Monday, September 14, 2020

Examine Aristotle’s theory of Justice

 Examine Aristotle’s theory of Justice.

 Aristotle theory of Justice  Like Plato, Aristotle (384–322 BCE) believed that people are separated by dramatic differences in their natural capacities, so much so that, while some are qualified to rule or to participate in ruling, others – who comprise the bulk of humankind – are fit only to be ruled.

For him as for Plato, the right relation between these two categories (the latter, according to Aristotle, consists of several diverse groups, including women, children, and people who are naturally suited to be slaves by virtue of their limited powers of reasoning) is one of command and obedience. For Aristotle, however, relations between those who are radically unequal are not the primary subject of justice. The concept of justice in Aristotle’s theory applies primarily to a set of relations among men who are free and relatively equal to one another – relations that play a very slim role in the argument of the Republic.

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Aristotle’s decision to begin his discussion with this distinction between different types of justice is a typical example of his philosophical method and entails a departure from Plato’s approach to philosophy. In the Republic, Plato insists that justice must be one thing only, being always the same in any and all of its manifestations. Plato’s search for justice therefore proceeds by way of refutation and exclusion, that is, by showing what justice is not in order to arrive at a univocal view of what it is. Aristotle theory of Justice Aristotle’s approach, in contrast, accepts that justice may be several different things, and especially that it may be seen in a number of different ways, each of which may contain significant truth.

 Aristotle theory of Justice It is usual in discussions of Aristotle’s views on justice to follow his own order of exposition. After drawing the distinction between complete and partial justice and declaring his intention to focus on the latter, Aristotle proceeds to distinguish two forms of it, namely distributive justice and corrective justice. He then goes on to discuss several additional topics: the relation between justice and reciprocity, justice in the political sense, and others. Aristotle theory of Justice Most commentators have concentrated their attention on Aristotle’s comments on distributive and corrective justice, treating the subsequent topics as appendages, despite the fact that these later discussions occupy about two thirds of his account overall. This approach has led to some curious difficulties, especially in treatment of Aristotle’s discussion of justice and reciprocity. Many of his interpreters have concluded that this discussion is anomalous. Some have decided that it is distinctly out of place, a digression that might have been better located somewhere other than in the context of his discussion of justice.

 Aristotle explicates the notion of distributive justice by sketching a simple illustration. The just, he points out, involves at least four terms, namely two persons and two shares. Distributive justice is achieved when “as the one person is to the other person, so is the one thing to the other thing” in other words, when the ratio between the things in question is the same as the ratio between the persons. If two persons are equals, then their shares should be equal as a matter of distributive justice. Aristotle theory of Justice If the persons are not equals, then their just shares will be unequal in proportion to the inequality between them. (Bear in mind that, for Aristotle, all the persons who come into play in anything to do with distributive justice are relative equals in the sense that none is entitled to command the others. Aristotle theory of Justice Nevertheless, these relative equals may be, and often are, unequal in merit or desert.)

IGNOU MPS Syllabus 2020

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