem to be good are the good, the pleasant, and the useful (1155b 18-19), so friendships can exist for the sake of any of these three ends. The good, who love the good, befriend others like themselves because of their goodness. If to be good is good for human beings, then in loving a friend as good, one not only loves him or her for himself or herself, or essentially, but one promotes his goodness, and thus his good, for a friend will prize the affection which is affection for his goodness (1156b 7-11, 1159b 4-7, 1170a 11-13, 1172a 8-15). Since a friend becomes dear to oneself, one secures one's own good in intending his or hers (1157b 33-35). Since the friendship of the good is also pleasant and useful to both parties (1156b 13-15, 1157a 1-3), their association secures to both the comprehensive good or happiness that the law claims to secure to political communities. Because their association is by a choice, born of disposition as well as passion (1157b 28-32), it will be stable and long-last- ing without the convention and law needed to stabilize associations for utility or pleasure. The good who are friends can and do trust one another (1156b 28-29, 1157a 20-24), so injustice need not be anticipated and the institutions and procedures to minimize it need not be established.(Delba Winthrop, 'Aristotle and Theories of Justice', The American Political Science Review, Vol. 72, No. 4 (Dec., 1978), pp. 1201-1216 : 1213.)

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, rev. ed. J.A.K. Thomson, H. Tredennick, J. Barnes, ISBN 10: 0140449493 / ISBN 13: 9780140449495 Published by Penguin Classics, 2004.

H.H. Joachim, Aristotle : The Nicomachean Ethics, ed. D.A. Rees, Oxford : OUP, 1966.

Delba Winthrop, 'Aristotle and Theories of Justice', The American Political Science Review, Vol. 72, No. 4 (Dec., 1978)12, 1201-1216.

6 Text added for clarification.
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As a social virtue in this sense justice (diaiosune) contrasts with virtues such as temperance (sophrosune) and courage (andreia), which are individual virtues in that their exercise does not necessarily involve other people. I can be courageous (andreios) in facing a wild beast; I can be temperate (sophron) by keeping all my appetites in moderation. No-one else need be part of the situation.

Distributive justice (dianemetikov dikaion) centres on the allocation of property but also more broadly at least by implication on'honour or money or such other assets as are divisible among the allocationmembers of benefits and burdensthe community' (NE V. 1130b30 ff.). To allocate benefits and burdensassets (benefits) on the basis of what we would call people's rightsmerit is the defining feature of distributive justice, though Aristotle recognises that the criteria of merit will vary between different kinds of polis - democratic, oligarchic and so on (NE V.1131a25 ff.). If I distribute (aa benefit) according to need, I distribute justly at least in some contexts. If I imposeallocate an honour to the undeserving, I distribute unjustly.

Aristotle's qualifier, 'among the members of the community', is important. Justice is political in the sense that it 'obtains between those who share a life for the satisfaction of their needs as persons free and equal' (a burdenNE V.1133a25 ff.) military service on. If this appears to describe a somewhat ideal condition, the young and fit rather than onkey point is for Aristotle the elderly and unhealthymoral community, I impose such service justlywithin which justice fulfils its role, coincides with the political community of the polis. I have slightly modernisedAristotle had slight if any sense of a moral community that extended beyond the discussion but only to convey Aristotle's thinking more accessiblybounds of the polis.

Aristotle observes that distributive and corrective justice are importantly linked to equality. We need to be careful here. Distributive justice does not mean everyone is to get the same share or quantity of some good, say. Rather, as indicated above, their share is to be equal to their merit or entitlement, without discrimination on the basis of irrelevant differences. The basisBut Aristiotle introduces a complexity. He characterises distributive justice as involving geometrical proportion : A : B = C : D. If A and B are two persons of entitlementequal merit then they will vary with the good concerned; it might be need or it might be desert ashave equal shares of the case maybenefit to be distributed. (NE, V.1131a10 ff.).

Equality is also integral to corrective justice : (a) the parties involved are treated as equals (with no privileges for one or the other) and (b) the aim is to 'equalize' the situation of the injured party to its condition before the offenseoffence occurred. (NE, V. 1132a-1132b10. 'What the judge does is to restore equality' (NE, V.1132a25). A different proportion is involved here : arithmetical proportion. If I have disadvantaged you to the extent of -5 (of whatever asset) then you must be compensated to the extent of +5 : your situation before and your situation after are equal.

In the case of justice in exchange, the principal consideration is 'reciprocity based on proportion, not on equality'Aristotle settles for 'reciprocal proportion' (NE V. 1132b23-311133b5 ff.). This is evidencedNeither geometrical nor arithmetical proportion will quite work because the goods or services concerned may be incommensurable (beds and houses in medicationAristotle's example given above). There is no fixed, objective standard by which the value of houses can be compared with the value of beds. Here money saves the day. Each type of item has a money value : and reciprocal proportion can be worked out. The money value of a house may be taken to be (say) 10,000 times that of a pair of shoes. An exchange of a house for five pairs of shoes would not observe reciprocal proportion.

As a social virtue in this sense justice (diaiosune) contrasts with virtues such as temperance (sophrosune) and courage (andreia), which are individual virtues in that their exercise does not necessarily involve other people. I can be courageous (andreios) in facing a wild beast; I can be temperate by keeping all my appetites in moderation. No-one else need be part of the situation.

Distributive justice (dianemetikov dikaion) centres on the allocation of property but also more broadly at least by implication on the allocation of benefits and burdens. To allocate benefits and burdens on the basis of what we would call people's rights is the defining feature of distributive justice. If I distribute (a benefit) according to need, I distribute justly at least in some contexts. If I impose (a burden) military service on the young and fit rather than on the elderly and unhealthy, I impose such service justly. I have slightly modernised the discussion but only to convey Aristotle's thinking more accessibly.

Aristotle observes that distributive and corrective justice are importantly linked to equality. We need to be careful here. Distributive justice does not mean everyone is to get the same share or quantity of some good, say. Rather, their share is to be equal to their entitlement, without discrimination on the basis of irrelevant differences. The basis of entitlement will vary with the good concerned; it might be need or it might be desert as the case may be. (NE, V.1131a10 ff.).

Equality is also integral to corrective justice : (a) the parties involved are treated as equals (with no privileges for one or the other) and (b) the aim is to 'equalize' the situation of the injured party to its condition before the offense occurred. (NE, V. 1132a-1132b10. 'What the judge does is to restore equality' (NE, V.1132a25).

In the case of justice in exchange, the principal consideration is 'reciprocity based on proportion, not on equality' (NE V. 1132b23-31). This is evidenced in medication example given above.

As a social virtue in this sense justice (diaiosune) contrasts with virtues such as temperance (sophrosune) and courage (andreia), which are individual virtues in that their exercise does not necessarily involve other people. I can be courageous (andreios) in facing a wild beast; I can be temperate (sophron) by keeping all my appetites in moderation. No-one else need be part of the situation.

Distributive justice (dianemetikov dikaion) centres on the allocation of 'honour or money or such other assets as are divisible among the members of the community' (NE V. 1130b30 ff.). To allocate assets (benefits) on the basis of merit is the defining feature of distributive justice, though Aristotle recognises that the criteria of merit will vary between different kinds of polis - democratic, oligarchic and so on (NE V.1131a25 ff.). If I distribute a benefit according to need, I distribute justly at least in some contexts. If I allocate an honour to the undeserving, I distribute unjustly.

Aristotle's qualifier, 'among the members of the community', is important. Justice is political in the sense that it 'obtains between those who share a life for the satisfaction of their needs as persons free and equal' (NE V.1133a25 ff.). If this appears to describe a somewhat ideal condition, the key point is for Aristotle the moral community, within which justice fulfils its role, coincides with the political community of the polis. Aristotle had slight if any sense of a moral community that extended beyond the bounds of the polis.

Aristotle observes that distributive and corrective justice are importantly linked to equality. Distributive justice does not mean everyone is to get the same share or quantity of some good, say. Rather, as indicated above, their share is to be equal to their merit or entitlement. But Aristiotle introduces a complexity. He characterises distributive justice as involving geometrical proportion : A : B = C : D. If A and B are two persons of equal merit then they will have equal shares of the benefit to be distributed.

Equality is also integral to corrective justice : (a) the parties involved are treated as equals (with no privileges for one or the other) and (b) the aim is to 'equalize' the situation of the injured party to its condition before the offence occurred. (NE, V. 1132a-1132b10. 'What the judge does is to restore equality' (NE, V.1132a25). A different proportion is involved here : arithmetical proportion. If I have disadvantaged you to the extent of -5 (of whatever asset) then you must be compensated to the extent of +5 : your situation before and your situation after are equal.

In the case of justice in exchange, Aristotle settles for 'reciprocal proportion' (NE V. 1133b5 ff.). Neither geometrical nor arithmetical proportion will quite work because the goods or services concerned may be incommensurable (beds and houses in Aristotle's example). There is no fixed, objective standard by which the value of houses can be compared with the value of beds. Here money saves the day. Each type of item has a money value : and reciprocal proportion can be worked out. The money value of a house may be taken to be (say) 10,000 times that of a pair of shoes. An exchange of a house for five pairs of shoes would not observe reciprocal proportion.

5 Text amended
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As a social virtue in this sense justice (diaiosune) contrasts with virtues such as temperance (sophrosune) and courage (andreia), which are individual virtues in that their exercise does not necessarily involve other people. I can be courageous (andreios) in facing a wild beast; I can be temperate by keeping all my appetites in moderation. No-one else need be part of the situation.

As a social virtue in this sense justice contrasts with virtues such as temperance (sophrosune) and courage (andreia), which are individual virtues in that their exercise does not necessarily involve other people. I can be courageous (andreios) in facing a wild beast; I can be temperate by keeping all my appetites in moderation. No-one else need be part of the situation.

As a social virtue in this sense justice (diaiosune) contrasts with virtues such as temperance (sophrosune) and courage (andreia), which are individual virtues in that their exercise does not necessarily involve other people. I can be courageous (andreios) in facing a wild beast; I can be temperate by keeping all my appetites in moderation. No-one else need be part of the situation.

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