justice paper

justice paper - Justice is sought after everywhere in our...

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Justice is sought after everywhere in our world. Constantly, day after day, people are badgering others so they are not shorted, slighted, or crossed in any way. People want satisfaction and fairness, and frighteningly enough, will stop at no limit to ensure their own personal “piece of the pie,” if for one second they think they have been “wronged” by another. But is justice really measured in lawsuits, court fees, or the size of an offshore bank account? Is this type of justice truly, well, just ? Most likely not. True, complete justice finds itself not in material items, but in the motives behind actions, and is what makes a morally good man 1 . In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics , he discusses two types of true justice: justice as lawfulness and justice as fairness. Lawfulness and fairness are clearly intertwined, but it is important to point out their differences. They are sometimes very difficult to decipher. Aristotle makes it clear from the beginning of his chapter on justice that “everything unfair is unlawful, but not everything unlawful is unfair.” 2 Aristotle first talks about justice as lawfulness or complete justice. He describes “lawful” as what the art of legislation has proclaimed, and therefore we call each specific enactment “just.” 3 The purpose of these legislations is to achieve what is good for all people. Sometimes, we call things “just” that promote contentment within the social or political community. Laws command certain things and forbid others. Laws that are correctly drawn up will command and forbid the correct things. Laws that are drawn up in haste will not. Also, correctly drawn laws help men fulfill their functions in society as brave men – not 1 Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics , trans. Martin Ostwald. (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall), 1130a35, 116. 2 Aristotle, Ethics , 1130b12, 116. 3 Aristotle, Ethics , 1129b20, 112. 1
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to abandon their post in battle, or worse to flee; as self-controlled men – not to commit adultery with another’s wife or become outraged; and as gentle men – not to strike or defame anyone 4 . Aristotle also asserts that lawfulness is the complete virtue, for it allows men to interact together justly. Also, lawfulness is above the other virtues because it promotes virtue through its very practice. He says that the “best man is not one who practices virtue toward himself, but one who practices it toward others, although it is a hard thing to achieve.” 5 Lawful justice is directed towards others; therefore lawful justice must be the greatest virtue, according to Aristotle. Justice is the greatest virtue for it is the only one that allows its practice to benefit others, and that it encompasses all the other virtues. A lawfully just man does what is right by the established conventions and laws set
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justice paper - Justice is sought after everywhere in our...

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