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Lecture 7

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Hugh R Alcock

 Justice  We see states of affairs and actions as just or unjust  e.g., unfair opportunities for education  Our legislators and courts "aim" to make things fair in this sense  Aristotle understands justice as a virtue, that is, a state of character that disposes one to act in such a way…  Aristotle writes that: (p 163)  "The best man is not he… but vice entire"  By this measure, a person may not be just because she acts in a fair way. Her actions are just on condition that she is a just person, virtuous in character  In this sense, justice is measured in terms of intention rather than………………..  2 ways to be unjust: (p 168)  "Both the lawless man and the grasping and unfair man are thought to be unjust"  Why does Aristotle equate the just man with the lawful man?  We don't suppose that all laws are just - think of racist laws that have existed and still exist  We are political animals (zoon politikon)  Doesn't mean we're sociable or cooperative  He means that in order for each of us to be fully human beings we must enter into political relations with others (i.e. organise into a just society governed by laws)  Aristotle's idea of an ethics based on happiness (Eudaimonia)  Aristotle claims that happiness is attained when we are true to our nature  Since we are by nature rational creatures, this is achieved by reason  For Aristotle, laws are the constructs of the polis  Polis isn't mere collection of individuals, but organism constituted by its citizens  Laws express the form or essence of the polis  Thus, citizens are obligated to obey laws -- not to do so would be to go against the essence of society  Aristotle: "Now the laws in their enactments… for the political society" (p 168)  A man is also unjust, according to Aristotle, if he does something wrong for his own advantage. Therefore, the just man is disposed to act to no one's advantage - to treat everyone ("everyone" is a relative term) with equality  There are 2 types of justice: (1) distributive & (2) remedial (rectificatory)  Distributive justice concerns the regulation of the distribution of the benefits (of what's produced) of some enterprise  e.g., a commercial partnership  A and B act justly when they ensure the ratio of their respective contribution to an enterprise equals the ratio of their benefits from it; this results in a just distribution  A does 60% work, receives 60% rewards  B does 40% work, receives 40% rewards  THIS IS JUST  Remedial justice concerns ensuring that transactions between persons don't introduce new inequalities  Ex: exchange of goods done at fair price such that neither party gains an advantage over the other  Fair exchanges preserves the equality between traders  In such case, transaction assumed to be voluntary  However, remedial justice also concerns involuntary transact
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