What is the notion of justice for Aristotle?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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To examine Aristotle’s notions of justice, you should read Aristotle’s Politics, Rhetoric, and Nicomachean Ethics, which are the main works in which he discusses the subject. The Poetics and On the Soul also contain somewhat relevant material, as does Metaphysics.

For Aristotle, justice is discussed in terms of both the citizen and the polis. The end goal of Aristotle’s ethical system is the eudaimonia or well-being of the individual, and he sees just regulation of the polis as important for individual happiness and virtue.

He equates a just polis with one that has good laws, applied consistently, and a judicial system not based on juries being swayed by emotional appeals, but by facts. Education of the minds and emotions of citizens along with good laws lead to a just polis.


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