Chapter

Justice

Fred D. Miller

in Nature, Justice, and Rights in Aristotle's Politics

Published in print May 1997 | ISBN: 9780198237266
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598043 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019823726X.003.0003
Justice

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Justice is central to Aristotle's political theory because he holds that all constitutions are a form of justice. In so far as it is just in the universal sense, the constitution aims at the happiness of the political community; in so far as it is just in the particular sense of distributive justice, the constitution assigns rights to offices, property, or honours to the citizens in accordance with their worth (merit or desert). Aristotle also claims that political justice is partly natural and partly legal, but adds that ‘one constitution only is everywhere according to nature the best’, thus implying that the polis is in a natural condition when it has the best constitution and laws. Aristotle recognizes that justice may exist outside the polis, but he regards political justice as the highest form of justice.

Keywords: Aristotle; constitution; distributive justice; justice; law; nature; rights

Chapter.  9502 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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