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Ethics

Aristotle

Summary and Analysis Book V: Chapter II - Particular Justice — Distributive and Remedial

Summary

Particular justice is justice as it relates to the individual. In this sense justice is a part of virtue, and a concept which must be understood if one is to be virtuous in all areas of action. Particular injustice is best defined as taking more or less than one's rightful share of something, and particular justice as a mean between taking too much and too little. In practice it often comes slightly nearer to taking too little.

There are two forms of particular justice:

  1. Distributive justice; which is concerned with the fair distribution of honors, public office, material goods, or anything else that can be divided between members of a community.
  2. Corrective or remedial justice; which has a rectifying function in private transactions between individuals. The sphere of corrective justice is itself divided into two parts: (a) Voluntary transactions; so-called because the initiative of both parties is voluntary. (e.g., business deals, buying, selling, lending, renting, borrowing, etc.); (b) Involuntary transactions; so-called because one party participates involuntarily. Usually criminal acts, these are divided into two classes — (1) secret, e.g., theft, adultery, poisoning, perjury, etc., and (2) violent, e.g., assault, homicide, armed robbery, slander, etc.