Question: Does a good being, also have to be just/fair?

Side Question: What philosophers/resources would be recommended to research such an idea?

  • 1
    Can you provide more details? What brought this question to mind? Dec 12 '19 at 21:01
  • Could an unjust being be considered good?
    – Uueerdo
    Dec 12 '19 at 21:51
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    – J D
    Dec 12 '19 at 23:02
  • generic question with no research effort -1
    – user38026
    Dec 16 '19 at 19:02

Welcome Timmy

Both Plato and Aristotle, among the ancient Greeks, held versions of 'the unity of the virtues'. The following extract might help to convey the early Platonic version:

The so-called doctrine of "the unity of the virtues," which turns up in some, though not all, of Plato's earlier, "Socratic" dialogues, is almost always taken to be a disguised equivalence and not an identity. That is, it is taken simply as


Men are brave if and only if they are wise.

Men are brave if and only if they are temperate

Men are brave if and only if they are just

Men are brave if and only if they are pious

and not as the stronger


Bravery = wisdom = temperance = justice = piety.

(2) is stronger than (1) because it entails but is not entailed by (i). It is not entailed by (1) since it carries ontological implications not carried by (1) - for example,


"Bravery," "wisdom," "temperance," "justice," and "piety" are five different names of the same thing.

(Terry Penner, 'The Unity of Virtue', The Philosophical Review, Vol. 82, No. 1 (Jan., 1973), pp. 35-68: 35-6.)

It might help to put the point this way: in (1) 'you can't have one without the others' because the virtues form an unbroken chain, each virtue is a link in the chain and the last link joins back to the first like the links in a bracelet. In (2) by contrast, the virtues are not connected like links in a chain. Instead, they are different facets of the same thing like the faces of a diamond. This is only a metaphor and not Plato's, else it would be better, but it might make the doctrine clearer and well as showing that there is controversy in its exact interpretation.


There are situations where someone treating you just and fairly is bad for you. Let's say you are an alcoholic. All your uncle possesses are 200 bottles of very fine brandy. It would be just and fair to put you and your brother in his will and let each inherit 100 bottles. But since inheriting 100 bottles of very fine brandy would kill you, it would be good, unjust and unfair to give them all to your brother.


When we use the term 'good', we usually consider a limited set of things only. But when we use the term 'just', we are compelled to consider more parameters than what we already considered for determining as good. So we cannot say a good being also has to be just/fair. But a good FOR ALL being is also just/fair.

On the contrary, just/fair does not mean good for all (I mean, only people's opinion). This is because of their personal differences.

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