As the title inquires, is there such a thing as a mean between justice and injustice? To put it in another way: can there be no justice in a society, but also no injustice? Or is there only one or the other?

Context: If I am giving up some of my freedom and liberty in order to have security, am I being unjust?

My question is related to this one: Why would security ultimately cost freedom, equality, justice, and liberty?.

  • we need more info on where you are with this question already, if you want a useful answer :)
    – user6917
    Jan 7 '15 at 1:09
  • Updated the question @user3293056.
    – Kelsey
    Jan 7 '15 at 1:16
  • Do you suppose that Justice is a yes/no proposition? If a murderer is punished with three (or five, or seven, or...) years in prison, is this precisely as unjust as if they are not imprisoned at all? Jan 7 '15 at 2:36
  • What are your definitions for these terms? What ontology are you using? There cannot be any meaningful response without this clarified.
    – slashmais
    Feb 1 '16 at 14:43

The language you're using seems like it is quasi-Aristotelian.

In Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle speaks of virtues as the mean between two extremes. In that context, he calls the ideal position "the Golden mean." For this model, he suggests courage which is somewhere between brashness and cowardice (EN 3.7). And for the person who knows their own character, they need to consciously overcompensate to approach that mean.

But the model is not the idea that there's a healthy middle between everything. As Aristotle makes clear, some things do not admit a mean or at least it's not something where we have clear poles. Aristotle speaks of these as "without a name" for one of the two extremes.

There is no mean between justice and injustice on the Aristotelian picture because justice picks out the name of the mean between we might say mercifulness and legalism (though Aristotle might not like that placement).

Injustice where it occurs is always unjust and wrong, so it's not part of a middle ground.


The hawk eats the carrion. This isn't just or injust, it's a category error to apply morals to that process.

You would be asking something to prove that society is not the sort of thing that can have 'justice' applied to it though

  • I edited my question; perhaps it is better worded.
    – Kelsey
    Jan 7 '15 at 1:16
  • wow i think that was me @Kelsey i was trying a bit hard there! the maggots shall eat the dead ryle :D
    – user38026
    Apr 15 '19 at 5:48

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