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Reason and CharacterThe Moral Foundations of Aristotelian Political Philosophy$
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Lorraine Smith Pangle

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226688169

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226688336.001.0001

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Justice and the Rule of Reason

Justice and the Rule of Reason

(p.148) Chapter 4 Justice and the Rule of Reason
Reason and Character

Lorraine Smith Pangle

University of Chicago Press

Book 5 of the Ethics explores the multiple meanings of justice. These include, first, both the complete virtue that law properly aims to instill and that consists in the full development and exercise of an individual’s capacities, and the fairness that demands of each that he limit his own pursuit of the good so that others may have their share; Aristotle shows that the political regime and its laws invariably tend to focus overwhelmingly on the latter. Justice includes likewise proportional, corrective and reciprocal forms, each seeking equality in a different sense, with the corrective, involving retribution, showing a particular and characteristic tension at its core. Natural right is the common good of a community as understood by a wisdom that accurately assesses the relevance of all the standards of justice identified by Aristotle: this standard points equally but in different ways to the rule of law and to the rule of a single, flexible, insightful and responsive living ruler. Discussions of the voluntary and involuntary in justice deepen the analysis of book 3, while that of equity sheds further light on the limitations of both law and the pre-philosophic outlook of the gentleman or equitable person.

Keywords:   common good, corrective justice, proportional justice, equity, fairness, justice, legal justice, natural right, reciprocal justice, retribution

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