I. HE EXAMINES JUSTICE IN THE PROPER SENSE.
A. He investigates the virtue of justice.
A’ He indicates what he intends to treat.
1. WHAT SUBJECT HE INTENDS TO CONSIDER. — 885-886
We must give our attention to justice and injustice so as to determine what is the nature of the actions done, what is the mean of justice, and between what extremes the just action is a mean.
2. BY WHAT METHOD WE ARE TO EXAMINE THE DIFFERENCES. — 887
It is our intention to proceed according to the same method we used with the virtues just studied.
B’ He carries out his intention.
1. HE DISTINGUISHES PARTICULAR FROM LEGAL JUSTICE.
a. He divides justice into legal and particular.
i. What the names... signify.
x. HE EXPLAINS JUSTICE AND INJUSTICE. — 888-889
Apparently everyone wants to call justice that habit by which men are disposed to just works, and by which they actually perform and will just deeds. We must speak in a similar way about injustice, viz., that it is a habit by which men are disposed to unjust deeds and by which they do and will unjust actions. For that reason we must presuppose what is said here in outline.
y. THE EXPLANATION IS REASONABLE. — 890-891
Likewise, the same is not true in regard to sciences and potencies as in regard to habits, for contraries belong to the same potency and the same science, but with a habit contrary things are not referred to it. We see, for example, that things contrary to health do not proceed from health, but only things in keeping with it. Thus we say that a man walks in a healthy way when he walks like a healthy man.
z. HE INFERS A COROLLARY. — 892
Oftentimes, then, one contrary habit is known by another, and oftentimes by its subject. If a healthy condition is known, then an unhealthy condition also becomes known. But from the things that make a man healthy a healthy condition is known, and the things themselves from the condition. If firmness of flesh is a sign of good condition, then flabbiness is necessarily a sign of bad condition. Likewise, what makes a man healthy necessarily makes his flesh firm.
ii. He distinguishes the two concepts.
x. HE GIVES THE DIVISION.
aa. Various meanings of justice. — 893
It follows in most instances that if one of opposites is spoken of in various ways then the other also can be, as is the case with what is just and unjust.
bb. He explains the meanings. — 894
Justice and injustice can be spoken of in various ways but the different meanings lending themselves to equivocation are not immediately apparent, and are not so evident as in the things which are widely separated. In these there is a great difference in concept, for instance, the name key is used equivocally both for the clavicle in the shoulder of animals and for the instrument which locks doors.
cc. He explains... habits. — 895-896
The unjust man should be understood in as many ways as he is designated. He is spoken of as lawbreaking, as covetous and as unfair. It is clear then that the just man will be taken as law-abiding and fair. Hence what is just is according to law and fair, but what is unjust is contrary to law and unfair.
y. THE PARTS OF THE DIVISION.
aa. He shows... the covetous... unjust. — 897
Since the unjust man is covetous, he will be concerned not about all goods but about whatever pertains to fortune and misfortune. Goods of this kind are always good in themselves but not always for a particular man. They are objects of his prayers and pursuits. This ought not to be so, but a man should pray that the things that are good in themselves become good for him, and should choose such as are good for him.
bb. He shows... the unjust person... unfair. — 898
But the unjust man does not always choose too much, rather sometimes too little of the things burdensome in themselves. However, because a lesser evil apparently is in some way a good—covetousness is concerned with a good—therefore it seems that this type of man is covetous. But he is unfair—a term which contains both and is common.
cc. How the unjust man is... lawbreaking. — 899
Besides, the unjust man is lawbreaking, but this lawlessness or inequality contains all injustice and is common in respect of all kinds of injustice.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
885. After the Philosopher has finished the consideration of the moral virtues dealing with the passions, he now begins to consider the virtue of justice dealing with actions. He divides the inquiry into two parts, in the first of which [I] he examines justice in the proper sense; and then [Lect. 17], at “Whether or not it is possible etc.” (B. 1138 a 4), in the metaphorical sense. He discusses the first point under two headings. Initially [A] he investigates the virtue of justice; and then [Lect. 16], at “Next we will treat equity etc.” (B. 1137 a 31), a certain virtue, namely, equity that
gives direction to ordinary justice. He handles the initial point in a twofold manner. First [A’] he indicates what he intends to treat; and next [B’] at “Apparently everyone wants to call etc.,” he carries out his intention. He considers the first under two aspects. Initially [A’, 1] he shows what subject he intends to consider, viz., justice and injustice. Concerning justice he proposes for consideration three differences existing between justice an the previously mentioned virtues.
886. The first difference is touched upon when he says that we must aim it such operations as aredone by justice and injustice. The virtues and vices discussed before (649-884) are concerned with the passions, for there we consider. in what way a man may be internally influenced by reason of the passions; but we do not consider what is externally done, except as something secondary, inasmuch as external operations originate from internal passions. However, in treating justice and injustice we direct our principal attention to what a man does externally; how he is influenced internally we consider only as a by-product, namely, according as he is helped or hindered in the operation. The second difference is touched upon when he says “what is the mean of justice and the just action,” i.e., the object of justice. In the virtues previously treated we took the mean of reason and not of the thing. But in justice the mean of the thing is used, as will be determined later (932-977). The third difference is touched upon when he says “and between what extremes the just action is the mean.” Each of the afore-mentioned virtues is a mean between two vices, but justice is not a mean between two vices, as will be clear afterwards (993-994).
887. Then [A’, 2], at “It is our intention,” he shows by what method we are to examine the differences just mentioned. He says that we intend to investigate justice in the same way as we investigated the virtues just discussed, i.e., according to type and so on.
888. Next [B’], at “Apparently everyone etc.,” he begins the investigation of justice. First [B’, 1] he distinguishes particular from legal justice. Then [Lect. 4], at “One species of particular etc.” (B.1130 b 30), he considers particular justice, his principal concern. He discusses the first point in a threefold manner. First [i, a] he divides justice into legal and particular. Second [Lect. 2], at “Since it was said that etc.” (B.i129 b 12), he shows what the nature of legal justice is. Third [Lect. 3], at “We are now investigating etc.” (B. 1l30 a 14), he explains that, besides legal justice, there is a particular justice. He treats the initial point in a twofold manner. First [a, i] he shows what the names, justice and injustice, signify; and then [a, ii], at “It follows in most instances etc.,” he distinguishes the two concepts. He develops the first under three headings. At the outset [i, x] he explains justice and injustice. Next [i, y], at “Likewise, the same etc.,” he shows that the explanation is reasonable. Last [i, z], at “Oftentimes then etc.,” he infers a corollary from the premises. He says in the beginning that all seem to contend that justice is the sort of habit that brings about three effects in man. The first is an inclination to a work of justice in accord with which a man is said to be disposed to just works. The second is a just action. The Third is that a man wants to perform just operations. We must say the same about injustice, namely, that it is a habit by which men are disposed to unjust deeds and by which they do and will unjust actions. For that reason we must presuppose these things about justice as apparently typical in such matters.
889. Likewise, we must take into consideration that he properly explained justice after the manner of a will, which does not have passions but nevertheless is the principle of external actions. Consequently, the will is a proper subject of justice, which is not concerned with the passions.
890. At “Likewise, the same” [i, y] he shows that the preceding explanations are reasonable in this respect, viz., that justice is explained by the fact that its purpose is to will and perform just actions, and injustice to will and perform unjust actions. What is true of sciences and potencies is not true of habits, for contraries belong to the same potency (for example, white and black to sight) and to the same science (for instance, health and sickness to medicine). But in regard to habits, contrary things are not referred to them.
891. He takes an example from habits of the body. Not the things that are contrary to health but only those in keeping with health proceed from health. In this way we say that a man walks with a vigorous step who is vigorous in health. Hence science itself, as it is a kind of knowledge, refers to contraries inasmuch as one of contraries is the reason for knowing the other; nevertheless, inasmuch as science is a certain habit, it is attributed to one act only (which is knowing the truth) and not to the contrary error. So then it was properly said that by justice we do just actions; by injustice, unjust actions.
892. Then [i, z], at “Oftentimes, then,” he infers a corollary from the premises. Since contrary habits belong to contraries, and one act belongs to one object in a fixed manner, it follows that frequently one contrary habit is known by another and oftentimes by its object which is, as it were, matter subject to the operation of the habit. He illustrates this by an example. If evexia or a healthy condition is known, cachexia or an unhealthy condition is also known. In this way a habit is known by its contrary. Likewise it is known from its object because from the things that make a man healthy, a healthy condition becomes known. This is further illustrated in a more particular way. If the fact that a man has very firm flesh is a characteristic of a healthy condition, then the fact that he has flabby flesh—as it were loosely compressed by reason of disordered humors—is necessarily characteristic of an unhealthy condition. Again, that which makes a man healthy is necessarily a condition making him have firm flesh.
893. Next [a, ii], at “It follows in most instances,” he distinguishes justice and injustice. First [ii, x] he gives the division; and then [ii, y], at “Since the unjust man etc.,” the parts of the division. He treats the first point in three ways. At the outset [x, aa] he shows that various meanings of injustice indicate various meanings of justice. The reason is that it follows in most instances that if one of opposites may be spoken of in diverse ways, then the other can be. This is the case, too, with what is just and unjust.
894. Second [x, bb], at “Justice and injustice,” he explains the nature of their various meanings. He says that both justice and injustice can be spoken of in diverse ways, but their many meanings lie concealed because the things making for equivocation are close to one another in their agreement among themselves. But in widely separated things equivocation is evident, if the same name be given them, because their great difference in concept, i.e., in the essential element of the proper species, is immediately apparent. In this way the name key is used equivocally of an instrument which locks doors and of the clavicle (clavicula i.e. little key) which covers the artery in the shoulder of animals.
895. Third [x, cc], at “The unjust man,” he explains in how many ways the previously mentioned habits may be signified, saying that first we must consider the unjust man in as many ways as he is designated. He is spoken of in three ways: in one way as the lawbreaking man, i.e., one who acts contrary to the law; in another way as the covetous man who wants too much prosperity; in the last way as the unfair man who determines to have too few burdens.
896. It is obvious then that the man is taken in two ways: in one way as a law-abiding person, i.e., as one who observes the law; in the other way as the fair person who is willing to have the smiles and frowns of fortune in equal measure. The equal is opposed to both, i.e., to what is excessive and to what is deficient. From this he draws a further conclusion that what is just is said to be according to the law and fair; and what is unjust, contrary to the law and unfair inasmuch as objects are made known by habits, as was said before (892).
897. At “Since the unjust man” [ii, y] he makes clear the parts: of the division just given. First [y, aa] he shows in what way the covetous man is said to be unjust. He affirms that since the covetous person who wants to have too much is unjust, it follows that he will be concerned about an abundance of goods which men desire. However, he will not be solicitous about all goods but only those pertaining to fortune and adversity. Goods of this kind are beneficial if we do not make qualification, i.e., they are good considered independently and in themselves. But they are not always beneficial for an individual because they are not always proportionate to him nor always expedient for him. However, men seek these goods from God, and pray for and desire them as if such things were always beneficial. By reason of this they become covetous and unjust. It should not be this way, but a man ought to pray that those things that are in themselves good be made good for him, so that each may choose what is good for him, i.e., the proper exercise of virtue.
898. Then [y, bb], at “But the unjust man,” he shows how the unjust person is said to be unfair, stating that a man is not always called unjust because he chooses too much but because he chooses too little of the things that simply and considered in themselves are burdensome—like labors, lack of necessities and so on. However, since lesser evil apparently is in some way a good precisely as it is eligible—covetousness regards a good as was just said (897)—it seems for this reason that a person who desires too little of what is arduous is in some way covetous. But it is nearer the truth to say that he is unfair-a term that contains both and is common to excess and defect.
899. Last [y, cc], at “Besides, the unjust ,” he explains how the unjust man is said to be lawbreaking, affirming that he who is unlawful is also called unjust. A person is designated a lawbreaker by reason of unlawfulness which is also an inequality inasmuch as a man is not equal to the norm of the law. This unlawfulness contains in general all injustice and something common in respect of every kind of injustice, as will be made clear later (911, 919, 922).
A. He treats the legally just itself.
1. THE LEGALLY JUST IS DETERMINED BY LAW. — 900-901
Since it was said that the lawless person is unjust and the law-abiding person just, obviously lawful acts are in some measure I just acts. Likewise, what is determined by the positive law is lawful, and we say that such a determination is just.
2. THE NATURE OF LEGAL ENACTMENTS.
a. For whose sake a law is enacted. — 902-903
But laws aim to touch on everything which contributes to the benefit of all, or of the best, or of the rulers, either on account of virtues or something else. Therefore, for one such reason we call those laws just that bring about and preserve happiness and the things that make for happiness in the civic community.
b. On what matters laws are made. — 904-905
A law commands deeds of bravery, for instance, that a soldier should not leave the battle line nor throw away his arms. It commands things belonging to temperance, for example, that no one should commit adultery, that no one should be guilty of outrage. It commands things that pertain to meekness: no one should strike another, no one should contend with another. It is the same with other virtues and vices, the law ordering the former and forbidding the latter. In accord with this, a law rightly drafted will be excellent but one insufficiently considered will be bad.
B. He considers legal justice.
1. THE NATURE OF LEGAL JUSTICE. — 906
Justice itself then is a perfect virtue, not in itself but in relation to another. For this reason justice seems to be the most excellent among the virtues. Hence we have the proverb: “neither evening star nor morning star is so wonderful as justice.”
2. IN WHAT WAY IT IS RELATED TO THE VIRTUES.
a. He sets forth his intention. — 907
But under justice every virtue is included at the same time, and it is especially the perfect virtue because it is the exercise of perfect virtue.
b. He explains his proposition.
i. Legal justice is an especially perfect virtue. — 908-910
Legal justice is perfect because the person who has this virtue can exercise it in relation to another and not in relation to himself alone. Some people can apply virtue to their own affairs but not to affairs pertaining to others. Because of this, the saying of Bias seems to be commendable that authority tests a man, for the prince is already engaged in communication with others. Therefore, justice alone among the virtues seems to be another’s good because it refers to another. It produces goods useful to another, viz., the prince or the common good. Consequently, the man who practices vice in regard to himself and his friends is most wicked. On the other hand the man who practices virtue in regard to himself and toward others—a difficult thing to do—is most honorable.
ii. (Legal justice) includes every virtue. — 911
This virtue, therefore, is not a particular but a general virtue, Likewise, the opposite injustice is not a particular vice but a general one.
c. He settles a point which could be called in question. — 912
How virtue and justice differ from one another is evident from what has been said, for they are the same in substance but different in concept. Virtue as related to another is justice; as this kind of habit it is virtue without qualification.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
900. After the Philosopher has given the division of justice, he now considers legal justice. First [A] he treats the legally just itself, which is the object of legal justice. Second [B], at “Justice itself then etc., he considers legal justice. He discusses the first point in a twofold manner. First [A, 1 ] he shows that the legally just is determined by law. Now [A, 2], at “But laws aim etc.,” he explains the nature of legal enactments. He affirms first that, since it was said above (895-896, 899) that the lawless man is unjust and the law-abiding man just, it clearly follows that all lawful acts are just in some measure.
goi. He says “in some measure” because every law is determined in relation to some state. Now, not every state possesses what is simply just but some states have only what is partially just, as is evident in the third book of the Politics (Ch. 9, 1281 a 10; St. Th. Lect. 7, 413). In a democratic state where all the people govern, what is partially just is observed but not what is simply just, so that because all the citizens are equal in one respect (i.e., in liberty), therefore they are considered equal in every respect. Consequently, acts that are prescribed by law in a democracy are not simply but only in some measure just. But Aristotle says that those enactments are lawful that have been fixed and determined by positive law, which is within the competence of legislators, and that each enactment so decreed is said to he just in some way.
902. Next [A’, 2] , at “But laws aim,” he explains with what the decrees of law are concerned. He considers this point from two aspects. First [2, a] he shows for whose sake a law is enacted. Then [2, b], at “A law commands,” he shows on what matters laws are made. He says first that laws touch on everything that can be of any possible utility for the community (as in the ideal states where the common good is kept in mind), or for the utility of the best (i.e., certain elders of the state who govern it and are called nobles), or for the utility of he rulers (as happens in states ruled by kings and tyrants). In the framing of laws attention is always given to what is useful to the affair of chief importance in the city.
903. Some may be considered as best or as ruling either because of virtue (as in an aristocratic state where certain ones rule on account of virtue), or for the sake of something else (as in an oligarchy where the few rule on account of riches or power). Since human utility of every kind is finally ordered to happiness, obviously the legal enactments that bring about happiness and the means to it (i.e., the things that are ordered to happiness either principally, like the virtues, or instrumentally like riches and other external goods of this kind) are called just in some fashion. This is by comparison with the civic community to which the framing of a law is directed.
904. At “A law commands” [2, b] he explains on what matters laws are made, saying that a law commands what belongs to individual virtues. It commands deeds of bravery, for instance, that a soldier should not leave the battle line, nor take flight, nor throw away his arms. Likewise, it commands things pertaining to temperance, for example, that no one should commit adultery, that no one should dishonor the person of a woman. Also it commands the things belonging to meekness: no one should strike another in anger, no one should contend with another by insults. It is the same with other virtues whose acts the law commands, and with other vices whose acts the law forbids.
905. If the law is rightly drafted according to this, it will be declared an excellent law. Otherwise it is called aposchediasmenos (from a meaning without, poschedias meaning knowledge, and menos meaning a searching) as if the law was drafted without a thorough knowledge, or the expression may come from schedos signifying a decree published without being thoroughly scanned, from which we have schediazo, i.e., I am doing something off-hand. Hence a law is said to be aposchediasmenos which lacks proper forethought.
906. Then [B], at “Justice itself then,” he determines how legal justice is constituted, showing first [B, 1] the nature of legal justice; and then [B, 2], at “But under justice,” in what way it is related to the virtues. He says first that justice itself is a certain perfect virtue not in terms of itself but in relation to another. Since it is better to be perfect not only in oneself but also in relation to another, therefore it is often said that this justice is the most excellent among all virtues. This is the origin of the proverb that neither Hesperus nor Lucifer, the brightest of the morning and evening stars, shine with such brilliance as justice.
907. Next [B, 2], at “But under justice,” he shows from our discussion thus far how legal justice is related to the virtues. He treats this point under three headings. First [B, 2, a] he sets forth his intention. Then [B, 2, b], at “Legal justice is perfect etc.,” he explains his proposition. Lastly [B, 2, c], at “How virtue and justice etc.,” he settles a point which could be called in question by the present discussion. He states first that justice itself comprehends every virtue at the same time and is even the perfect virtue in a special way. The reason is that legal justice consists in the exercise of virtue having do with another and is in agreement with every virtue prescribed by the law.
908. At “Legal justice is perfect” [ B, 2, b] he explains what was set forth: first [b, i] that legal justice is an especially perfect virtue; and then, at “This virtue, therefore” [b, ii], that it includes every virtue. He says first that legal justice is a perfect virtue because a man who has this virtue can employ it in relation to another and not to himself only—something not characteristic of all virtuous people. Many can practice virtue in things pertaining to themselves but not in the things pertaining to others. To make clear the previous statements he introduces two common sayings or proverbs.
909. Bias, one of the seven wise men, said that authority tests whether a man is perfect or deficient. The man who rules is already engaged in communication with another because it is his business to arrange the things which are ordered to the common good. So from this we see that the perfection of virtue is indicated by the fact that one person is in touch with another. He proposes another saying to show that legal justice refers to another. For this reason legal justice alone seems to be the good of another (that is, relates to our neighbor) inasmuch as it aims to perform actions useful to another, viz., to the community or the ruler of the community. But some virtues aim to achieve an individual’s good, for instance, temperance strives to quiet the disgraceful desires of the soul. The same is true of the other virtues.
910. He draws the conclusion that, as that man is most wicked who practices vice not only in regard to himself but also in regard to his friends, so, that man is most honorable who practices virtue in relation not only to himself but also to others. This is especially difficult. So then it is clear that the law-abiding just man is most virtuous and legal justice is the most perfect of virtues.
911. Then [b, ii], at “This virtue, therefore,” he infers that legal justice embraces every virtue, for it pertains to legal justice to exercise virtue in regard to another. But a person can practice every virtue in his relation with another. Hence obviously legal justice is not a particular virtue but has a connection with virtue in general. Likewise, the opposite vice is not a particular vice but a general vice, since in a similar way man can exercise every vice in his relations with his neighbor.
912. Next [B, 2, c], at “How justice and virtue,” he clarifies something that may be doubtful from the premises. He says that it is clear, from what has been said, the way in which virtue and legal justice differ since they are the same in substance but different in concept. However, virtue in its relation to another is called justice, but precisely as it is a habit operative of such good, it is a virtue simply. This must be understood in regard to the act itself of justice and virtue, for an act identical in subject but diverse in concept is produced by legal justice and by virtue simply so called, for instance, not to commit adultery. But where a special formal aspect of an object exists even in general matter, thee a special habit must be found. For this reason it follows that legal justice is a definite virtue taking its species from this, that it tends to the common good.
A. He indicates his proposition. — 913
We are now investigating that justice which is a part of the general virtue. As we have remarked, there is such a virtue. We also intend to speak in a similar way about particular injustice.
B. He explains (the proposition).
1. THERE IS A JUSTICE WHICH IS A PARTICULAR VIRTUE.
a. First argument. — 914-915
The proof for the existence of a particular justice is that a man who practices other vices acting unjustly, nevertheless does not act covetously, for example, one who throws away his shield out of cowardice, or who speaks ill of another out of anger, or who refuses financial help because of stinginess. On the other hand, a person often sins by covetousness, although not by one or all of the other vices, but he does sin by this particular vice, for we reproach him for being unjust. There is then another kind of injustice, a part of injustice in general. Likewise, there is a certain unjust thing that is a part of that which is legally unjust.
b. Second argument. — 916
Moreover, if one man commits adultery for the sake of gain and makes money by this act, while another commits adultery for the sake of concupiscence and pays, thus sustaining a loss; the second man seems to be more lustful than the first who is unjust rather than lustful, for obviously he acted for gain.
c. Third argument. — 917
Yet in all other kinds of injustice’ there is always a reference to some particular vice, for instance, if a man commits adultery it is ascribed to lust. If a soldier deserts his leader, it is 30 referred to cowardice. If anyone strikes another, it is attributed to anger. But if a person makes an exorbitant profit, it is not reduced to any other vice but only to injustice. Hence it is clear that over and above general justice, there is a particular justice.
2. WHY IT HAS A NAME IN COMMON WITH LEGAL JUSTICE.
a. The reason for this. — 919
This justice has the same name because defined under the same genus, since both agree in a relation to another.
b. The difference between them. — 919
But particular justice is concerned with honor, money, security, and all other things of this kind whatever name they may have, and also with the pleasure that follows upon possession. But general justice touches upon everything by reason of which a man can be called virtuous.
C. He sums up what has already been said and shows what remains to be discussed.
1. HE SETS THIS FORTH IN A GENERAL WAY. — 920
Obviously then there is more than one justice, there is another justice besides the general virtue. What this other justice is and its characteristics will be considered now.
2. HE TAKES IT UP IN A SPECIFIC WAY.
a. What was said about the distinction between justice and injustice. — 921
We have determined that the unjust thing is both the illegally unjust and the unjust simply, but the just thing is both the just corresponding to the law and the just that is equal or fair.
b. There is a twofold justice. — 922
Therefore, in accord with the illegally unjust thing, there is an injustice that we previously discussed. Now, the unjust thing that consists in a desire for inequality is not the same, but is related to the other as a part to the whole, for every unjust thing consisting in a desire for inequality is an illegally unjust thing but not the reverse. Besides, the excessive is unequal but not the reverse. Because one unjust thing is not the same as another, so also one injustice is not the same as another but different from it as a part from the whole. The same comparison holds for one injustice with the other.
c. Which... we must discuss.
i. We must treat particular justice after this. — 923
We must then discuss particular justice and injustice, and also the just and the unjust thing taken in the same sense.
ii. Here we are not going to treat legal justice. — 924
Justice that corresponds to all of virtue and injustice that corresponds to all of vice, as their exercise pertains to our neighbor, are both to be passed over for the present. It is evident in these cases how the just thing must be determined. Nearly all legal enactments are prescribed by the general virtue, for the law commands us to live according to every virtue and forbids us to live according to any vice.
iii. He raises a doubt. — 925-926
However, positive laws are productive of virtue in general in regard to instruction which pertains to the common good. But that instruction according to which a man is good simply, whether it belongs to political science or some other science, must be determined afterwards. Perhaps, to be a good man and to be a good citizen are not the same thing in any state.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
913. After the Philosopher has shown that besides this there is a particular what is the nature of legal justice, which is a general virtue, now he shows justice. He treats this point under three headings. First [A] he indicates his proposition; and then [B], at “The proof for etc.,” he explains it. Last [C], at “Obviously then etc.,” he sums up what has already been said and shows what remains to be discussed. He says first that, while legal justice is a general virtue, we are not principally investigating this at present, but that which as a part of the general virtue is a particular virtue. As is commonly held, there is such a virtue. Also we intend to speak about particular injustice in a similar manner.
914. Then [B], at “The proof for,” he explains the proposition. He discusses this point from two aspects. First [B, 1] he shows that besides legal justice, which is a general virtue, there is a justice that is a particular virtue. Next [B, 2], at “This justice etc.,” he assigns the reason why it has a name in common with legal justice. On this question we must consider that to prove there is a justice that is a particular virtue, he takes for granted that there is an injustice that is a particular vice, for we said above (892) that habits are made known by their contraries. He proposes three arguments for this. The first argument [B, 1, a] is taken according to the real distinction of injustice from other vices inasmuch as injustice is found without the others and conversely. From this it is evident that injustice is a particular vice distinct from other vices.
915. He says that we have this proof that there is a particular justice and injustice because a man, who practices other particular vices acting unjustly according to legal injustice, nevertheless does not act covetously in taking something from his neighbor, for example, when a soldier throws away his shield because of cowardice, or a man casts opprobrium on someone because of anger, or a person refuses financial help to a friend because of the vice of stinginess. So other vices can exist without covetousness which is a special kind of injustice. Sometimes, on the contrary, it happens that a person sins by covetousness in taking another’s goods; although he does not sin by some one or all of the other vices, he does sin by a particular vice. This is clear because he is reproached as unjust for that reason. Hence obviously there is another justice-a part of the virtue-that is a special virtue. So evidently there exists also a certain unjust thing that is a part of what is legally unjust-the legally unjust being the unjust thing in general.
916. At “Moreover, if one man” [B, 1, b] he gives the second argument, which is taken from the order to the end. Clearly, if a vicious or evil act is ordered to another unbecoming end, from this fact it will obtain a new species of vice. This is so when a man commits adultery for the sake of gain, for example, to rob a woman or to take from her in any way whatsoever. Also it happens sometimes that a man commits adultery entirely because of concupiscence, so that he not only does not gain but rather gives something of his own and suffers a loss of is goods. A man of this sort seems to be lustful, essentially speaking (per se), since the vice of lust is strictly ordered to the satisfaction of concupiscence. But the man who commits adultery to take a woman’s goods does not seem to be lustful, absolutely speaking, because he does not intend lust as his end. He seems rather to be unjust since he sins against justice for the sake of gain. So it is clear then that injustice is a special vice.
917. At “Yet in all” [B, i, c] he assigns the third argument, which is taken by comparison with legal justice. As nothing is contained in a genus that is not contained in some species, so anything that is done according to legal injustice is reduced to a particular vice. If a man acts contrary to legal justice by committing adultery, this will be referred to the vice of lust. If a soldier deserts his general in battle, this will be attributed to the vice of cowardice. If anyone immoderately strikes his neighbor, this will be ascribed to the vice of a anger. But if a person inordinately enriches himself by pilfering another’s goods, this will not be ascribed to any other vice except injustice. Hence it remains that there is a particular injustice over and above the other injustice that is a general vice. For a like reason there is another particular justice besides legal justice that is a general virtue.
918. Then [B, 2] at “This justice has,” he shows why a particular virtue of this kind is also named justice. First [B, 2, a] he assigns the reason for this from the agreement of particular with legal justice. Next [B, 2, b], at “But particular justice,” he explains the difference between them. He says first that particular justice is univocal, that is, has a common name with legal justice. The reason is that they agree in definition according to the same genus inasmuch as both are concerned about what relates to another. However, legal justice is taken into account in relation to what is the common good, while particular justice is ordered to another as pertaining to a private person.
919. Next [B, 2, b], at “But particular justice,” he explains the difference between justice and injustice on part of the matter. He says that particular justice regards hose things hat take into account social intercourse, like honor, money, whatever pertains to the safety or harm to the body, and so on. Likewise, particular justice is concerned not alone with external things but also with pleasure consequent on the profit by which a man takes his neighbor’s goods beyond what he ought. But legal justice and injustice treat all moral matters in general in whatsoever way a man may be said to be good or virtuous about a thing.
920. At “Obviously then” [C] he summarizes what has been said and shows what remains to be discussed. First [C, 1] he sets this forth in a general way; and then [C, 2] at “We have determined etc.,” he takes it up in a specific way. He says first that it is clear from the premises (913-919) that there is more than one justice, viz., legal justice and justice aiming at equality, and that over and above legal justice, as a general virtue, there is a particular justice. But we must determine later on (927-1077) the nature and characteristics of particular justice.
921. Then [C, 2], at “We have determined,” he shows in detail what has been treated and what remains to be discussed. First [C, 2, a] he resumes what was said about the distinction between justice and injustice. He affirms that we have determined that the unjust thing is called illegal and unequal either by excess or defect. On the contrary, the just thing is called legal and equal.
922. Next [C, 2, b], at “Therefore, in accord with,” he resumes what he has said, viz., that as there is a twofold just thing, so there is a twofold justice. He affirms that in accord with the illegally unjust thing there is a certain injustice, previously discussed (911, 919), which is a general vice. Likewise, in accord with the just corresponding to the law, there is a certain justice that is a general virtue. Now, the unjust thing consisting in a desire for inequality and the illegally unjust thing are not altogether the same, but one is related to the other as a part to the whole so that every unjust thing consisting in a desire for inequality is an illegally unjust thing, but not the reverse. Again, every thing that is excessive is unequal but not the reverse, since there is a certain illegal injustice in having too few burdens. Because (I say) one unjust thing is a part of the other unjust thing, and they are not entirely the same; in a similar way, therefore, the injustice called inequality is not entirely the same as illegal injustice but is compared to it as a part to the whole. Also the justice aiming at equality is compared to legal justice in a similar manner.
923. Last [C, 2, c], at “We must then,” he shows which of these things we must discuss. On this point he does three things. First [c, i] he says that we must treat particular justice after this (927-1077), and similarly the just and the unjust thing particularly so called.
924. Then [c, ii], at “Justice that corresponds,” he explains that here we are not going to treat legal justice. He affirms that legal justice-which conforms to all of virtue inasmuch as the use of the whole of virtue referring to our neighbor pertains to it-is to be passed over for the present. Likewise, the opposite injustice (inasmuch as the use of the whole of vice pertains to it) is to be passed over. It is clear how what is just and unjust ought to be determined according to justice and injustice of this kind, because they are the precepts as laid down by the law. The greater part of legal prescriptions are enjoined in agreement with the whole of virtue inasmuch as the law commands us to live according to every virtue and forbids us to live according to any vice. However, there are certain determinations of the law that do not belong directly to the exercise of any virtue but to some disposition of external goods.
925. Last [c, iii], at “However, positive law,” he raises a doubt. It is evident that positive laws are productive of virtue in general by the instruction given a man in reference to the common good. But there is another kind of instruction by which a man is trained in virtuous actions as applicable to him individually, i.e., to his proper good inasmuch as in this way a man becomes virtuous in himself. Therefore, there can be a doubt whether instruction of this kind should belong to political science or to so-me other science.
926. He says that this question must be settled afterwards in the work on Politics. It is proved in the third book of the Politics (Ch. 4, 1276 b 16-1277 b 33; St. Th. Lect. 3, 365-377) that to be a good man simply and to be a good citizen are not the same in every state. There are some states not worthy of honor in which a person can be a good citizen yet not be a good man. Bt in the most worthy state no one is a good citizen who is not a good man.
Distributive and Commutative justice
I. HE CONSIDERS PARTICULAR JUSTICE IN A GENERAL WAY.
A. He makes a division of particular justice.
A’ He indicates a species of particular justice. — 927
One species of particular justice and of the just thing corresponding to it consists in the distribution of honor, money, and other common goods that are to be apportioned to people sharing in social community, for in these matters one man as compared with another may have an equal or unequal share.
B’ He gives a second kind of particular justice. — 928
Another species gives directions for use in private transactions.
C’ He subdivides commutative justice.
1. THERE ARE TWO PARTS. — 929
There are two parts of this species, as some types of transaction are voluntary and others involuntary. Examples of the voluntary are selling, buying, bail, loan, deposit, rent. They are called voluntary because the origin of these exchanges is voluntary.
2. THE OTHER DIVISION OF TRANSACTIONS. — 930-931
Some kinds of involuntary transaction are occult, like theft, adultery, poisoning, procuring, enticement of a slave, assassination, false testimony. Others are one done with manifest violence, for example, beating, imprisonment, murder, robbery, despoiling parents of children, reproach, outrage.
B. How a mean may be taken in this virtue.
A’ The just thing is a mean.
1. IN WHAT WAY THE JUST THING... MAY BE DETERMINED.
a. The just thing may be taken as a mean according to distributive justice.
i. He proves that the mean... should be taken according to a... relationship of proportions.
x. FROM THE VERY CONCEPT OF JUSTICE.
aa. The just thing is a certain mean. — 932-933
Since the unjust person is unfair and the unjust thing is unequal, it is clear that there is a mean corresponding to what is unjust. This is the equal, for in operations of this kind where there is more or less, there is also an equal. Therefore, if the unjust thing is the unequal and, the just thing the equal—and this is evident in all situations without need of proof—then the just thing will be the mean since the equal is the mean.
bb. The mean is according to a certain relationship of proportions. — 934-935
However, the equal implies at least two things. Therefore, since the just thing is both a mean and an equal, it necessarily is related to another and pertains to certain matters of equality. As a mean it will be between two things which are more and less. As it is an equal it will be between two things. As it is a just thing it will concern matters in relation to other persons, for justice regards another. Therefore, the just necessarily involves at least four objects, viz., two persons by whom justice is observed and two things about which justice is done. There will be the same equality between persons and between things in such a way that, as things are related to one another, so are persons. If they are not equal they will not have equal shares, and from this source quarrels and complaints. will arise, when either persons who are equal do not receive equal shares in distribution, or persons who are not equal do receive equal shares.
y. FROM THE CONCEPT OF MERIT — 936-937
Moreover, this is clear from the fact that bestowal should be made according to merit, for he juwt thing in distribution has to be done according to a certain merit. But all do not agree that merit consists in the same thing. People of a democracy place it in a condition of freedom, people of an oligarchy in one’s riches or nobility of birth, and people of an aristocracy in a state of virtue.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
927. After the Philosopher has differentiated particular justice from legal justice, he now begins to investigate particular justice without treating legal justice. He divides the investigation into two parts. In the first part [I] he considers particular justice in a general way by comparison with its proper object, and in the second part [Lect. 11], at “Since someone etc.” (B. 1134 a 16), he considers it in its application to the subject. In regard to the first part, he does two things. Initially [A] he makes a division of particular justice. Next [B], at “Since the unjust person etc.,” he explains how a mean may be taken in this virtue. He discusses the initial point from three aspects. First [A’] he indicates a species of particular justice. He says that one species—the same holds for the unjust thing corresponding to it—consists in the distribution of certain common goods (either honor or money or any other thing belonging to external goods or even to external evils, like labor, expenses and so on) that are to be apportioned among people who share in social community. He proves that this should belong to particular justice because in matters of this kind, equality and inequality—which belong to particular justice and injustice, as was stated before (922).Of one person to another are taken into consideration.
928. Next [B’], at “Another species,” he gives a second kind of particular justice. He says that another species establishes a measure of justice in transactions, by which a thing is transferred from one person to another -in the first species the transfer of a thing from the community to the individual was considered.
929. Last [C’], at “There sire two parts,” he subdivides commutative justice according to the different kinds of transactions, making a twofold division. He says first  that there are two parts of commutative justice because there are two kinds of transactions. Some are voluntary, others involuntary. The voluntary are so-called because the principle of transaction is voluntary in both parties as is evident in selling and buying, by which one man transfers the dominion over his own property to another as compensation for a price received; in barter, by which someone gives what is his to another for something of equal value; in bail, by which a person voluntarily appoints himself a debtor for another; in a loan, by which a man grants the use of his property to another without recompense but reserves ownership of the thing to himself; in a deposit, by which one commits something of his to the custody of another; in rent, by which a person accepts the use of something belonging to another for a price.
930. Then , at “Some kinds of involuntary,” he subdivides the other division of transactions, saying that some involuntary transactions are occult: like theft by which one takes a thing belonging to another who is unwilling; adultery, by which a man secretly approaches the wife of another for sexual intercourse, poisoning, which a person poison another with intent either to kill or injure in some way. Also they are especially called poisoners who by some sorcery bring about murder or harm. Paragogia is a derivation or a leading away, for example the occult diversion of a stream belonging to one person to the property of another. The enticement of a slave takes place when someone induces another’s slave to flee from his master. Assassination is that slaying which happens from wounds inflicted by trickery. Testimony is false in which a person conceals the truth by lying. Other transactions are involuntary and done by manifest violence. Thus a man may use violence either upon a person by beating, fettering, murdering, or upon things by robbing another of his goods, by despoiling parents of their children through murder. Likewise, a man may use violence through infamy by using reproachful words, or through injury by inflicting outrage.
931. We must consider that the voluntary and involuntary in transactions make a difference in the species of justice because voluntary transactions cause the subtraction of only a thing which must be repaid according to the equality of justice. But involuntary transactions cause a certain injury. Hence the robber is forced not only to return the thing plundered but to undergo punishment because of the affront inflicted. Since the involuntary is twofold, viz., arising from force and from ignorance, he divides involuntary transactions into those which are occult, as it were through ignorance, and those that are done openly through violence.
932. Next [B], at “Since the unjust person,” he shows how a mean is understood in these matters. He discusses this point from two aspects. First [13, A’] he explains how the just thing is a mean; and then [Lect. 10], at “From these discussions etc.” (B. 1133 b 30), how justice is a mean. He treats the first point in a twofold manner. First [A’, 1 ] he shows in what way the just thing, consisting in a mean according to either justice, may be determined. Next [Lect. 8], at “Some philosophers seem to think etc.” (B. 1132 b 21), he rejects an error. He further discusses the first point in two stages. First [1, a] he explains how the just thing may be taken as a mean according to distributive justice; and second (Lect. 6], at “There remains another etc.” (B. 1131 b 25), according to commutative justice. He considers the first point in two ways. First [a, i] he proves that the mean of distributive should be taken according to a certain relationship of proportions. Next [Lect. 5],at “Therefore the just thing etc.” (B. 113i a 30), he shows what the nature of that relationship of proportions is. On the initial point he does two things. First [i, x] he proves the proposition from the very concept of justice; and then [ i, y ], at “Moreover, this is clear etc.,” from the concept of merit. He treats the first point under two headings. First [x, aa] he shows from the very notion of justice that the just thing is a certain mean. Second [x, bb], at “However, the equal etc.,” he explains that the mean is according to a certain relationship of proportions.
913. He says first that, as was said previously (898, 921), the unjust man is one who desires an inequality of good and evil, and the unjust thing is that which consists in an inequality, and concerns both too much and too little. But wherever there is more and less, there the equal must be found, for the equal is the mean between the greater and the less. Hence wherever we find equality, there we find a mean. It is clear then that the unjust thing is a kind of unequal thing. That the just thing is a kind of equal thing is obvious to everyone without any proof. Therefore, since the equal is a mean between more and less, as has been shown (310, 896, 898), it follows that the just thing is a kind of mean.
934. At “However, the equal” [x, bb] he explains that the just thing is a mean according to a certain relationship of proportions. To prove this he takes for granted that the equal consists in at least two things between which an equality is considered. Therefore, since the just thing is both a mean and an equal, inasmuch as it is just, it is necessarily a relation to something, i.e., with respect to another, as is evident from what has been indicated (922); but inasmuch as it is an equal it pertains to certain matters in which equality between two persons is taken into account. Thus it is evident that if we consider the just thing precisely as a mean, it will then be a mean between two things that are more and less. But precisely as the just thing is an equal, it must be between two things (as a just thing, of course, it must concern some matters in relation to other persons, because justice regards another person). However, justice insofar as it is a mean, an extrinsic thing, considers more or less; but as something intrinsic it considers two things and two persons in which justice is established. So it is clear that what is just, necessarily consists in at least four objects, viz., two persons by whom justice is observed and two things about which justice is done.
935. In the concept of justice there must be the same equality between persons who practice justice and between things about which justice is done, so that as the things are related to one another, so are the persons. Otherwise they will not have shares proportional to themselves. But, by reason of this quarrels and complaints arise as if justice had been neglected because, either persons who are equal do not receive equal shares, for example, if laborers are paid wages for doing an unequal amount of work, or are paid unequal wages for doing an equal amount of work. So then it is evident that the mean of distributive justice is taken according to a certain relationship of proportions.
936. Then [i, y], at “Moreover, this is,” he shows that it is obvious also by reason of merit that the just thing consists in a certain relationship of fore they think it proper that equal proportions. In this way a thing is said to be just in distributions inasmuch as allotment is made according to merit as each is worthy to receive. A certain relationship of proportions is designated by this—that as one person is deserving of one thing, so another is deserving of another thing.
937. However, all do not judge merit in distribution in agreement with the same norm. In a democratic state where everyone governs, they judge merit according to a condition of freedom. Because the common people are the equal of others in freedom, therefore they think it proper that equal distribution be made to them. In an oligarchy where some few rule, they measure merit according to a man’s riches or according to nobility of birth, so that men who are more eminent by birth or riches should have more of the common goods. In an aristocracy where certain men govern because of their virtue, they measure merit according to a state of virtue, so that a man should have more who practices virtue more perfectly. Thus it is clear that the mean of distributive justice is understood according to a relationship of proportions.
A. He explains in what way the just thing should be taken according to a certain proportionality.
1. SOME GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT PROPORTIONALITY.
a. The just thing is fittingly said to be according to proportionality. — 938-939
Therefore, the just thing is something belonging to proportion, for the proportional is proper not only to abstract number but to all enumerations. Proportionality is an equality of ratios.
b. The second comment. — 940
Proportionality consists of four parts at least. It is clear that discrete proportionality has four terms, but so does continuous proportionality, for we use one term in two different aspects and state it twice, for example, A is in proportion to B as B is to G. So B has been stated twice. Wherefore if B is used twice there will be four proportioned terms.
2. HOW THE JUST THING CONSISTS IN A CERTAIN PROPORTIONALITY. — 941-943
Like proportionality, what is just is also found in four terms at least, for both the things and persons are divided according to a similar proportion. Therefore, as the term A will be to B, so G will be to D. Hence, alternating, as A is to G, B will be to D. Therefore, the whole will be related to the whole, and this is what distribution conjoins.
If adjustment be made in this way, it will be justly done. Therefore, the union of term A with G, and of B with D will be the just thing and the mean guiding distribution. But the unjust thing is outside of what belongs to proportion, for the proportional is a mean and the just thing belongs to proportion.
3. THE NATURE OF PROPORTIONALITY.
a. The above-mentioned proportionality... is called geometrical. — 945
Mathematicians call this proportionality geometrical, for in geometry it happens that the whole is compared to the whole as part to part.
b. This proportionality ... cannot be continuous. — 449
But this proportionality is not continuous because there is no numerically common term for t he person and the thing.
B. He shows how the unjust thing is outside that proportionality. — 946
This just thing then is a proportional. But the unjust thing is outside the proportional either by excess or defect. This occurs in distributions where a man acts unjustly when he accepts too much and a man suffers unjustly when he has too little of good. The reverse is true in regard to evil. By comparison with a greater evil a lesser evil has the aspect of good, for a lesser evil is preferable to a greater one. Good is preferable, and a greater good is more to be preferred. This then is one kind of the just thing.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
938. After the Philosopher has shown that the mean of distributive justice is taken according to proportionality, he now shows according to what proportionality and in what way it is understood. He considers this point in a twofold manner. First [A] he explains in what way the just thing should be taken according to a certain proportionality. Second [B], at “This just thing etc.,” he shows how the unjust thing is outside that proportionality. He discusses the initial point under three aspects. First [A, 1] he presents in advance some general comments about proportionality. Then [A, 2], at “Like proportionality etc.,” he explains how the just thing consists in a certain proportionality. Last [A, 3], at “Mathematicians call etc.,” he shows the nature of proportionality by which a thing is judged just in distributive justice. On the first point he premises two comments. The first [1, a] is that the just thing is fittingly said to be according to proportionality, because proportionality is found not only in the enumeration of units (which is number simply taken and here called abstract number), but the quality of being proportionate is met with wherever number is found.
939. This is so because proportionality is simply geometrical equality, i.e. this to this and that to that contains the proportion of equality. Proportion is only a relation of one quantity to another. But quantity has the nature of a measure. It is found in numerical unity and is transferred from there to every kind of quantity, as the tenth book of the Metaphysics indicates (Ch. 1, 1052 b 20 sq.; St. Th. Lect. 2, 1938). Therefore, number primarily is found in the enumeration of units, and thence is attributed to every genus of quantity which is measured according to the idea of number.
940. He makes the second comment at “Proportionality consists” [1, b], saying that every proportionality consists of four parts at least. It has a twofold division, one of which is a disjunctive proportionality and the other a continuous proportionality. The disjunctive proportionality is an equality of two proportions not alike in any term. Therefore, when any proportion exists between the two, it is evident that the disjunctive proportionality consists of four terms, as when I say: as six is to three as ten is to five. There is a double proportion on both sides. The continuous proportionality is an equality of two proportions alike in one term, for instance, if I say: as eight is to four so four is to two. There is a double proportion on both sides. Therefore in this continuous proportionality there are in some measure four terms inasmuch as we use one term in two different aspects, declaring it twice, i.e., in either proportion as when I say: the proportion of A to B (or eight to four) is the same as the proportion B to C (or four to two). There is a double proportion from both sides. In this way B is used twice. Hence, although B is one in subject, nevertheless, because it is taken in two different aspects there will be four proportioned termes.
941. Then [A, 2], at “Like proportionality” he shows how the mean of distributive justice is taken according to proportionality. He says that, like proportionality, the just thing is found in four terms in which the same proportion is observed, because the things that are distributed and the persons to whom distribution is made are divided according to the same proportion. Therefore, let A be one term, for example, two pounds, and B one pound. But let G be one person, for example, Socrates who has worked two days, and D, Plato, who has worked one day. Therefore, as A is to B so G is to D, because a double proportion is found on the one side and the other. Hence by alternation, as A is to G, so B is to D. Whatever things are proportionable one to another are proportionable by alternation, as is evident in the preceding example (940), for instance, as ten is to five so eight is to four. Therefore, by alternation, as ten is to eight, so five is to four, for there is a ratio of five to four on one side and the other. In this way then, by alternation, it will be true to say that as A is to G, i.e., two pounds to the man who worked two days, so B is to D, i.e., one pound to the man who worked a day.
942. In such matters we must also consider that in the things proportionable in this way, the ratio of one to the other is the ratio of the whole to the whole. For example, if the ratio ten to eight is the same as five to four, it follows further that the ratio ten to eight and five to four will be the same ratio as ten and five taken together’ i.e., fifteen to eight and four taken together, i.e., twelve. The reason is that here we have also the ratio of five to four. How does this happen? Because fifteen contains twelve and its fourth part, i.e., three.
943. In the proposition it follows that, if as this thing is to this person, so that thing is to that person, then also the whole will be to the whole in the same way, i.e., both things taken together will be to both persons taken together. This is as distribution connects them. If in distribution man unites the things to the persons in this way, he acts justly. It is plain then that the union of A with G, i.e., of a thing doubled with a person doubly more deserving, and of B with D, i.e., of a half thing with a person deserving only half is the just thing in distribution and such a just thing is a mean. But the unjust thing is outside this proportionality. The proportional is a mean between excess and defect because the proportionality is an equality of proportion, as has been remarked (939). So the just thing is a mean since it is a certain proportional.
944. At “Mathematicians call” [A, 3] he explains the nature of proportionality according to which this just thing is understood. On this point he does two things. First 13, a] he says that the above-mentioned proportionality, which is considered according to the equality of proportion, is called geometrical by mathematicians. In this it happens that as the whole is to the whole so one part is to another, as we have pointed out in previous discussions (939-940). But this does not take place in arithmetical proportionality, which we will treat later (950).
945. Next [3, b], at “But this” he says that this proportionality, which is observed in distributive justice, cannot be continuous because on one side are the things and on the other the persons. So it is not possible to take for a common term a person to whom distribution is made and the thing which is distributed.
946. Then [B], at “This just thing,” he considers what is unjust in distributions. He says that, since the just thing is proportionable, it follows that the unjust thing is outside the proportionable. This happens either by reason of more or less than the equality of proportion demands, as is evident in the very operations of just and unjust distribution. That man acts unjustly who accepts for himself too many goods, but he suffers unjustly who has too few. The reverse is true in regard to evils. Since a lesser evil has the aspect of good by comparison with a greater evil, the lesser evil is more to be preferred than the greater evil. Everything is chosen under the aspect of good, and for this reason the thing which has the aspect of greater good is more to be preferred. So then this is one species of justice that has been discussed.
The Mean of Commutative justice
A. He shows that there is a species of justice in addition to distributive. — 947
There remains another kind of justice directive of what is done both in voluntary and involuntary transactions.
B. This differs from the other justice.
1. HE SETS FORTH HIS PROPOSITION. — 948
This differs in species from the preceding justice.
2. HE PRESENTS THE DIFFERENCE.
a. He reviews something relative to distributive justice. — 949
What is just in the distribution of common goods is always in conformity with proportionality previously discussed, for when distribution is made of common wealth, it will be made according to the proportion contributed by each one. on the other hand the unjust thing opposed to this just thing is outside the proportional.
b. What pertains to commutative justice.
i. A fact relative to commutative justice. — 950-951
However, in transactions the just thing is an equal—and the unjust thing an unequal—not according to geometrical but according to arithmetic proportion. Here it does not matter whether the good man steals from the wicked man or the wicked from the good, whether the good or wicked man commits adultery. But the law looks at only the nature of the damage done, and treats the parties as equals, if indeed one does an injustice and the other suffers an injustice, if this one injures and that one is injured. Therefore, the judge attempts to reduce to equality the unjust thing which has an inequality.
ii. He clarifies this by an example.
x. THE EXAMPLE. — 952
If one of two contestants receives a wound and the other inflicts a wound or even one commits murder and the other is murdered the division of action and passion brings about inequality. However, a judge tries to remove inequality by awarding damages.
y. HE RESOLVES A DOUBT. — 953
In the interest of plain talk, we speak of gain in these matters, even though the name is not appropriate to some cases, for example, to the person who strikes another or to the person injured. But when passion is measured, one thing is called loss and another gain.
iii. Some corollaries.
x. ON THE PART OF THE JUST THING ITSELF. — 954
Therefore, that which is just is an equal, a mean between more and less in such a way that gain is taken as more, and loss as less. Gain is understood in contrary ways, for it is more in relation to good and less in relation to evil, while the opposite is true of loss. Between gain and loss stands a mean, the equal which we call the just. This then is a directive, and will be the mean between gain and loss.
y. ON THE PART OF THE JUDGE. — 955
For this reason when men are in doubt they have recourse to a judge. But going to a judge is going to justice, for a judge ought to be living justice. Men approaching a judge are seeking an intermediate, and this is why judges are called intermediaries or mediators, as if they touch the mean when they attain what is just. Therefore, the just thing is a mean as also is the judge who brings about an equality.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
947. After the Philosopher has shown how the mean should be taken in distributive justice, he now explains in what way the mean should be understood in commutative justice. He discusses this point under three aspects. First [A] he shows there is a species of justice in addition to distributive. Then [B], at “This differs etc.,” he says this differs from the other justice. Third [Lect. 7], at “It is as though etc.” (B. 1132 a 25), he shows how a mean should be understood in this kind of justice. He says first that in addition to the preceding species of justice which exists in distributions, there remains one that is directive of transactions both voluntary and involuntary.
948. Then [B], at “This differs,” he shows the difference between this species and the preceding. He treats this point under two headings. First [ B, 1] he sets forth his proposition, saying that the just thing existing in transactions belongs to another species than distributive justice.
949. Second [B, 2], at “What is just,” he presents the difference. First [2, a] he reviews something relevant to distributive justice. Then [2, b], at “However, in transactions etc.,” he shows what pertains to commutative justice. He says first that the justice mentioned before always directs the distribution of common goods in conformity with proportionality, i.e., the geometrical which is observed in the equality of proportion. This is clear because if wealth belonging to the city or to certain men must be distributed to individuals, the distribution will be made in such a way that each may receive from the community in that ratio according to which he contributed to the community. We suppose in business ventures that the more a man invests in a company the greater is his return. As the just thing directing distributions consists in this proportionality, so the opposite unjust thing consists in disregarding proportionality of this kind.
95o. At “However, in transactions” [2, b], he shows what pertains to commutative justice. He gives a threefold consideration of this notion. First [b, i ] he explains a f act relative to commutative justice. Next [b, ii], at “If one of two contestants etc.,” he clarifies this by an example. Third [b, iii], at “Therefore, that which etc.,” he deduces some corollaries from the premises. He says first that the Just thing that exists in transactions agrees somewhat with the just thing directing distributions in this-that the just thing is equal, and the unjust thing, unequal. But they differ in the fact that the equal in commutative justice is not observed according to that proportionality, viz., geometrical, which was observed in distributive justice, but according to arithmetical proportionality which is observed according to equality of quantity, and not according to equality of proportion as in geometry. By arithmetical proportionality six is a mean between eight and four, because it is in excess of the one and exceeds the other by two. But there is not the same proportion on the one side and the other, for six is to four in a ratio of three to two while eight is to six in a ratio of four to three. On the contrary by geometrical proportionality the mean is exceeded and exceeds according to the same proportion but not according to the same quantity. In this way six is a mean between nine and four, since from both sides there is a three to two ratio. But there is not the same quantity, for nine exceeds six by three and six exceeds four by two.
951. Therefore, in commutative justice the equal is observed according to arithmetic proportion. This is clear from the fact that here the different relations of persons are not considered. It does not matter, insofar as commutative justice is concerned, whether a good man has stolen or robbed an evil man of his property or an evil man has done it to a good citizen. Likewise, it does not matter whether a good or evil man commits adultery. The law takes into account only the nature of the injury, so that the man who has done more damage, whatever his condition, must make more restitution. So it is evident that if one of two contestants does an injustice and the other suffers an injustice, one injures and the other is injured, the law treats them as equals, however much they may be unequal. Hence a judge, who is a dispenser of the law, attempts to reduce that injustice-by which one man injures another and which has a certain inequality-to an equality by establishing an equality in the very quantity of things and not according to the relation of different persons.
952. Next [b, ii], at “If one of two contestants,” he clarifies what he had said, by an example. First [ii, x] he presents the example; and then [ii, y], at “In the interest of plain talk etc.,” he resolves a doubt. First he sets forth the example of a personal injury about which too little is clear. He says that if one of two contestants receives a wound and the other inflicts it, or even if one commits murder and the other is murdered, this division of action and passion brings about inequality because the assailant and the murderer have more of what is esteemed good, inasmuch as they have done their own will and so seem as it were to have gained. But the man who is wounded or murdered has more of evil insofar as he is deprived against his will of well-being or life, and so he seems as it were to have suffered loss. The judge tries to equalize this by subtracting from the gain and allotting compensation for the loss, inasmuch as he takes away something from the assailant and the murderer contrary to their will and bestows it to the gain or honor of the person wounded or murdered.
953. Then [ii, y], at “In the interest of plain talk,” he resolves a certain doubt that could arise from the words “gain and loss.” He says that, in the interest of plain talk, the terms “gain and loss” are used in matters where a person has more or less. Strictly these words refer to what we possess, and sometimes they do not seem suitable, for example, in the case of personal injuries (as when one person receives a blow and another inflicts it, some injury results) because a fixed measure of action and passion cannot be taken in injuries of this kind so that what is more can be called gain and what is less, loss. But when passion is measured, i.e., according to the measure of justice, then what is more is called gain and what is less, loss.
954. At “Therefore, that which is just” [b, iii], he deduces two conclusions: the first [iii, x] on the part of the just thing itself; and the second [iii, y], at “For this reason etc.,” on the part of the judge. He says first that the just thing in transactions is a kind of equal that is a mean between more and less in such a way that gain is taken as more and loss as less. However, they are understood in different ways in good and evil, for to have more of good and less of evil belongs to the nature of gain. But the contrary pertains tp the idea of loss. Between these two, gain and loss, stands a mean, that equal which we cail the just thing. Consequently that just thing, which gives directions in transactions, is a mean between gain and loss as both these terms are commonly understood.
955. Next [iii, y], at “For this reason,” he draws a conclusion on the part of the judge of whom it was said (952) that he tries to bring about an equality. Aristotle affirms that because the just thing is a mean between gain and loss, it follows that when men are in doubt about the mean they have recourse to a judge. A judge ought to be, as it were, living justice, so that his soul is entirely possessed by justice. But the people who go to a judge seem to be seeking a mediator between parties who quarrel. Consequently, judges are called intermediaries or mediators as if they may attain the intermediate or the mean, and lead the way to what is just. So then it is evident that what is just, the subject of our discussion, is a certain mean because the judge, who determines this just thing, is the middle inasmuch as he proposes what is equal between the parties. But the equal is the mean or middle between more and less, as we have pointed out (310, 933).
Finding the Mean of Commutative Justice
C. He shows how the mean of that justice which regulates transactions is understood.
1. HE DISCLOSES HIS PROPOSITION.
a. How we may discover the mean of commutative justice.
i. An example to show how the mean is applied.
x. THE EXAMPLE. — 956-957
It is as though the judge were dealing with a line divided into unequal sections, and took from the greater section the length exceeding the half and added it to the smaller section. When a whole belonging to two men is divided by the dicha or measure, then it is said that each has what is his inasmuch as each receives an equal portion—the equal portion being a mean between something greater and something less according to arithmetic proportionality.
y. THE APPROPRIATENESS OF THE EXAMPLE. — 958
Therefore, this mean is called dicheon (dikaion)—since it is a dicha (measure)—in the way they say dicheon (just thing) and dichastes (just man) and dichaste (justice). [W. D. Ross translates it: “It is for this reason also that it is called dikaion, because it is a division into two equal parts (dicha), just as if one were to call it dichaion; and the judge (dicastes) is one who bisects (dichastes).” –p. 1009]
ii. He clarifies what he has said.
x. HE EXPLAINS HIS STATEMENT. — 959-960
If there are two equals and the half of one is taken from it and added to the other, the other will exceed it b by two. But if what was taken away was not added to the other, the other would exceed the half by one. Therefore, the half taken is equal to one, and the half from which subtraction was made is equal to one. From this we know both what must be taken from the person with too much, and what must be added to the one with too little. The amount exceeding the mean must be awarded to the man with too little and taken from the one with too much.
y. HE EXPRESSES IT BY TERMINALS. — 961
Let us take three equal lines and mark them by the terms AA, BB and GG. Subtract AE (the half of A) from AA, and add it to GG and call it GD. Therefore the whole line DGG exceeds the line AE by that which is GD and by that which is GB (the half of G), but it exceeds line BB by that which is GD.
b. He shows how we may discover (the mean) in the matter of the different arts. — 962
This is true also in other arts, for they would be destroyed if the craftsman doing the quality and quantity of work which he should is not supported accordingly.
2. HE EXPLAINS THE ORIGIN OF THE NAMES, GAIN AND LOSS. — 963-964
The names, gain and loss, have their origin in voluntary transactions. When a man owns more than he did own he is said to have profit, but when less he is said to have loss, as in buying, selling, and other exchanges permitted by law. However, when men have neither more nor less but the same after their transactions they are said to have what is theirs, neither gaining profit nor suffering loss. Therefore, justice is a mean between some kind of gain and loss arising in involuntary transactions; it is having an equal amount of these both before and after the transaction.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
956. After the philosopher has shown the difference between the mean of justice regulating transactions and the mean of justice regulating distributions, now [C] he shows how the mean of that justice which regulates transactions is understood. He handles this point in a twofold fashion. First [ C, 1] he discloses his proposition. Then [C, 2], at “The names etc.,” he explains the origin of the names, gain and loss, which he has used. He discusses the initial point from two aspects. First [1, a] he shows how we may discover the mean of commutative justice in these things; next [1, b], at “This is true etc.,” how we may discover it in the matter of the different arts. He treats the first point in two ways. First [a, ij he introduces an example to show how the mean is applied in commutative justice. Then [a, ii], at “If there are etc.,” he clarifies what he has said. In regard to the initial point he first [i, x] gives the example to explain his proposition. Then [i, y], at “Therefore, this mean etc.,” he shows the appropriateness of the example from the very manner of speaking.
957. Aristotle says that this is the way a judge expresses a reduction to equality. If he wishes to reduce to equality a line divided into unequal parts, he takes away from the larger part that portion by which it exceeds the half of the whole line and adds it to the smaller part so that the half of the whole line is a certain dicha, i.e., rule or measure for reducing unequal portions to an equality. So when a whole thing belonging to two men is divided by such a dicha or measure, then it is said that each one has what is his inasmuch as he receives equality—which is the mean between more and less—according to arithmetic proportionality. The reason is that the mean of justice is exceeded by the one with more to the extent that it exceeds the person with less-this pertains to arithmetic proportionality, as we pointed out before (944,950).
958. Then [i, y], at “Therefore, this mean,” he shows that the preceding example is suitable according to Greek usage. He says that since the mean of this justice is a certain dicha, hence it is that the just thing is called dicheon by the Greeks, as if a person wanting to vary the names should say that dicheon is the just thing, dichastes the just man, and dichaste justice.
959. Next [a, ii], at “If there aretwo equals,” he makes clear what he has said, viz., that it is necessary to take from one with more in the amount exceeding the mean and to give to one with less. First [ii, x] he explains his statement; and then [ii, y], at “Let us take etc.,” he expresses it by terminals. He says first, let us take two equal lines both of which are two measures long, for example, two palms breadth or two feet; let us subtract half from one line and add it to the other. Obviously, the line receiving the addition exceeds the other by two units because the line from which the subtraction was made has only one unit remaining, and the line to which the addition has been made has three units. But if the section subtracted from one line is not added to the other, there will be an excess of only one unit. By that line, to which nothing is added or from which nothing is subtracted, we understand the mean of justice, having as it does neither more nor less than what belongs to it. By the line to which addition has been made we understand the person who has too much. By the line from which subtraction has been made we understand the person who has too little.
960. In this way then it is evident that the man who has too much exceeds the mean by one unit, which has been added to it over and above, but the mean exceeds by one-which has been taken from it-that from which subtraction has been made. Therefore, we will know by this mean what we ought to take from him who has more and give to him who has less. Besides, we will know that we ought to take from the greater, i.e., from him who has more, the amount by which he exceeds the mean because we ought to give him who has less in the amount the mean exceeds him.
961. At “Let us take” [ii, y] he sets forth in figure what was said. Let us take three equal lines and mark the terminations of one AA, of another BB, of the third GG. Then let BB remain undivided, but divide AA in half at the point E, and divide GG in half at the point 3. Next, take away from line AA a section AE, add it to the line GG and call the addition GD. It is clear then that ihe whole line DG exceeds the line A E by two units, viz., by that which is GG and by that which is GD, but it exceeds the line BB by one unit only, viz., GD. Therefore, obviously, that which is longest exceeds the mean by one unit and the shortest by two units after the manner of arithmetic proportionality.
962. Then [1, b], at “This is true,” he shows that what has been said must be observed in transactions having to do with the different arts. The arts would be destroyed if the craftsman, who works at some handicraft, would not be supported, i.e., would not receive for his workmanship according to the quantity and quality of what he produced. For that reason the work of one craftsman must be commensurate with the work of another to the extent that there is a just transaction.
963. Next [C, 2], at “The names,” he explains the origin of the names, gain and loss, saying that they come from voluntary transactions in which names of this kind were first used. When a man owned more than he previously had owned, he was said to have gained; but when less, he was said to have suffered loss, as in buying, selling and in all other transactions which are permitted by law. However, when men have neither more nor less than they had in the beginning, but bring back in equal quantity the same as they had taken by their transactions, then they are said to have what belongs to them, neither gaining nor losing.
964. He draws the final inference that he had principally intended. It is evident from the premises that the justice we are now discussing is a mean between gain and loss, that justice is simply the possession of an equal amount before and after a transaction even an involuntary one, as we see in the person who, when constrained by a judge, restores to another what he had in excess.
The Opinion of Pythagoras
I. HE STATES THE ERRONEOUS OPINION. — 965
Some philosophers seem to think that, generally speaking, justice is reciprocation, as the Pythagoreans held; in this way they defined justice with out qualification.
II. HE REJECTS IT.
A. In regard to distributive justice. — 966
However, reciprocation does not belong to distributive justice.
B. In the case of commutative justice.
1. HE PROPOSES WHAT HE INTENDS TO DO WITH COMMUTATIVE JUSTICE. — 967
Likewise, it is not suited to the justice that regulates all transactions, although Rhadamantus wished to say that it was, holding that if a man suffers what he himself did to another, justice is attained.
2. HE REJECTS THIS VIEW FOR TWO REASONS.
a. First. — 968-969
Such justice is at variance with true justice in many situations, for example, if a prince strikes another it is not required that the prince be struck, but if another strikes a prince such a man should not only be struck but also punished in addition.
b. Second. — 970
Moreover, it makes a great deal of difference whether the offender acts voluntarily or involuntarily.
III. HE SHOWS WHERE AND HOW THE TRUTH MAY BE FOUND.
A. There must be reciprocation in exchanges according to proportionality.
1. HE STATES HIS INTENTION. — 971-972
But in dealings of exchange justice is such that it includes reciprocation according to proportionality but not according to equality.
2. HE PROVES HIS STATEMENT. — 973-974
By reason of proportional reciproca tion the state continues to exist, for either the citizens seek to return evil (for evil)—if not, a kind of servitude seems to be present when revenge may not be taken—or they seek to return good (for good) and if not, proper recompense will not b made. It is by return of favors that men live together. Because of this the promptly express gratitude as if it were a sacred duty to make repayment—a thing characteristic of gratitude. It is fitting that a man should be of service to one who has done him a favor and in return begin to do a greater favor.
B. He explains the form of this proportionality.
1. HE GIVES AN EXAMPLE. — 975-976
A conjunction by means of a diagonal shows how to make that compensation which is according to proportionality. Let A be a builder, B a shoemaker, G a house, and D a sandal. It is necessary that a builder should take from the shoemaker his product and in return give what he himself makes. If first an equality according to proportionality be found and then reciprocation be made, it will be as we have said. But if not, there will not be an equality-and the state will not continue to exist-because nothing hinders the work of one craftsman from being of more value than the work of another. Therefore these things must be equated.
2. THE SAME IS FOUND IN OTHER ARTS. — 977
This is to be observed also in the other arts, for they would be destroyed if a workman did not receive according to the quantity and quality of what he produced. Between two doctors an exchange does not take place but between a doctor and a farmer who are altogether different and unequal. These then must be equated.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
965. After the Philosopher has shown how the mean should be understood in both kinds of justice, now he rejects a false opinion about the understanding of the mean of justice. He discusses this point under three headings. First [I] he states the erroneous opinion. Next [II], at “However, reciprocation etc.,” he rejects it. Third [III], at “But in dealings etc.,” he shows where and how the truth may be found. He says first it seems to some that, generally speaking, justice is nothing other than reciprocation, viz., that a man should suffer according to what he has done. This was the opinion of the Pythagoreans who decided that justice is the same as reciprocation.
966. Then [II], at “However, reciprocation,” he rejects this opinion on two accounts; and first [II, A] in regard to distributive justice, he says that reciprocation does not correspond to what is just distributively. The reason for this is evident. The just thing in distributions is not judged according to what one of two, who must be equated by justice, does against the other or suffers from the other. This is necessary for the nature of reciprocation; but in distribution a share of the common goods is given to each by an equality of proportion.
967. Next [II, B], at “Likewise, it is not,” he rejects the preceding error in the case of commutative justice. First [II, B, I] he proposes what he intends to do with commutative justice. He says that reciprocation does not coincide with all the processes in justice that regulate transactions, although the philosophers who expressed the foregoing opinion meant that in transactions justice is the same as reciprocation. This is clear from the fact that a legislator named Rhadamantus maintained that this justice is of such a nature that if a man suffers those very things he inflicted on others, justice is vindicated.
968. Then [II, B, 2], at “Such justice,” he rejects this view for two reasons. In regard to the first [2, a] he says that in many situations vengeance of this kind is found to be at variance with true justice, for instance, if a ruler strikes a private person justice does not require that the ruler be struck. But if a person strikes a ruler it is necessary that such a person not only be struck but be more gravely punished.
969. This seems to contradict what the Philosopher said before (951) that in commutative justice the different rank of persons is not taken into account—all being equal under the law. But it should be noted what the Philosopher had said was this: in commutative justice the law considers only the nature of the damage. It is clear that when damage is considered in the taking of an external thing—money for instance—the amount of damage does not vary according to a person’s rank. Still when the injury is personal, the extent of the injury necessarily changes according to the rank of the person. Obviously, worse damage is done when someone strikes a ruler, by reason of the fact that injury is done not only to the person of the ruler but also the whole commonweal. Therefore, reciprocation simply taken is not suitable for justice in matters of this kind.
970. At “Moreover, it makes” [2, b] he gives the second reason. He says in the matter of imposing punishment, it makes a great deal of difference whether the offender inflicted the injury voluntarily or involuntarily, i.e., because of ignorance or violence or fear. The man who sinned voluntarily ought to be punished more severely than the man who sinned involuntarily, for two reasons. First, because in regard to punishments, consideration is given to the restoration of equality of justice not only by a person restoring what he has taken but also by his being punished for the crime. For this reason some are punished by law even for sins causing no injury or damage to another. Likewise a thief is compelled not only to restore what he took—by which the equality of justice is reestablished—but beyond that he is punished for the offense perpetrated. But the offense is increased or diminished by the fact that a man sins voluntarily or involuntarily. Hence the voluntary offender is punished more severely than the involuntary offender. The second reason is that the injury of the deliberate transgressor is greater, for internal contempt is added to the external damage.
971. Next [III], at “But in dealings,” he explains in what matter and manner the statement is true that reciprocation is justice. He discusses this point from three aspects. First [III, A] he shows that there must be reciprocation in exchanges according to proportionality. Then [III, B], at “A conjunction by means etc.,” he explains the form of this proportionality. Last [Lect. 9; C], at “Therefore all etc.” (B. 1133 a 18), he shows how such a form can be observed. On the initial point he does two’ things. First [III, A, 1] he states his intention. Next [III, A, 2], at “By reason of proportional etc.,” he proves his statement. He says that in dealings of exchange it is true that justice is of such a nature that it includes reciprocation not according to equality but according to proportionality.
972. It seems this is contrary to what was said before (950), that in commutative justice the mean is taken not according to geometrical proportionality, which consists in an equality of proportion, but according to arithmetic proportionality, which consists in a quantitative equality. We must say that, in regard to commutative justice there should always be an equality of thing to thing, not, however, of action and passion, which implies corresponding requital. But in this, proportionality must be employed in order to bring about an equality of things because the work of one craftsman is of more value than the work of another, e.g., the building of a house than the production of a penknife. Hence, if the builder exchanged his work for the work of the cutler, there would not be equality of thing, given and taken, i.e., of house and penknife.
973. Then [III, A, 2], at “By reason of proportional,” he proves his statement, saying that justice in exchanges includes reciprocation according to proportionality. This can be shown by the fact that the citizens live together amicably because they have proportionate kindliness towards one another. Accordingly, if one does something for another, the other is anxious to do something in proportion in return. Obviously, all citizens desire that reciprocation be done to them proportionately. By reason of this all men can live together because they do for one another what they themselves seek. Therefore, they never seek in regard to evil that corresponding requital be done to them proportionately. But if they do not seek this in regard to evil, for example, when one man does not take vengeance on another who injures him, a kind of servility seems to result. Indeed it is servile when a man cannot gain by his own activity something that he does not desire in an evil way.
974. We may even say that men not only do not desire that corresponding requital, when unjust, be done to the -m proportionately, but they do not desire that it be done when just. In this way if corresponding requital is not done them in a proportionate way, proper retribution will not be effected. But men live together because one makes a return to another for the favors he has received. So it is that virtuous men promptly express gratitude to their benefactors as if it were a sacred duty to make them a return in this way-repaying a favor is characteristic of gratitude. It is fitting that a man should be of service to one who has done him a favor, i.e., bestowed a gratuitous kindness, and that he be not content to give only as much as he received but that in return he begins to offer more than he got so that he himself may do a favor.
975. Next [III, B], at “A conjunction by means,” he makes known the form of proportionality according to which reciprocation ought to be made. First [III, B, 1] he gives an example in the shoemaker and the builder; then [III, B, 2], at “This is to be observed etc.,” he shows that the same is found in other arts. He says first that a conjunction by means of a diagonal shows how to make compensation or reciprocation according to proportionality. To understand this draw A B G D, make two diagonals intersecting one another, viz., AD and BD. Let A represent a builder, B a shoemaker, G a house that is the work of the builder, and D a sandal that is the work of a shoemaker. It is necessary at times that the builder should take from the shoemaker his product, a sandal. But the builder himself ought to give his product as a recompense to the shoemaker.
976. Therefore, if first an equality according to proportionality is found so that on one side a certain number of sandals be fixed as equal to one house (for a builder incurs more expense in building one house than a shoemaker in making one sandal), next, corresponding reciprocation is had so that the builder may receive many sandals equal to one house and the shoemaker one house, there will be recompense—as was said—made according to proportion by a diagonal conjunction.
The reason is that a proportionate number of sandals are given to the builder, and the house to the shoemaker. But if compensation is not made in this way, there will not be an equality of things exchanged—and so men will not be able to live together—since nothing hinders the work of one craftsman from being worth more than the work of another, a house than a sandal. For this reason these things must be equated one with the other according to the previously mentioned proportionality, so that a just exchange may take place.
977. Then [III, B, 2], at “This is to be observed,” he shows that the same thing is found in the other arts. He affirms that what was said (975, 976) about the builder and the shoemaker must be observed also in the other arts, so that reciprocation and exchange may take place according to diagonal proportionality. Indeed the arts would be destroyed if a workman did not receive according to the quantity and quality of what he produced—a thing that must be discovered in the way indicated. It is not common for men practicing one art, for example, two doctors, to communicate their work with one another, but very often men practicing different arts do, for instance, a doctor and a farmer, both entirely different and unequal. These must be equated in the preceding way.
(III) C. He shows in what way this form of proportionality can be observed.
1. HE EXPLAINS HIS INTENTION.
a. It is necessary to make everything commensurate.
i. The nature of that which measures all things. — 978-979
Therefore all things capable of exchange ought to be compared in some way. For this purpose money was invented and became a kind of medium measuring everything including excess and defect.
ii. How such a commensuration is established in exchanges. — 980
A certain number of sandals are equal in value to a house or to a quantity of food. Therefore, as many
sandals must be exchanged for a house or a quantity of food in proportion as the builder contributes more than the shoemaker (or the farmer). If this is not observed, there will be neither exchange nor sharing. But this reciprocation will not be possible unless things are equated.
iii. He indicates the nature of this commensuration. — 981-982
Therefore, it is reasonable to measure all things by one norm, as has been pointed out previously. This norm in reality is demand which connects all things. If men were not in need there would be no exchange, or if they did not have a similar demand, exchange would not be the same. Money originated by agreement on account of necessary exchange. Hence money (numisma) has the name because it is a norm not by nature but by law (nomos). We have the power to change money and to make it useless.
b. How a just reciprocation in exchanges may be effected.
i. He explains his proposition. — 983
When things have been equated there will be reciprocation, so that as the farmer is to the shoemaker, the amount of the shoemaker’s work is to the amount of the farmer’s work. When things are to be exchanged they ought to be represented in a figure b showing proportionality. If this is not done one extreme will have both excesses, but when all have what is theirs they will be equal and will do business with one another because this equality can be brought about for them.
ii. (He) puts it in a diagram. — 984
Let A represent the farmer, G the food, B the shoemaker and D his equated work. If there is no such reciprocation, there will not be any sharing of goods.
2. HE CLARIFIES THE PREVIOUS STATEMENTS.
a. How things are made commensurate.
i. Necessity is a measure according to reality. — 985
That human demand connects everything as by a kind of measure is evident because when men are so mutually situated that both or at least one is not in need, they do not exchange their goods. But they engage in exchange when one needs what the other has, e.g., wine, and they give grain for it. An equation then must be made between these goods.
ii. Currency is a measure according to the provision of law. — 986-987
For future exchanges money is as it were a guarantee that a man, who has no present need, will be helped when he is in want later on. The man who offers currency should receive what he needs. However, currency suffers like other things, for it is not always of the same value; although it tends to be more stable than other things.
b. How the things made commensurate may be exchanged.
i. In what manner there is exchange of goods... measured in currency. — 988
Everything then must be evaluated in money, for in this way exchange will always take place and consequently association among men. Money equates goods making them commensurate after the manner of a measure. Indeed association is not possible without exchange, nor exchange without equality which cannot exist unless there is commensuration.
ii. Under what aspect currency serves as a measure. — 989
It is impossible that things so greatly different be made commensurate according to reality, but they agree sufficiently by comparison with the needs of man, and so there must be one measure determined by man. And this is called money, which makes all things commensurate inasmuch as they are measured by money.
iii. He puts in terminals what was said. — 990-991
Let A represent a house and B five minae. Let G represent a bed worth one mina. The bed then will be one fifth the value of the house. Therefore it is obvious how many beds equal a house, viz., five. Likewise it is obvious that barter took place before money existed. But it makes no difference whether five beds or the value of five beds are given.
We have now discussed the nature of what is just and what is unjust.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
978. After the Philosopher has proposed the form of proportionality, with which reciprocation is identified in exchange, he now shows [III, C] in what way this form of proportionality can be observed. First [C, 1] he explains his intention. Then [C, 2], at “That human demand etc.,” he clarifies the previous statements. He discusses the initial point in a twofold manner. First [1, a] he shows that to preserve the form of proportionality perfectly it is necessary to make everything commensurate. Next [1, b), at “When things have been etc.,” lie explains how a just reciprocation in exchanges may be effected by a commensuration of this kind. He treats the first point under three aspects. Initially [1, a, i] he explains the nature of that which measures all things, Then [1, a, ii], at “A certain number etc.,” he shows how such a commensuration is established in exchanges. Last [ 1, a, iii ], at “Therefore, it is etc.,” he indicates the nature of this commensuration.
979. He says first, in order that the products of the different workmen be equated and thus become possible to exchange, it is necessary that all things capable of exchange should be comparable in some way with one another so that it can be known which of them has greater value and which less. It was for this purpose that money or currency was invented, to measure the price of such things. In this way currency becomes a medium inasmuch as it measures everything, both excess and defect, to the extent that one thing exceeds another, as was pointed out before (955, 959-960). It is a mean of justice—as if someone should call it a measure of excess and defect.
98o. Next [1, a, ii], at ‘W certain number,” he shows how exchange takes place according to the preceding commensuration. Although a house is worth more than a sandal, nevertheless, a number of sandals are equal in value to one house or the food required for one man during a long period. In order then to have just exchange, as many sandals must be exchanged for one house or for the food required for one man as the builder or the farmer exceeds the shoemaker in his labor and costs. If this is not observed, there will be no exchange of things and men will not share their goods with one another. But what has been said, that a number of sandals are exchanged for one house, is not possible unless the sandals are equated with the house in some way.
981. At “Therefore, it is” [i, a, iii] he indicates the nature of this commensuration made by means of money. He states that for this reason it is possible to equate things because all things can be measured by some one standard, as was pointed out (957). But this one standard which truly measures all things is demand. This includes all commutable things inasmuch as everything has a reference to human need. Articles are not valued according to the dignity of their nature, otherwise a mouse, an animal endowed with sense, should be of greater value than a pearl, a thing without life. But they are priced according as man stands in need of them for his own use.
982. An indication of this is that if man were not in need there would be no exchange, or if they did not have a similar need, i.e., of these things, exchange would not be the same because men would not exchange what they have for something they did not need. That demand really measures everything is evident from the fact that money originated by arrangement or a kind of agreement among men on account of the necessity of exchange, i.e., exchange of necessary goods. There is an agreement among men that what a person needs will be given him in exchange for currency. Hence currency is called money (numisma)—nomos means law—since currency is not a measure by nature but by law (nomos). It is in our power to change currencies and make them useless.
983. Then [i, b], at “When things have been,” he shows how just reciprocation takes place in exchanges according to the preceding commensuration. First [i, b, i] he explains his proposition; and then [i, b, ii], at “Let A represent etc.,” puts it in a diagram. He says first that the norm measuring all things by need according to nature and by currency according to human convention will then become reciprocation when everything will be equated in the way just mentioned. This is done in such a manner that as the farmer (whose work is raising food for men) excels the shoemaker (whose work is making sandals), in the same proportion the work of the shoemaker exceeds in number the work of the farmer, so that many sandals are exchanged for one bushel of wheat. Thus when exchange of things takes place, the articles to be exchanged ought to be arranged in a proportional figure with diagonals, as was stated previously (957). If this was not done, one extreme would have both excesses; if a farmer gave a bushel of wheat for a sandal, he would have a surplus of labor in his product and would have also an excess of loss because he would be giving more than he would receive. But when all have what is theirs, they are in this way equal and do business with one another because the equality previously mentioned is possible for them.
984. Next [1, b, ii], at “Let A represent,” he puts in a diagram what has been said about the proportional figure. Take then (as in the previous example) a square A, B, G, D, and two diagonals AD and BG intersecting one another. Let A represent the farmer and G the food, his product, e.g., a bushel of wheat. Let B represent the shoemaker and D his equated product, i.e., as many sandals as have the value of a bushel of wheat. There will then be a just reciprocation if A be joined with D and B with G. If there is not such a compensation men will not share their goods with one another.
985. At “That human demand” [C, 2] he explains more fully what has already been mentioned. First [2, a] he shows how things are made commensurate; and next [2, b], at “Everything then,” how the things made commensurate may be exchanged. He discusses the first point from two aspects. First [2, a, i] he shows that necessity is a measure according to reality; and then [2, a, ii], at “For future exchanges etc.,” how currency is a measure according to the provision of law. He says first the statement (981-982) that human need contains everything as a certain measure is explained in this way. When men are so situated among themselves that either both, or at least one, do not need a thing possessed by the other, they do not engage in mutual exchange. But exchange does take place when a man owning grain is in need of wine which his neighbor has, and thus gives the grain for the wine, so that a quantity of grain is allotted according to the value of the wine.
986. Then [2, a, ii], at “For future exchanges,” he shows clearly how currency serves as a measure. On this point we must consider that if men always needed immediately the goods they have among themselves, they would have no need of any exchange except of thing for thing, e.g., wine for grain. But sometimes one man (who has a surplus of wine at present) does not need the grain that another man has (who is in need of wine), but perhaps later he will need the grain or some other product. In this way then for the necessity of future exchange, money or currency is, as it were, a surety that if a man has no present need but may want in the future, the thing he needs will be available when he presents the currency.
987. The particular virtue of currency must be that when a man presents it he immediately receives what he needs. However, it is true that currency also suffers the same as other things, viz., that it does not always obtain for a man what he wants because it cannot always be equal or of the same value. Nevertheless it ought to be so established that it retains the same value more permanently than other things.
988. Next [2, b], at “Everything then,” he explains how, by the measure of currency, there is exchange of things which are made commensurate in currency. He discusses this point from three aspects. First [2, b, i] he shows in what manner there is exchange of goods that are measured in currency. Then [2, b, ii], at “It is impossible,” he discloses under what aspect currency serves as a measure. Last, [2, b, iii], at “Let A represent a house,” he puts in terminals what was said. He states first that, because currency as a measure ascertaining quantity retains its value longer, all goods must be evaluated in currency. In this way exchange of goods can take place and, consequently, association among men. Money equates commutable goods, as a certain measure making them commensurate. He clarifies what has been said by stating that association is not possible if there is no exchange. But exchange is impossible unless an equality is established in goods, which in turn cannot exist without commensuration.
989. Then [2, b, ii], at “It is impossible,” he shows in what way currency is used as a measure. He says that it is impossible that things so greatly different be made commensurate according to reality, i.e., according to the peculiar nature of the things themselves. But they can be sufficiently contained under one measure by comparison with the needs of men. Hence there must be some one criterion that measures all things of this kind and is not a measure by reason of nature but because so fixed by men. Therefore, this is called money owing to the fact that it makes all things commensurate insofar as they are measured by money.
990. At “Let A represent a house” 12, b, iii] he explains in terminals what has been said, stating: let A be a house worth five minae, B a bed worth one mina, and in this way the bed will be one fifth the value of the house. Hence it is obvious how many beds are equal in value to one house, viz., five. Likewise it is obvious that barter took place before there was currency, since five beds have been exchanged for one house. But it makes no difference whether five or the value of five beds are given.
991. He concludes saying that we have now discussed the nature of what is just and what is unjust.
Just Action as a Mean
1. HE STATES HIS INTENTION.
a. The operation of justice is a mean. — 992
From these discussions it is clear that a just action is a mean between doing what is unjust and suffering what is unjust. To be unjust is to have too much, to be injured is to have too little.
b. How justice itself is a mean. — 993
But justice is a mean, not in the same way as the preceding virtues but in the sense that it produces a mean. However, injustice pertains to extremes.
2. HE PROVES HIS STATEMENT.
a. The nature of justice.
i. What justice is. — 994-995
Justice is also a habit by which the just man is said to operate by choosing what is just and to distribute both to himself in relation to his neighbor and to one man in relation to another.
ii. What injustice is. — 996
He does not act in such a way that he bestows more desirable things on himself and less desirable things on his neighbor, and on the contrary less hurtful things on himself than on his neighbor, but he distributes equally according to proportion. Likewise, he observes a rule regarding one man in relation to another. On the other hand injustice is a habit operative of what is unjust. This takes place by excess and defect of useful or hurtful things contrary to what is proportional. Hence injustice is called excess and defect because it brings about excess and defect, the unjust man assigning himself an excess of what is simply useful and a deficiency of what is harmful. In a similar way he attributes both an excess and a deficiency to others. But this too is contrary to what is proportional in whatever way it takes place.
b. Some remarks to bring his subject to a conclusion. — 997-998
One injustice, which is to have too little, is to suffer what is unjust. Another injustice, which is to have too much, is to do what is unjust.
3. HE RECAPITULATES WHAT HA S BEEN SAID. — 999
We have then discussed justice and injustice, and the nature of both. Likewise we have treated in a general way what is just and unjust.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
992. After the Philosopher has shown how the just thing is a mean, now he shows how justice is a mean. On this point he does three things. First  he states his intention. Then , at “Justice is also etc.,” he proves his statement. Finally , at “We have then discussed etc.,” he recapitulates what has been said. Since habits are known by acts, he treats two aspects of the initial point. First [1, a] he proposes that the operation of justice is a mean; and second [1, b], at “But justice etc.,” how justice itself is a mean. He says first that, from previous considerations (978-991), it is evident that a just operation, that is, an operation of justice, is a mean between doing what is unjust and suffering what is unjust. The first is to have more than is due to oneself, i.e., to do an unjust action; but the other, viz., to suffer an unjust thing, is to have too little by reason of the fact that a person has been deprived of what is due him. The act of justice is to do what is equal, i.e., the mean between too much and too little. Obviously then it follows from the premises that a just action is a mean between doing what is unjust and suffering what is unjust.
993. Then [i, b], at “But justice,” he explains how justice is a mean, saying that justice is not a mean in the same way as the other moral virtues. Their mean lies between two vices; liberality is a mean between parsimony and extravagance. But justice is not a mean between two vices. However, it can be called a mean by reason of its effect inasmuch as it constitutes a mean, since its act is a just operation which is a mean between doing what is unjust and bearing the unjust. The first of these, active injustice pertains to a vice of injustice which is a habit of extremes inasmuch as it takes for itself too many goods and too few evils. But the other, i.e., the toleration of the injustice is not a vice, but a suffering.
994. Next , at “Justice is also,” he proves what was said, viz., that justice is not a middle course between two vices, as is the case with other moral virtues. He treats this point in a twofold manner. First [2, a] he takes up the nature of justice; then [2, b], at “One injustice etc.,” he adds some remarks to bring his subject to a conclusion. He discusses the first point from two aspects. Initially [a, i] he states what justice is; and next [a, ii] at “He does not act etc.,” what in justice is. He says first that justice is a habit by which the just man does the just thing—and this by deliberate choice because, as was previously pointed out in the second book (305, 308, 382), a moral virtue is a habit of correct choice. Doing the just thing can be referred to justice directing exchanges, in which the nature of justice is more apparent by reason of the equality of the thing. Hence he adds an “and to distribute” in order to include also distributive justice, which consists in the equality of proportion.
995. A man can do the just thing by choice, both in exchanges and in distributions, in two ways. In one way he does this between himself and another, and touching this point Aristotle says “both to himself in relation to his neighbor.” In the second way a man does this between two others—this pertains to a judge or an-arbiter—and so the Philosopher adds “and to one man in relation to another.” He explains, by exclusion of the contrary, how the just man does a just deed. He adds that the just man does not so act that in regard to desirable things (for example, riches and honors) he bestows more on himself and less on his neighbor, and in regard to harmful things (i.e., burdensome and painful), on the contrary, more on his neighbor than himself; but he makes an equal distribution according to proportion—a thing he observes not only between himself and another but also between two others.
996. At “He does not act” [a, ii] he presents the nature of injustice. He affirms that on the contrary injustice is a habit which does by choice what is unjust. This happens by excess or defect of useful or harmful things which the just man accepts according to due proportion. Hence, as justice is called a mean because it produces a mean, so also injustice is called excess and defect because it produces excess and defect in such a way that the unjust man bestows on himself an excess of things which are simply useful but a deficiency of things which are harmful. In a similar way he attributes to others both excess and defect, however not of the same things, but a defect of the useful and an excess of the harmful. Nevertheless, it has not been determined in what way injustice may depart from the proper proportion, i.e., how much more or how much less it may accept than is due. But injustice does this, howsoever it may happen.
997. Next [2, b], at “One injustice,” he adds some remarks required to conclude the subject. He says there is a twofold injustice: one consists in a lack of beneficial things, and indicates an excess of onerous things-which amounts to the same. This is to suffer what is unjust. The other injustice is to have an excess of beneficial things and a lack of onerous things-and this is to do an injustice.
998. From what has been said we can come to three conclusions. To do an unjust act pertains to injustice. However, to have a lack of benefits or an excess of burdens is not to do what is unjust but to suffer what is unjust. Therefore this does not pertain to the vice of injustice. But justice is a mean between having too much and too little, as was pointed out before (992, 993). Consequently, injustice is not a mean between two vices.
999. Then , at “We have then discussed,” he concludes by recapitulating what has been said. He affirms that we have discussed justice and injustice and the nature of both. Likewise we have treated what is just and what is unjust in a general way, for he will determine afterwards (1000-1008) certain particular modes of what is just and unjust.
The Unjust Man
I. HE DETERMINES THE TRUTH (SHOWING HOW A MAN... BECOMES UNJUST).
A. He asks a question.
A’. He presents the question. — 1000-1001
Since someone doing an unjust act may not be unjust himself, we will investigate the nature of the unjust actions that show the doer—for example, a thief or an adulterer or a robber—already unjust according to the injustice proper to each case. Or does not this make any difference? If a man having sexual intercourse with a woman knows with whom he sins and acts not by choice but by passion, he does an unjust act but is not unjust. So neither is a man a thief although he steals, nor an adulterer although he commits adultery. The same is true in other cases.
B’.He shows that another question was settled previously. — 1002
We have previously discussed how reciprocation is related to what is just.
B. He interposes some subjects necessary for a solution of the question.
A’ What is justice in the absolute sense.
1. HE STATES HIS INTENTION. — 1003
We must not forget that we seek what is just in the absolute sense and political justice.
2. HE CARRIES OUT HIS INTENTION.
a. What political justice is.
i. What he intends.
x. WHAT POLITICAL JUSTICE IS. — 1004-1005
The latter consists in a community of life for the purpose of having a self-sufficiency among free men equal according to proportionality or arithmetical equality.
y. THERE ARE OTHER KINDS OF JUSTICE. — 1006
Therefore, among those persons in whom this does not exist we find not political justice but a special kind of metaphorical justice.
ii. His intention.
x. IN REGARD TO POLITICAL JUSTICE.
aa. He clarifies his statement. — 1007-1008
For justice exists between those very persons whose relations are governed by law. But the law is enacted for those among whom injustice is found, because punishment is a judgment of what is just and what is unjust. Among these there is unjust action, but injustice does not exist in everyone who does an unjust action, which is to attribute to oneself too many of the things good in themselves and too few of the things onerous in themselves.
bb. He draws some corollaries.
a’. First. — 1009
For this reason we do not permit the rule of man but of reason, for a man rules for himself and becomes a tyrant. But a prince is the guardian b of justice and of equality.
b’. Second. — 1010
Since a prince, if he is just, attributes nothing excessive to himself, it follows that he does not give himself more of what is simply good, except according to proper proportion, and on this account he works for others. Therefore it is said that justice is the good of another, as was previously pointed out.
c’. Third. — 1011
Consequently a reward should be allotted to him, namely, honor and glory. Rulers who are not satisfied with these are tyrants.
y. IN REGARD TO THE JUSTICE OF A MASTER OR A FATHER.
aa. Of a master and of a father.
a’. What he intends. — 1012
However, the justice of a master and of a father are not the same as but similar to those we have examined.
b’. (This) justice is not unqualified. — 1013
Toward one’s own things injustice does not exist in an unqualified manner. But a chattel and a son, until he is a certain age and acts in his own right, are as it were a part of a man. Now no one chooses to injure himself. Therefore, there is no injustice done to oneself, and consequently no injustice simply speaking.
c’. (This) justice is not political justice. — 1014
Nor is political justice observed here which is according to the law and is found in men naturally bound by the law. Such are the persons who have equality in regard to ruling and being ruled.
bb. (Of) a husband in relation to a wife. — 1015
Hence justice concerns rather a wife than children and chattels. In the first there is domestic justice, and this is also different from political justice.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1000. After the Philosopher has treated justice and the unjust thing in themselves together with their opposites, now he treats them in comparison with their subject, showing how a man in doing an unjust action becomes unjust. He handles this point under two headings. First [I] he determines the truth. Then [Lect. 14, [II], at “Someone may raise etc.” (B. 1136 a 10), he raises some doubts about matters previously settled. He discusses the initial point from three aspects. First [A] he asks a question. Next [B], at “We must not forget etc.,” he interposes some subjects necessary for a solution of the question. Finally [Lect. 13, C], at “Since just and unjust etc.” (B. 1135 a 15), he answers the question. He treats the first point in a twofold manner. First [A, A’] he presents the question. Then [A, B’], at “We have previously etc.,” he shows that another question was settled previously. He says first that a person who does an unjust action still may not be unjust. Therefore, we must inquire into the characteristics of injustice, i.e., the actions of unjust men must be of such a type that the man who does unjust deeds is already unjust in that particular species of injustice, for example, theft or adultery or robbery. Or, passing over the cases just mentioned, can it be said that for a man to be unjust it makes no difference in what actions he may act unjustly?
1001. For this reason we ask with what kind of injustice it occurs, because the doing of an unjust action takes place in many ways. A man may have sexual intercourse with a woman, the wife of another, and not be ignorant who the person is (ignorance could cause an involuntary) but know with whom he is having intercourse, and still not perform the act by deliberate choice but by passion. Such a man does an unjust act although he does not seem to be unjust because he does not act by deliberate choice. So also we can say in a particular case that a man is not a thief although he has stolen, since he did not commit theft by deliberate choice. In a similar way a man is not an adulterer although he has committed adultery. The same idea is found in other matters.
1002. Then [A, B’], at “We have previously,” he shows that a particular doubt has already been solved, viz., in what way reciprocation is related to justice—a point we discussed previously (971-972).
1003. Next [B], at “We must not forget,” he interposes some subjects that are necessary for the solution of the proposed question: first [B, A’] what is justice in the absolute sense; and second [Lect. 12; B, B’] at “There is a difference etc.” (B.1135 a 9), what is unjust action. He handles the initial point in a twofold fashion. First [A’, 1] he states his intention. Then [A’, 2] at “The latter consists etc.,” he carries out his intention. He says first that for a clear understanding of the question (in which we seek by what actions a man who does a just or an unjust act is said to be just or unjust) we must not forget the fact that the justice sought is justice in the absolute sense which is political justice.
1004. Then [A’, 2], at “The latter consists’ “ he carries out his intention. First [2, a] he shows what political justice is. Then [Lect. XII; 2, b], at “One kind of political justice etc.” (B. 1134 b 18), he divides it. He treats the initial point under two aspects. First [a, i] he proposes what he intends, viz., what political justice is Next [a, ii], at “For justice exists etc.,’; he explains his intention. He discusses the first point under two headings. Initially [i, x] he shows what political justice is. Second [i, y], at “Therefore, among those persons etc.,” he concludes that there are other kinds of justice differing from this. He says first that political justice consists in a community of life that is ordered to a self-sufficiency of the things pertaining to human living. And the state-community should be such that everything sufficient for the needs of human life is found in it. This justice is found in free men, not slaves, because masters exercise towards slaves not political justice but the justice of dominion, of which more later (1006-1012). However, political justice is encountered with persons who are equal, i.e., one of whom is not subject to the other in the natural or political order, as a son to a father between whom there is no question of political justice but of paternal right.
1005. This political justice is either according to proportionality, i.e., proportional equality pertaining to distributive justice, or numerical equality, i.e., the equality of numerical quantity pertaining to commutative justice.
1006. Next [i, y], at “Therefore, among those persons,” he concludes there are other kinds of justice differing from that just mentioned. He states that-since political justice exists among the free and equal—in people who do not have this (that they are free and equal) there is not found political justice, which is unqualified justice, but a peculiar justice, viz., of a master or father, which is a qualified justice inasmuch as it has some likeness to political justice.
1007. At “For justice exists” [a, ii], he clarifies his statement: first [ii, x] in regard to political justice, which is unqualified justice; second [ii, y] in regard to justice of a master or a father, which is qualified justice, at “However, the justice of a master etc.” First [x, aa] he clarifies his statement, viz., that political justice is in free and equal persons. Next [x, bb], at “For this reason we do not etc.,” he draws some corollaries from the premises. He says first-as has been pointed out (1004).that political justice is in the free and equal because, being determined by law, it necessarily is found in those for whom the law is enacted. But law is enacted principally not for slaves who are restrained by masters nor for children who are restrained by fathers but for the free and equal. That political justice exists in men of this kind, for whom law is enacted, is obvious from this that justice and injustice exist in them. Now, law extends to persons in whom there can be injustice. This is clear from the fact that punishment, which is fixed by law, is nothing other than a judgment about what is just and unjust.
1008. From this statement—the law exists for those between whom justice exists—it follows that it is for those between whom there is unjust action and for those between whom there is Just action. The reason is that in whomsoever there is injustice, in these the performance of an unjust act is found but not the reverse. It was pointed out in the second book (252-253) that the doing of a virtuous action may take place without virtue, and likewise the doing of vicious actions without the habit of vice. An unjust act arises from the fact that a person should attribute to himself too many of those things which are absolutely and of themselves good, like riches and too few of those things which are simply and of themselves evil, as the opposite of these.
1009. Next [x, bb], at “For this reason we do not permit,” he draws three corollaries from the premises. First [bb, a’] he says that because injustice consists in this that a man attributes to himself too many of the benefits and too few of the burdens, it follows that in good government of the multitude we do not permit that men should rule, that is, according to whim and human passion but that the law, which is a dictate of reason, should rule man, or that man who acts according to reason should rule. The explanation is that if a prince follows human passions he will do this for himself; he will take more of the good things and less of the burdensome and so become a tyrant, although this is contrary to the concept of a prince. A prince was given the office to observe justice, and consequently equality, which he passes over when he usurps for himself too many beneficial and too few onerous things.
1010. He gives the second corollary [bb, b’] at “Since a prince.” He affirms that since a prince—if he is just—attributes no more of the good things to himself than to others (unless perhaps according to a proper ratio of distributive justice), it follows that he does not labor for the advantage of himself but of others. Because of this it was said before (909) that legal justice, by which the prince rules the multitude of the people, is the good of another.
1011. He presents the third corollary at “Consequently a reward” [bb, c]. It is clear that everyone should reward the man who labors for him. Therefore, since the prince labors for the multitude, a reward should be given by the multitude, namely, honor and glory, which are the greatest goods that can be offered by men. But if there are some princes who are not satisfied with these for a reward but seek wealth, they are unjust and tyrannical. Over and above this reward proffered by man, good princes look for a reward from God.
1012. Then [ii, y], at “However, the justice of a master,” he explains what was indicated previously about the fact that this is not justice in the absolute sense but by similitude. First [y, aa] (he explains) in regard to the justice of a master and of a father; and second [y, bb], at “Hence justice concerns etc.,” in regard to justice which belongs to a husband in relation to a wife. On the prior point he does three things. First [aa, a’] he proposes what he intends, saying that the justice of a master, i.e., of a lord over a slave, and paternal justice, i.e., of a father over a son, are not the same as political justice but have some likeness to it according as it has a relation to another in a way.
1013. Second [aa, b’], at “Toward one’s own things,” he explains what was pointed out regarding this that the justice of a master or of a father is not justice without qualification. It is evident that injustice cannot exist in an unqualified way for a man in regard to the things belonging to him, and neither can justice, because both have a relation to another. But the slave belongs to the master as a chattel, and a son is—so to speak—a part of the father until he is a certain age or mature and separated from the father by emancipation. That there is no injustice toward oneself is clear from the fact that no one chooses to injure himself. Hence it is obvious that absolutely speaking there is no justice or injustice towards a son or a slave.
1014. Third [aa, c’], at “Nor is political justice,” he explains that even if the justice of a master and of a father would be justice without qualification, it would not be political justice because political justice is according to the law and in those for whom the law is designed by its nature. Such are those persons who have equality in regard to ruling and being ruled; but of these one is subject to another, e.g., a slave to a master and a son to a father. Hence political justice does not exist in these matters.
1015. Then [y, bb], at “Hence justice concerns,” he treats justice pertaining to a wife. He says that because a wife is less subject to a husband than a slave to a master or a son to a father, therefore the relation of a husband to a wife has more of the nature of justice than the relation of a father to his children, and of a master to his chattels or slaves. The justice that belongs to a husband in regard to a wife is domestic because the husband is the head of the home, as the prince of the state. However, domestic justice is different from political, as the home is different from the state.
A Division of Political Justice
b. He makes a division of it.
i. He divides political justice into species.
x. HE PROPOSES THE DIVISION. — 1016-1017
One kind of political justice is natural and the other is legal.
y. HE EXPLAINS IT.
aa. First he explains natural justice. — 1018-1019
Natural justice is that which has the same force everywhere and is not affected by what men may or may not think.
bb. He explains legal justice. — 1020-1024
That is called legal justice which in the beginning is indifferent about a thing being done this way or that. But when something just is decreed a difference arises, for example, a mina for redeeming a captive, a goat but not two sheep for sacrifice; also when things are mentioned individually in the law, for instance, sacrifice to Brasidas; and again when sentences are passed by judges.
z. HE REJECTS AN ERROR OPPOSED TO THE DIVISION.
aa. He proposes the error. — 1025
Some people were of the opinion that all justice is of this kind because what is by nature is unchangeable and has the same force everywhere (fire, for instance, burns both here and in Persia). But just things are looked upon as variable.
bb He refutes it. — 1026
However, that opinion is not true universally but in some respect, although there may be no change at all among the gods. But with us there is something natural and this is changeable because everything in us is changeable. Moreover, there is in us something natural and something not natural.
cc He asks a question occasioned by the refutation.
a’. First he asks the question. — 1027
Among the things subject to change, what kind is just by nature and what kind is just not by nature but by law and agreement, if both kinds are changeable in a similar way?
b’. Then he answers it.
a. THINGS JUST BY NATURE ARE CHANGEABLE. — 1028-1029
Obviously, the same determination applies to other natural things. Now by nature the right hand is stronger, although some people are ambidextrous.
b. THINGS JUST BY LAW ARE CHANGEABLE. — 1030
Those things that are just according to agreement and utility are similar to the measures of commodities. But the measures of wine and grain are not equal everywhere, for where these articles are bought (wholesale) the measures are greater, where sold (retail), smaller. Likewise, things just not by nature but by agreement among men are not the same everywhere, as neither is the form of government. But one form only is best everywhere by nature.
ii. The division of this justice into individual parts. — 1031
Particular just and legal things hold the place of universals in regard to singulars, for there are many actions performed but each of the just things is one and a universal.
B’. What just action and unjust action are.
1. WHAT UNJUST ACTION IS. — 1032
There is a difference between an unjust action and an unjust thing, between a just action and a just thing. The unjust thing is something unjust by nature or ordinance of man, but when it is performed it becomes an unjust action. Before a thing has been done it is not an unjust action but something unjust.
2. WHAT JUST ACTION IS. — 1033-1034
it is the same with just action. In general it is more often called the doing of a just thing (diceopragma) but it means the correction of unjust action. In regard to each of these we must see afterwards of what nature they are, what are their species and how many they are.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
ioi6. After the Philosopher has shown the nature of political justice, i.e., unqualified justice, now [b] he makes a division of it. First [i] he divides political justice into species. Then [ii], at “Particular just and legal things etc.,” he touches upon the division of this justice into individual parts. He discusses the first point from three aspects. First [x] he proposes the division. Next [y], at “Natural justice etc.,” he explains it. Last [z], at “Some people were etc.,” he rejects an error opposed to the division. He says first that there is a twofold division of political justice: natural justice, and legal justice. This is the same as the division that the jurists make, namely, that one kind of right is natural and the other positive. They call right the very thing that Aristotle calls the just object. Isadore too says in Libri Etymologiarum (Bk. V, Ch. 3) that right is as it were what is just. But there seems to be inconsistency in that political is the same as civil. In this way what the Philosopher considers the whole division seems to be considered by the jurists as a part of the division, for they make civil law a part of positive law.
1017. But we must take into account that political or civil is taken here in one way by the Philosopher and in another way by the jurists. The Philosopher here calls justice political or civil from the usage the citizens are accustomed to, but the jurists call right political or civil from the cause, viz., that some city has decreed for itself. For this reason the Philosopher appropriately designates legal or posited by law that which they call positive. Political justice then is properly divided by means of these two, for the citizens use justice to the extent that it is imparted to the human mind by nature and to the extent that it is posited by law.
1018. Then [y], at “Natural justice,” he indicates the parts of the preceding, division. First [y, aa] he explains natural justice in two ways: in one way according to its effect or power, saying that that justice is natural which everywhere has the same force and power to induce to good and prevent evil. This happens because nature, the cause of this justice, is the same everywhere among all men. But justice by the decree of a state or prince has force only among those who are subject to the jurisdiction of that state or prince. In the other way he explains this justice according to its cause, when he says that natural justice does not consist in what seems or does not seem to be, i.e., it does not arise from human conjecture but from nature. In speculative matters there are some things naturally known, like indemonstrable principles, and truths closely connected with them; there are other things discovered by human ingenuity, and conclusions flowing from these. Likewise in practical matters there are some principles naturally known as it were, indemonstrable principles and truths related to them, as evil must be avoided, no one is to be unjustly injured, theft must not be committed and so on; others are devised by human diligence which are here called just legal enactments.
1019. We must consider that that justice is natural to which nature inclines men. But a twofold nature is observed in man. One, is that which is common to him and other animals. The other nature belongs to man properly inasmuch as he is man, as he distinguishes the disgraceful: from the honorable by reason. However, jurists call only that right natural which follows the inclination of nature common to man and other animals, as the union of male and female, the education of offspring, and so forth. But the right which follows the inclination proper to the nature of man, i.e., precisely as he is a rational animal, the jurists call the right of the peoples (jus gentium) because all people are accustomed to follow it, for example, that agreements are to be kept, legates are safe among enemies, and so on. Both of these, though, are included under natural justice as it is here taken by the Philosopher.
1020. Next [y, bb ],at “That is called legal justice,” he explains legal justice and seems to give three differences in justice of this kind. The first is this: when something is universally or commonly imposed by law it becomes legal. Regarding this he says that that justice is called legal which in the beginning, i.e., before it becomes law, is indifferent whether something is done in this way or that, but when it is laid down, i.e., enacted into law, then a difference arises because observing it is just, disregarding it is unjust. Thus in some state it has been decreed that a prisoner may be redeemed at a fixed price and that a goat should be offered in sacrifice but that two sheep are not to be sacrificed.
1020. The second difference in legal justice is that something is stated by law in a particular case, for instance, when a state or a prince grants some privilege—called a private law—to an individual person. Touching this point he says there are also legal enactments, not those that are decreed in a general way but whatever are prescribed by legislators as law in individual cases. It was enacted, for example, in a particular state that sacrifice should be offered to a woman named Brasidas who rendered great service to the state.
1022. The third difference in legal justice is that sentences passed by judges are called a kind of legal justice. In regard to this he adds that the decrees of judges are also legal enactments.
1023. But here we must take into consideration that legal or positive justice always has its origin in natural justice, as Cicero says in his Rhetoric [Rhetorica, De Inventione, lib. II, cap. 53]. Origin from natural right can occur in two ways: in one way as a conclusion from a principle, and in such a manner positive or legal right cannot originate from natural right. The reason is that once the premises are stated the conclusion necessarily follows. But since natural justice exists always and everywhere, as has been pointed out (1018), this is not applicable to legal or positive justice. On this account it is necessary that whatever follows from natural justice as a conclusion will be natural justice. Thus, from the fact that no one should be unjustly injured it follows that theft must not be committed—this belongs to natural justice. In the other way something can originate from natural justice after the manner of a determination, and thus all positive or legal justice arises from natural justice. For example, that a thief be punished is natural justice but that he be punished by such and such a penalty is legal justice.
1024. Also we must consider here that legal justice has its origin in two ways from natural justice in the preceding manner. In one way it exists with an admixture of some human error, and in the other without such error. Aristotle explains this by examples. It is natural justice that a citizen who is oppressed without any fault on his part should be aided, and consequently that a prisoner should be ransomed, but the fixing of the price pertains to legal justice which proceeds from natural justice without error. Likewise it is natural justice that honor be bestowed on a benefactor but that divine honor be given him—that he be offered sacrifice—arises from human error. But the just decrees of judges are applications of legal justice to particular cases.
1025. At “Some people were of the opinion” [z] he rejects an error opposed to this division. On this point he does three things. First [z, aa] he proposes the error together with the reason for it. Second [z, bb], at “However, that opinion etc.,” he refutes it. Last [z, cc], at “Among the things etc.,” he asks a question occasioned by the refutation. He says first that some were of the opinion that all justice is that which is established by law and there is then no natural justice. This was the opinion of the followers of the Socratic philosopher Aristippus. They were influenced by this reason: that which is according to nature is invariable, and wherever it is it has the same force, as is obvious fire burns in Greece as well as in Persia. Apparently this is not true of justice because all just things seem to be changed at times. Nothing seems to be more just than that a deposit should be returned to the owner. Nevertheless the return must not be made to a madman demanding his sword or to a traitor to his country demanding money for arms. So then it seems that there is nothing just by nature.
1026. Then [z, bb], at “However, that opinion,” he provides a refutation, saying that the statement that natural things are unchangeable is not so universally but is true in some respect. The reason is that the nature of divine things never changes, for example, the nature of separated substances and of the heavenly bodies, which the ancients called gods. But with us humans, who’ are counted among perishable things, there is something according to nature and yet whatever is in us is changeable either intrinsically or extrinsically. Moreover, there is in us something natural like having two feet, and something not natural like having a coat. Undoubtedly all the things that are just among us are variable, although some of them are naturally just.
1027. Next [z, cc], at “Among the things,” he raises a doubt occasioned by the preceding refutation. He handles the first point in a twofold manner. First [cc, a’] he asks the question. Then [cc, b’], at “Obviously, the same,” he answers it. First he proposes this question. If all just human things are changeable the question remains: of the things that change, what kind is just by nature and what kind is just not by nature but by the decision of the law and agreement among men, if both are changeable in a similar way?
1028. At “Obviously, the same” [cc, b’] he answers the question just asked. He considers this point in a twofold manner. First [b’, a] he shows how things just by nature are changeable. Then [b’, b), at “Those things that are,” he shows how things just by law are changeable. He says it is obvious that the arrangement found in other natural things, likewise applies to things just by nature. Those things that are natural with us occur in the same way in the greater number of cases but fail in a few. Thus it is natural that the right hand is stronger than the left, and this is so in the greater number of instances, although it happens occasionally that some men are ambidexterous since their left hand is as strong as their right. So also the things that are just by nature, for example, that a deposit ought to be returned must be observed in the majority of cases but is changed in the minority.
1029. However, we must keep in mind that the essences of changeable things are immutable; hence whatever is natural to us, so that it belongs to the very nature of man, is not changeable in any way, for instance that man is an animal. But things that follow a nature, like dispositions, actions, and movement, are variable in the fewer instances. Likewise those actions belonging to the very nature of justice cannot be changed in any way, for example, theft must not be committed because it is an injustice. But those actions that follow (from the nature of justice) are changeable in a few cases.
1030. Then [b’, b], at ‘Those things that are,” he shows how the legally just are changeable without exception. He says that regulations that are just according to arrangement and advantage, i.e., by what is agreed among men for some utility, are similar to measures of salable commodities, wine and wheat. These are greater where products are bought wholesale but smaller where products are sold retail. So also things that are not naturally just but fixed by men are not the same everywhere, thus the same punishment is not inflicted everywhere for theft. The reason is that civil life and the administration of the state are not the same everywhere. All laws are framed as they are needed for the end of the state, although only one form of government is everywhere best according to nature.
1031. Next [ii], at “Particular just and legal things,” he treats the division of justice in regard to the individual parts. He says that each particular just and legal thing is related to human affairs as a universal to singulars. The reason is that actions which are done according to justice are many but each just thing is one, as it were a kind of universal. Thus, that a deposit must be returned is one which has a reference to many cases.
1032. At “There is a difference” [B’] he shows what just action and unjust action are. First , what unjust action is. Then , at “It is the same etc.,” what just action is. He says first that unjust action and unjust thing differ, for an unjust thing is something that is contrary to justice either by nature or by human decree, as theft. But the doing of an action by someone, for instance, stealing is called unjust action, the execution of injustice so to speak. However, before this is done by anyone it is not called an unjust action but an unjust thing.
1033. Then , at “It is the same,” he shows what just action is. He says that in a similar way just action is present when a person does a thing which is just by nature or by regulation of law. But with the Greeks the doing of a just thing in general is rather called dicaeopragma or doing of what is just, but every doing of a just thing does not seem to be called justifying action but only when a person is corrected in the justifying action, i.e., by restoring what is unjust to justice.
1034. Finally, he says that we must discuss later, in the Politics (Bk. I, Ch. 6, 1255 a 3-1255 b 15; St. Th. Lect. 4, 75-88), the nature, the number, and the species of each type of justice, viz., natural and legal.
Actions Which Make a Man just or Unjust
C. By what just or unjust actions may a man become just or unjust?
A’ He explains his plan.
1. WHEN A JUST OR UNJUST THING MAY EXIST WITHOUT A JUST OR UNJUST ACTION.
a. He explains his intention. — 1035-1036
Since just and unjust acts are such as have been described, a man acts unjustly or justly when he acts voluntarily. But when he acts involuntarily he works neither injustice nor justice except incidentally, for it is incidental that the actions are just or unjust. An act of justice and a just action are indicated by reason of a voluntary and an involuntary. When a voluntary is done and a person is blamed, then there is at the same time an unjust action. Wherefore something unjust may be present but an unjust action never exists if there is no voluntary.
b. He clarifies what he said.
i. He indicates his intention. — 1037-1038
As has been pointed out previously, I call voluntary any of the actions within a man’s power, which he does knowingly and without ignorance of the what, how and why; for example, whom he struck, with what instrument, and with what intention-none of these being unintentional. Also the act must be done without violence, thus when one takes a person’s hand and strikes another, that person does not act voluntarily because it was not in his power to hinder this. It can happen that the one struck is the man’s father, the striker knowing the person is a human being or someone present but not recognizing his father. Likewise the same should be determined in what concerns the intention and the whole operation. Certainly the act done without knowledge, or knowingly and not being in our power, is like an involuntary. We knowingly do and experience many natural things none of which are either voluntary or involuntary, for example, growing old and dying.
ii. The previous explanation is applicable to both just and unjust acts. — 1039
The same is true even when the act is just or unjust incidentally, because if someone restores a deposit unwillingly and on account of fear his act is not said to be just, nor is it an act of justice except incidentally. In a similar way a person forced against his will not to restore a deposit is said to do an unjust thing or an act incidentally unjust.
2. THERE IS JUST OR UNJUST ACTION WITHOUT THE AGENT BEING JUST OR UNJUST.
a. First he premises a division necessary to explain the statement. — 1040
We perform some voluntary actions by choice and others without deliberation. When we make a choice of anything we first deliberate, but things we do without choice are without previous deliberation.
b. He explains the statement.
i. He repeats when there may be an unjust thing without an unjust action. — 1041-1043
Injury may occur in dealings among men in three ways. Through ignorance sins are committed in which neither the person against whom, nor the what, nor the how, nor the end are known, and they take place for an end not considered, for example, a man intends not to wound but to tap, not this person or not in this way. When therefore (1) injury is inflicted unintentionally, we have an unfortunate accident, but when (2) the injury is not unintentional although without evil intent, we have a sin certainly since the principle of the cause is in the agent. But what happens incidentally has an external cause.
ii. He restates when there is unjust action without the agent being unjust. — 1044
However, when (3) injury is inflicted knowingly but without deliberation, we have unjust action, thus whatever is done through anger or other passions which are necessary or natural to man. Under these circumstances persons sinning and injuring others act unjustly and their actions are unjust but they are not unjust or evil on account of this, for they do not inflict injury from wickedness.
iii. He shows when one is unjust by the injustice and wickedness of the agent. — 1045
But when injury is inflicted by choice the perpetrator is unjust and evil.
c. He clarifies some things which have been said.
i. He explains... what is done from weakness or passion (by two reasons)
x. FIRST. — 1046
Therefore, it is in their favor that the things done out of anger are judged not to arise from premeditation, for it is the man who gave the provocation that began it and not he who acted in sudden anger.
y. SECOND. — 1047
Besides, it is not a question of whether the act is done but whether it is done justly, for anger indicates some injustice which is obvious. The case is different when the fact is questioned as in transactions where the alternative is necessarily evil if the action is not done through forgetfulness. But angry people, acknowledging the fact, are uncertain in what way there is injustice. However, those who act deviously are not ignorant on this point. Therefore the cunning, but not the angry, know that the injured party suffered unjustly.
ii. He explains... what is done by deliberate choice. — 1048
If a man inflicts injury by deliberate choice, he acts unjustly and he is now called unjust because of those unjust acts since they are contrary to the proportional or the equal. In a similar way a person is called just when he acts justly by deliberate choice, but he is said to be a doer of a just act only if he acts voluntarily.
B’ He introduces a division to explain things mentioned previously. — 1049
Some involuntary acts deserve pardon, others do not. Whatever sins men commit not only in ignorance but also because of ignorance are excusable. However, the sins they commit not by reason of ignorance but in ignorance because of passion, which is neither natural nor human, are inexcusable.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1035. After the Philosopher has shown what justice in itself is, and what just action and unjust action are, now [C] he answers a question that he previously asked, viz., by what just or unjust actions may a man become just or unjust? He treats this point in a twofold manner. First [A’] he explains his plan. Then [B’], at “Some involuntary acts etc.,” he introduces a division to explain things mentioned previously. He discusses the initial point from two aspects. First  he shows when a just or unjust thing may exist without a just or unjust action. Next , at “We perform some voluntary etc.,” he shows that there is just or unjust action without the agent being just or unjust. He discusses the first point under two headings. Initially [1, a] he explains his intention. Second [1, b], at “As has been pointed out etc.,” he clarifies what he said. He affirms first that since just and unjust acts are such as have been described before (1000-1001), then a man acts unjustly or justly in this way: there is an act of injustice or a just action when he voluntarily does these very things, i.e., what is just and unjust. But when a man does them involuntarily he does not act justly or unjustly except perhaps incidentally; it happens contrary to his intention that the acts he does are just or unjust.
1036. Those things that we intend to do are said to be done in themselves and not incidentally. However, nothing is specified by what is incidental but only by what is in itself (per se). Therefore the act of justice and the dicaeopragma or the just operation, and likewise the act of injustice are indicated by a voluntary or involuntary, in such a way that when something is voluntary a person is praised or blamed. Hence, obviously, on the part of the thing done there will be something unjust, but there will not be an unjust action as regards the species of the operation if there is not a voluntary on the part of the agent. The same holds for just action.
1037. Then [1, b], at “As has been pointed out,” he clarifies some things that have been said, what a voluntary and an involuntary are. He handles this point in a twofold fashion. First [1, b, i] he indicates his intention. Second [1, b, ii], at “The same is true etc.,” he shows that the previous explanation is applicable to both just and unjust acts. He says first that a voluntary, as has been pointed out in the third book (382, 391, 427, 435, 436), is said to be present when a person knowingly does a thing that is in his power and is not ignorant either of what is done, or by what means, or for what end he does this. For example, he knows whom he struck, how he delivered the blow—as by an instrument—and the purpose of it; so too he knows each of these in themselves and not incidentally. In order that there be a voluntary it is necessary that the thing not happen by violence, for instance, if one takes a person’s hand by force and strikes another, he whose hand it is does not do this voluntarily, because it is not in his power to avoid being forced.
1038. After this, he explains how a thing may be known incidentally. It is possible that the man struck is his father. He who delivers the blow knows that a human being or someone present was struck but not that his father was; thus he knows incidentally that this was his father inasmuch as he knows that the person to whom this happened was his father. As we have discussed the man who delivers the blow, similarly we must investigate the purpose of the whole operation, i.e., all the circumstances of the operation. From the statement of what the voluntary is we can know what the involuntary is. The reason is that if something is done through ignorance or (after ignorance has ceased) is not in the power of the agent, or still more is done through violences it will be an involuntary. On this account it was added “by violence” because many things that are in us are not involuntary, for there are many natural things we knowingly do and experience, for example, growing old and dying. Nevertheless none of these is voluntary or involuntary because each one of them concerns the things which are in us by nature. But if it happens through violence that one of them is not in us, then it is called an involuntary.
1039. Next [1, b, ii ], at “The same is true,” he explains what was said about just and unjust acts. In regard to just acts, for example, if a man hands over a deposit to its owner not willingly but on account of fear, we do not say there is just action in this case except incidentally. Likewise if a person forced against his will abstains from restoring a deposit, we say he does an unjust thing or acts unjustly by accident.
1040. At “We perform some voluntary actions”  he shows when there is just or unjust action and yet the agent himself is not just or unjust. First [2, a] he premises a division necessary to explain the statement. Next [2, b], at “Injury may occur etc.,” he explains the statement. Last [2, c], at “Therefore, it is etc.,” he clarifies some things that have been said. He states first that we do some voluntary actions by deliberate choice and others without deliberate choice. Whatever we do by deliberate choice we do with preceding counsel or deliberation; but whatever is not subject to choice or is performed without choice we do without previous counsel or deliberation.
1041. Next [2, b], at “Injury may occur,” he explains the statement. First [2, b, i] he repeats when there may be an unjust thing without an unjust action. Then [2, b, ii], at “However, when etc.,” he restates when there is unjust action without the agent being unjust. Last [2, b, iii], at “But when injury etc.,” he shows when one is unjust by the injustice and wickedness of the agent. He says first, as appears from what has been stated previously (1037-1038), that injury may occur in dealings among men in three ways: in one way by ignorance and involuntarily, in another way voluntarily but without choice, and in a third way voluntarily and with choice.
1042. Those sins are committed through ignorance that are done by a man who does not know what he is doing, nor against whom he acts, nor with what means, nor for what end even if he was aware of performing an act. Thus a man thought that he landed a blow not with this instrument, e.g., a piked lance but with a rounded one; or he thought that he struck not this man, viz., not his father but an enemy; or he did not think he was about to strike for this objective but an objective was achieved he did not think of, for example, when he intended to strike not to wound but to tap. The case is similar when ignorance, exists in regard to the way a man landed a blow, mightily or lightly.
1043. But on this point we must consider that when injury is inflicted unintentionally, i.e., contrary to plan or intention, then an altogether unfortunate accident happens. For instance, a man means to brandish a spear and instead throws it. But when someone inflicts injury not unintentionally, that is, not without the intention of injuring but without malice in the sense that he does not mean to injure much or injure such a person, then there is some sin, although not so great a one. A man sins when the principle of an inordinate act is in his power in this that he intends to perform the act. But when the principle of operation is entirely external so that it works contrary to the intention, then an unfortunate accident occurs since fortune is an intellectual cause acting outside of reason, as is explained in the second book of the Physics (Ch. 5, 196 b 10-197 a 8; St. Th. Lect. 8, 207-216).
1044. Then [2, b, ii], at “However, when,” he shows when there may be unjust action without wickedness or injustice of the agent. He says that when a man inflicts injury knowingly but not with previous counsel, i.e., without deliberation, then there is a kind of injustice, as there is in any action that a person commits through anger and other passions-provided these passions are not natural and necessary to men, like desire for food and drink in extreme necessity which excuses the taking of what belongs to another. Therefore, those who injure others because of these passions sin and do an unjust thing and their acts are unjust actions. Nevertheless by reason of this they are not unjust and evil because they do not inflict injury from wickedness but from passion. Such people are said to sin from weakness.
1045. At “But when injury” [2, b, iii] he shows when there may be unjust action with injustice on the part of the agent. He says that when a man by deliberate choice causes injury to another, he is unjust and evil. Such a one is said to sin out of sheer wickedness.
1046. Next [2, c], at “Therefore, it is,” he clarifies what has been said. Because the first of the three things mentioned previously (which treats of what is done from ignorance) was commented on before (1042-1043), in the beginning [2, c, i] he explains the second, which deals with what is done from weakness or passion. Then [2, C, ii], at “If a man inflicts injury by choice etc.,” he explains the third, which treats of what is done by deliberate choice. He says first that when people sin from anger they are not evil or unjust because of this. Therefore we are well able to judge from this proof of previous statements that what is done from anger is not considered to be done with premeditation. He proves this afterwards, at “for it is the man” [i, x], by two reasons. The first is this, that it is not the man himself who does something in anger that begins the process of injuring but the person who provoked him. So it does not seem that the injury arose with premeditation.
1047. Then [i, y], at “Besides, it is not,” he gives the second reason. He says that when a man inflicts injury in anger there is no question whether he does the act or not but whether he does it justly, for by anger some injustice is obvious, i.e., operates openly. And the angry man wishes the punishment to be obvious but it seems to him that he is justly provoked. It is not the same thing with unjust dealings, like theft and so forth in which there is doubt whether the act should have been done. One of the things must be evil, for instance, giving or not giving; for we sin sometimes by omission, other times by transgression unless we are excused by reason of forgetfulness, as when a person forgets to pay a debt to a creditor at an agreed time. But people acting in anger admit the thing, or the fact, but doubt whether what they did is unjust. This does not happen to those who act deviously by choice and are not ignorant that they act unjustly. Wherefore, the insidious person judges that the man he injured suffers unjustly; but the angry person does not think this. So it is evident that he who does an unjust thing in anger does not act with premeditation.
1048. At “If a man inflicts injury” [2, c, ii] he explains the third reason concerned with acts done by deliberate choice. He says that if a man inflicts injury by deliberate choice, it is obvious that absolutely speaking he acts unjustly, because he operates voluntarily. He who acts according to an injustice of this kind is called unjust since this action is contrary to the proportional, i.e., against distributive justice, or contrary to the equal, i.e., against commutative justice. In a similar way a man is called just when he acts justly by deliberate choice. However, if he should act voluntarily and not by choice he will be called the worker or doer of what is just.
1049. Then [B’], at “Some involuntary things,” he gives a division to explain things mentioned previously. He says that some involuntary acts are venial, i.e., deserving of pardon, and others are not. Those sins deserve pardon that men commit not only in ignorance, that is, when they have concomitant ignorance, but on account of ignorance, viz., when ignorance is the cause so to speak-this happens to those who are sorry when they become aware. But those sins do not deserve pardon that men commit not on account of causative ignorance but in ignorance because of passion, which is neither natural nor human nor according to right reason. In actions of this kind passion is the cause of ignorance and sin; these have been more fully treated in the third book (406-424).
Suffering Injustice, an Involuntary
II. SOME DOUBTS ABOUT THE QUESTIONS JUST DISCUSSED.
A. He raises the doubts and solves them.
A’ The first part is divided into two.
1. HE PROPOSES THE QUESTION.
a. He proposes the matter of the question. — 1050
Someone may raise a doubt whether suffering and doing injustice have been treated sufficiently. Does Euripides speak the truth when he unseemly says: “I killed my mother: briefly, willingly or unwillingly I killed her who was willing to be put to death?”
b. He puts the questioning into form.
i. One question. — 1051
Is it true or not that a person willingly suffers injustice? Or is this an involuntary, as every doing of injustice is a voluntary?
ii. Another question. — 1052
Is suffering injustice always voluntary or always involuntary, or is it sometimes voluntary and sometimes involuntary? The same question can be asked about the reception of justice.
2. HE FOLLOWS UP THE QUESTION.
a. He argues that every reception of justice is voluntary or every reception is involuntary. — 1053
Every doing of justice is a voluntary. Therefore it is reasonable that suffering injustice and the reception of justice, in a similar way, are opposed according to both, viz., the voluntary and the involuntary (so that all of the one are voluntary and all the other are involuntary).
b. He argues that not every suffering of injustice is voluntary.
i. He argues for the proposition. — 1054
It seems unreasonable that every suffering of injustice is voluntary, for some people unwillingly suffer injustice.
ii. He asks a question on this point. — 1055
Wherefore, doubt can arise whether a person who has undergone damage suffer’s injustice.
iii. He answers the objection. — 1056
In regard to what is incidental the same holds for receiving as for doing, since clearly we take one for the other in matters concerning justice and in justice alike. Acting unjustly is not the same as doing something unjust, nor is suffering unjustly the same as suffering something unjust. Likewise, doing an unjust thing and suffering an unjust thing are not the same. It is impossible to suffer unjustly without someone doing what is unjust, or receive justice without someone doing what is just.
c. He argues that not every suffering of injustice is involuntary.
i. He argues for the proposition.
x. HE OFFERS TWO REASONS. IN... THE FIRST HE PRESENTS THREE CONSIDERATIONS.
aa. He gives a definition of doing injustice. — 1057
Doing an injustice in itself is present when a man voluntarily inflicts injury, that is, knowing who is injured, by what means, and in what manner.
bb. He argues from the definition given. — 1058
The incontinent person who voluntarily injures himself also voluntarily suffers an injustice and does an injustice to himself.
cc. He asks an incidental question. — 1059
But this is one of the doubtful points whether it is possible for a man to do an injustice to himself.
y. HE GIVES THE SECOND REASON. — 1060
Moreover, it happens by reason of incontinence that a man is voluntarily injured by another acting voluntarily. Hence someone willingly suffers an injustice.
ii. He solves the proposition.
x. HE CORRECTS THE DEFINITION... GIVEN ABOVE. — 1061
Perhaps the definition is not correct, and we should add to the words “knowing who is injured, by what means and in what manner” the further qualification “contrary to the will of the injured person.” Anyone, then, can have an unjust thing done to him voluntarily, but no one can suffer injustice voluntarily.
y. HE ANSWERS THE FIRST REASON. — 1062
No one wants to suffer injustice not even the incontinent person unless he acts contrary to his will. No one wishes what he does not think is good. But the incontinent person performs actions he thinks he ought not to perform.
z. HE ANSWERS THE SECOND REASON. — 1063-1064
Anyone who gives what is his, as (according to Homer’s story [Iliad vi. 236]) Glaucus gave Diomede golden armor for brass armor and a hundred oxen for nine oxen, suffers no injustice. It is in this man’s power to give but not in his power to suffer injustice-there must be someone who inflicts the injustice. Therefore it is obvious that suffering injustice is not voluntary.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1050. After the Philosopher has shown by what just actions a person may be called just or unjust, now [II] he raises some doubts about the questions just discussed. He treats this point from two aspects. First [A] he raises the doubts and solves them. Then [Lect. 15, B], at “Men are of the opinion etc.” (B. 1137 a 5), he refutes the errors of some philosophers about these subjects. The first part [A’] is divided into two according to the two questions he answers. The second part begins at [Lect. 15, B’] “There are still etc.” (B.1136 b 15). He handles the initial part under two headings. First  he proposes the question. Then , at “Every doing of justice,” he follows up the question. He discusses the first point in a two-fold manner. First [1, a] he proposes the matter of the question. Next [1, b], at “Is it true or not etc.,” he puts the questioning into form. in the first place the matter of the question is taken from material that was settled earlier (1035-1040). Hence he says that someone can raise a doubt whether the suffering and doing of injustice have been sufficiently discussed by reason of what has been said already. It was stated (1035) that doing justice is voluntary. So it can be questioned whether this must be referred to suffering injustice. In the second place the matter of the doubt is taken from the words of the poet Euripides who somewhat unbecomingly introduced a character saying: “I killed my mother—to make the story short, either I voluntarily killed her who wished to be put to death or else I killed her involuntarily.” In either case we understand that the mother had expressed a wish to be killed.
1051. Then [1, b], at “Is it true or not,” he puts the questioning into form. He considers this in two ways. First [1, b, i] he proposes one question, viz., whether it is really proper to say that a man voluntarily suffers injustice or whether this is untrue, but that every suffering of injustice is involuntary, as every doing of injustice is voluntary.
1052. Second [1, b, ii], at “Is suffering injustice,” he proposes another question. The question is whether every suffering of injustice is constituted in this way or in such a way that every suffering of injustice is either voluntary or involuntary. As this question can be asked about doing injustice—whether every such action is voluntary or whether some are voluntary and others involuntary—so in a similar way the same question can be asked about the reception of justice.
1053. Next , at “Every doing of justice,” he follows up the question previously asked. He develops this in a threefold fashion. First [2, a] he argues that every reception of justice is voluntary or every reception is involuntary. Then [2, b], at “It seems unreasonable,” he argues that not every suffering of injustice is voluntary. Last [2, c], at “Doing an injustice,” he argues that not every suffering of injustice is involuntary. He argues in this way for the first point. Every doing of justice is voluntary, as is clear from what has been pointed out (1035). But doing justice is the opposite of receiving justice. Therefore it seems reasonable that receiving justice or injustice should be opposed similarly according to both, i.e., voluntary and involuntary, so that all of the one is voluntary and all of the other involuntary.
1054. At “It seems unreasonable” [2, b] he argues that not every suffering of injustice is voluntary. He treats this point from three aspects. First [2, b, i] he argues for the proposition, saying it seems unreasonable to hold that every suffering of injustice is voluntary. Obviously some people unwillingly suffer injustice, hke those who are flogged or whose possessions are taken by others.
1055. Second [2, b, ii], at “Wherefore, doubt can arise,” he asks a question on this point: whether everyone who suffers injustice materially and incidentally can be said to suffer injustice formally and in itself. Thus someone may readily object that the man who unwillingly suffers robberies or blows, suffers injustice incidentally, nevertheless he is not, so to speak, simply a victim of injustice.
1056. Last [2, b, iii], at “In regard to what is incidental” he answers the objection. He says that the same holds for doing as for receiving. The reason is that in both cases it is possible to take one for the other: to understand what is incidental about justice in a similar way to what is incidental about injustice. He gives this explanation, that performing acts incidentally unjust is not the same as doing an act unjust in itself. It was pointed out (1035-1036) that sometimes a person in ignorance does by chance what is unjust, nevertheless, absolutely speaking, he does not act unjustly. Similarly, undergoing things that are incidentally unjust is not the same as undergoing what is simply unjust. Likewise it is impossible that these things are the same in the doing of justice and in receiving justice; and that the same reason holds for the doing and receiving both in regard to just things and unjust things. He explains this afterwards by the fact that it is not possible to suffer something just or unjust simply speaking because passion is an effect of action. If then, a man does what is unjust incidentally and does not become unjust simply, it follows that neither does he suffer injustice simply who suffers an unjust thing. The same argument holds for justice.
1057. Then [2, c], at “Doing an injustice,” he argues against the idea that suffering injustice is involuntary. First [c, i], he argues for the proposition. Second [c, ii], at “Perhaps the definition etc.,” he solves the proposition. Concerning the initial point he offers two reasons. In regard to the first [i, x] of these he presents three considerations. First [x, aa] he gives a definition of doing injustice, which was defined previously (1035, 1045): doing injustice simply and in itself is simply the voluntary inflicting of injury. By voluntary is meant that one knows who is injured, what inflicts the injury, and how, i.e., in what manner together with other circumstances of this kind.
1058. Second [x, bb], at,”The incontinent person,” he argues from the definition given. It is obvious that the incontinent person voluntarily injures himself, inasmuch as he does voluntarily what he knows is harmful to him. If then suffering injustice resembles doing injustice, it follows that the person acting voluntarily himself may suffer injustice from himself, so it is possible for someone to do injustice to himself. Thus it follows that not every suffering of injustice is involuntary.
1059. Third [x, cc], “But this is one,” he asks an incidental question: whether in fact someone can do an injustice to himself. But he takes up this question later (1091-1108).
1060. At “Moreover, it happens” [i, y] he gives the second reason. If it happens that anyone by reason of incontinence is knowingly and willingly injured by another (for example, a man ensnared by love of a prostitute allows himself to be robbed) then it is possible that a person may willingly suffer injustice. So, not every suffering of injustice is involuntary.
io6i. Then [c, ii], at “Perhaps the definition,” he gives the solution. He discusses this point from three aspects. First [ii, x] he corrects the definition of doing injustice given above (1057), and from it he infers the truth of the question. He says that the definition of doing injustice, stated without qualification, is not correct. But the statement should be added that doing injustice is present when someone with a knowledge of the circumstances inflicts injury on another against his will. From this it follows that although a person voluntarily may be injured and suffer incidentally what is unjust; nevertheless, no one voluntarily suffers injustice, absolutely speaking, because in itself doing injustice is to inflict harm on another against his will.
1062. Next [ii, y], at “No one wants,” he answers the first reason. No one wishes with a complete will to suffer injustice, not even the incontinent person, although he does things harmful to himself against his will. Essentially he wills good, but by concupiscence he is drawn to evil. Aristotle proves this statement from the fact that, since the will desires what appears good, no one wills what he does not think is good. But the incontinent person in a passionless moment does not think what he does is good and therefore he does not will it absolutely; nevertheless he does what he thinks he ought not to do, on account of concupiscence which is in the sensitive appetite, the will being in the reason.
io63. Last [ii, z], at “Anyone who gives,” he answers the second reason concerning the person who is willingly injured by another. He says that a man does not suffer injustice absolutely speaking who voluntarily gives what is his own, as Homer narrates [Iliad vi. 236] about an individual named Glaucus that he gave Diomede golden armor for brass armor and a hundred oxen for nine oxen. Therefore this type does not suffer injustice because it is in the man’s power to give what belongs to him. However, suffering injustice is not in the power of him who suffers injustice, but there must be someone who does the injustice. Consequently suffering injustice is involuntary, and doing injustice is voluntary because the principle of action is in the agent—this belongs to the nature of a voluntary. However, the source of suffering is not in the patient but in another—and this belongs to the nature of an involuntary.
1064. He concludes by way of summary that suffering injustice obviously is involuntary.
Who Does Injustice in Distributions?
B’ He comes to another (doubt).
1. HE PROPOSES IT. — 1065
There are still two questions we wish to discuss. Who does an injustice, he who distributes more than one’s share or he who receives it? And does a person do injustice to himself?
2. HE FOLLOWS IT UP.
a. First he objects to the false part. — 1066
If the first proposal is true, viz., he who distributes but not he who receives commits injustice; then when a person knowingly and willingly gives more to another than to himself, he does injustice to himself, as moderate men seem to do, for the person who keeps within measure takes what is of less value for himself.
b. Next... he solves it:
i. By two reasons. The first. — 1067
But it does not seem entirely true, for in this case he abounds in another good, namely, glory or moral good.
ii. The second reason. — 1068
Again we can answer in accord with the definition of doing injustice, for the distributor suffers nothing contrary to his will. Therefore he does not suffer injustice by reason of this but only damage.
c. Last he determines the truth.
i. The man who distributes more than one’s share does an injustice. — 1069
However, it is obvious that he who distributes too much, but not always he who receives it, does an injustice.
ii. He proves the proposition by three reasons.
x. FIRST. — 1070
Not the man in whom the unjust thing exists does injustice but the man who wills to do it. He is the one who is the principle of action. This is in the distributor, not in the recipient.
y. SECOND. — 1071
Action is said to occur in various ways: in one way as inanimate things or the hand or servant of the owner are said to take life. These do not act unjustly but do unjust things.
z. THIRD. — 1072-1073
Moreover, he who has formed a judgment through ignorance of what is legally just does not do an injustice nor is his judgment unjust but it resembles injustice, for legal justice differs from primary justice. But if a person knowingly forms an unjust judgment, he acts covetously to obtain favor or avoid punishment. Hence-just as if he shares in the injustice-the man, who judges unjustly for that purpose, has more than his due; for in such cases the man who awards a field does not receive a field but silver.
B. He refutes some errors.
1. HE REFUTES SOME FALSE OPINIONS CONCERNED WITH ONE DOING JUSTICE OR INJUSTICE.
a. The first. — 1074
Men are of the opinion that they are unjust when they do what is unjust, and for this reason they think it easy to become unjust. But this is not true. It is easy and within their power to have carnal intercourse with a neighbor’s wife, to strike another, and to hand over silver, but doing these things as a habit is not (immediately) in their power.
b. Second he refutes a false opinion about the knowledge of just and unjust things. — 1075
Similarly, some people think that no wisdom is needed to know what things are just and unjust because it is not difficult to understand what the law says. However, these things are only incidentally just but become truly just when done and distributed in a particular way. Now to know this way is a more difficult task than to know the things that are healthful because there it is easy to know the virtue of honey, wine, and hellebore, to know the effect of cautery and surgery, but how they ought to be prescribed for health, for what patient, and when is as great an accomplishment as that of being a doctor.
c. Third... concerning the facility in doing justice and unjust things. — 1076
For this very reason it is thought also that the just man is not less able to do injustice but rather can do any unjust thing: for example, he can have carnal intercourse, strike a blow, and a brave man can throw away his shield, can turn and run away. However, perpetration of a cowardly action or of something unjust is doing these things only incidentally, but the doing is absolute for one having the permanent facility, just as healing and restoring to health do not consist in cutting or not cutting, in giving medicine or not giving it, but in prescribing these things as they should be.
2. HE SHOWS IN WHOM JUST AND UNJUST ACTS EXIST. — 1077
Just acts are found among people who participate in things good in themselves but have both defect and excess of them. For some persons there is no excess in regard to such goods (possibly so with the gods). For others, the hopelessly evil, no particle of these goods is useful but every one of them is harmful. In still others the goods become harmful at a determined point; and this is human.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1065. After the Philosopher has then , at “If the first proposal etc.,” solved one doubt, now [B’] he comes he follows it up. He says first that in to another. First  he proposes it, the matter of justice and injustice two questions still remain which he wishes to treat in preference to others. The first of these is, which of the two persons does an injustice in regard to distribution: he who gives to someone without regard to worth or he who accepts? The second—Can a person do injustice to himself?—is a question he asked before (1059) and resolves later (1091-1108).
1066. Then , at “If the first proposal,” he follows up the question previously asked. First [2, a] he objects to the false part. Next [2, b], at “But it does not seem,” he solves it. Last [2, c], at “However it is,” he determines the truth. He says first that if what was just said (1065) is true, viz., that the dishonest distributor does injustice and not he who receives too much, something inappropriate seems to follow. It can happen that a person knowingly and willingly gives more to another than to himself, and so it seems that he may do injustice to himself a thing that is inappropriate. The reason is that moderate men apparently do this, as they retain things of less value for themselves. It is characteristic of the virtuous man that he belittles himself, i.e., accepts things of less value for himself.
1067. Next [b, i], at “But it does not seem,” he solves this by two reasons. The first is that sometimes it is not entirely true that the distributor retains things of less value for himself. Although he keeps the less valuable external goods for himself, he nevertheless has an abundant share of another good, viz., glory, and of moral or honorable good.
1068. At “Again we can answer” [b, ii] be gives the second reason proceeding from the definition of doing justice given before (1061). To this an addition was made indicating that it is contrary to the will of him who suffers. But the distributor suffers nothing contrary to his will. Consequently he does not suffer injustice but only undergoes some damage.
1069. Then [2, c], at “However it is obvious,” he determines the truth. He says [c, i] that obviously the man who distributes more than one’s share does an injustice, yet this is not always true of him who accepts too much but only when he works to bring about this object.
1070. Next [c, ii], at “Not the man in whom,” he proves the proposition by three reasons. The first [ii, x] is that the man in whom the unjust thing exists is not said to do injustice, because in this way the one who is injured would do injustice; but he does injustice who wills to do it—he is the principle of action. This is the case of the person who distributes but not so with the recipient. Therefore the distributor does injustice and not the receiver.
1071. Aristotle gives the second reason at “Action is said” [ii, y], affirming that a man is said to act in various ways. In one way he acts as a principal agent, and in another, as instruments act. In the latter way it can be said that inanimate things, like stones, swords, or arrows cause death, and that the hand or the servant of the one who commands brings about death. None of these, absolutely speaking, does injustice although they are the means by which unjust actions are done. The reason is that doing injustice, since it is voluntary, is attributable to the agent in whom the principle of action lies, as has been pointed out (1063). But it is clear that in distribution the distributor holds the place of the principal agent while the recipient holds the place of an instrument after the manner of one obeying. Hence it remains that the distributor does the injustice.
1072. At “Moreover, he has formed” [ii, z] he gives the third reason. He says that if a person by reason of ignorance of legal justice wrongly judges, tic does not do injustice, absolutely speaking, nor is the judgment by which his action is done unjust in itself; but it is unjust in a way because the thing judged is unjust. Therefore we spoke of legal justice because one kind of justice is legal which can be unknown, another is natural which cannot be unknown because it is impressed by nature on the human mind. But if someone knowing legal justice judges unjustly, then he acts greedily, that is, unjustly either for the sake of acquiring the favor of another or to avoid a penalty.
1073. If a man wishes to share injustice in unfair portions, he who judges unjustly to curry someone’s favor has more good than belongs to him. So he acts greedily, although he may not have more of that good in which he injured another. The reason is that in such affairs a man who unjustly awarded a field to someone obviously for profit, did not get the field but money. And so a distributor is situated in distribution as a judge in exchanges. Therefore as a judge wrongly judging with full knowledge does an injustice, so too does he who distributes unjustly.
1074. Then [B], at “Men are of the opinion,” he refutes some errors. Regarding this he does two things. First [B, 1] he refutes some false opinions concerned with one doing justice or injustice. Next [B, 2], at “Just acts are found,” he shows in whom just and unjust acts exist. In regard to the first point he refutes three false opinions. The first of these [1, a] concerns the facility in becoming unjust. He says that many people are of the opinion that they are ready to do even injustice immediately. Hence they think that it is easy to be habitually unjust. Certainly it is easy, and immediately in a man’s power, to do unjust things: to have sexual intercourse with his neighbor’s wife, to strike his neighbor, to take money from the hand of another, or to hand over money to have murder or some crime done. But that men should do actions of this kind in such a way that they act promptly and with pleasure is not easily nor immediately in a man’s power, but they come to this point through persistent habit.
1075. Second [1, b], at “Similarly, some people,” he refutes a false opinion about the knowledge of just and unjust things. He says some people think great wisdom is not needed for a man to discern just and unjust acts because it is not difficult to understand the decrees of the law determining legally just acts. However, such people are self-deceived because these acts simply considered are just only accidentally inasmuch as it is an accident that such things are just. But they become genuinely just when in some way they are performed and distributed (i.e., attributed) in some way to affairs and persons. But proper adaptation to affairs and people is more laborious and difficult than knowing remedies in which the whole art of medicine consists. There is a greater diversity among voluntary acts about which justice is concerned than among the humors about which health is concerned. Also it is easy to know the virtue of honey, wine, and hellebore, and the effect of cautery and surgery, but to prescribe these things for the restoration of health in the right way, for the right person, and at the right time is as great an accomplishment as being a doctor, for one who has this knowledge is a doctor.
1076. Third [i, c], at “For this very reason, “ he refutes a false opinion concerning facility in doing justice and unjust things. He affirms that, on account of what has been said, people also are of the opinion that the just man can do injustice as readily as any one else, because from the fact that he is just he knows not less but more and can do any one of the things called unjust, like having sexual intercourse with another’s wife, striking another, throwing away his shield in battle; and a man can attack anyone he pleases. But they deceive themselves because the perpetration of cowardly actions and the doing of what is unjust is doing these things only incidentally inasmuch as it happens that the acts are unjust, but to do what is simply unjust is for someone to do these things in such a way that he is willing and prompt at it. So it is in medicine-healing and restoring to health do not consist in operating or not operating, in prescribing or not prescribing a drug, i.e., a laxative, but in a person prescribing them as he ought.
1077. Then [B, 2], at “Just acts are found,” he shows to whom they are attributable. We say that just acts are attributable to the people among whom are found things simply and in them-selves desirable, like riches and so on, although these persons (as is common among men) have excess and defect in this matter. For some there is no excess in such things that are used most laudably, as becomes men perfect in virtue and perhaps the gods (according to the error of people who hold that gods use things of this nature). For others, viz., the very wicked and the incurably evil no particle of these goods is useful but everything is harmful. For still others not everything is harmful but it becomes so at a certain fixed point. Hence it is evident that justice is a human good because it regards the general condition of man.
I. HE INDICATES HIS INTENTION. — 1078
Next we will treat equity and the equitable thing; we will consider in what way equity is related to justice, how the equitable is related to the just thing.
II. HE PROCEEDS WITH HIS PROPOSITION.
A. He determines the object of equity.
1. HE RAISES A DOUBT. — 1079-1080
When we stop to think of it, they are not absolutely the same nor do they altogether differ in kind. Sometimes we praise a thing and a man as equitable, and hence transfer “equitable” as a greater good to the things b we praise, showing that it is better. Other times it seems unfitting, to those following reason, that the equitable—as something beyond the just—is praiseworthy. Either the just thing or the equitable (which is other than the just) is not good. Or if both are good then they are the same. The doubt generally arises because of the things said about the nature of what is equitable.
2. HE SOLVES IT.
a. He sets forth the truth. — 1081
Everything said is true in a certain way and contains no latent contradiction. The equitable is something just and is better than some other just thing, but it is not better as another genus separated from the just. Therefore the equitable is the same as the just thing and when both are good the equitable is better.
b. He assigns the reason.
i. He assigns the reason for doubt. — 1082
What raises the doubt is that the equitable is a just thing, yet it is not something legal but is a directing of the legally just.
ii. He indicates the reason for the truth proposed.
x. A DEFECT IN LEGAL JUSTICE. — 1083-1084
The reason for this is that every law is proposed universally, but it is not possible to deal with some things in a universal way. Where the necessary exists we can speak universally but it is impossible to apply this rightly where the law understands the application to be valid in the majority of cases, while being clearly aware that a defect is present.
y. THIS DEFECT DOES NOT DESTROY THE RECTITUDE OF LEGAL JUSTICE. — 1085
Nevertheless the law is good, for the defect is not in the law nor the making of it but in the nature of the thing. And clearly the matter of human actions is such that they are not always done in the same way.
z. THE NECESSITY FOR DIRECTION. — 1086
Therefore, when the law proposes something universally and a particular thing happens contrary to this, then, where the legislator has left a gap and erred in speaking absolutely, it is right to correct what is deficient. The legislator would have spoken on the point in this way if he had been present, and if he had known he would have filled this gap in the law.
iii. He infers the truth intended. — 1087-1088
For this reason what is equitable is just and is something more excellent than one kind of just thing, not better than that which is absolute but better than that which errs by reason of being proposed absolutely. This thing that is the equitable is the directing of the law where there is deficiency because of faulty universal application. The reason why everything cannot be judged according to the law is that it is impossible to make a law for certain cases. Hence there is need of passing judgment, for the rule of indeterminate matter is itself flexible, like the leaden rule used by builders in Lesbos; just as that rule conforms to the shape of the stone, and does not remain the same, so also the sentence is adapted to the conditions. In this way then it has been made clear what the equitable is, that it is both the just and better than the just thing.
B. (He determines) the subject of (equity). — 1089
From this it is obvious who the equitable man is. He is one who chooses and does the things spoken of; he is not a zealous enforcer of justice in the worse sense, but a mitigator although he recognizes the law as a deterrent.
C. He determines the habit. — 1090
And this habit of equity is a species of justice and not another kind of habit.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1078. After the Philosopher has finished the consideration of justice in general, he now begins to consider equity which is a general directive of justice. First [I] he indicates his intention. Then [II], at “When we stop to think etc.,” he proceeds with his proposition. He says first that following what has been said, we should discuss equity that designates a certain habit and the equitable thing that is its object. In the discussion we should declare how equity is related to justice and how its object, which is called the equitable thing, is related to the just thing, the object of justice. In Greek epiiches is understood as what is reasonable or becoming; it is derived from epi meaning “above” and ikos meaning “obedient,” because by equity a person is obedient in a higher way when he follows the intention of the legislator where the words of the law differ from it.
1079. Then [II], at “When we stop to think,” he proceeds with his proposition. He discusses it under three headings. First [II, A] he determines the object of equity. Second [II, B], at “From this it is obvious etc.,” the subject of it. Last [II, C], at “And this habit etc.,” he determines the habit. He considers the initial point in a twofold manner. First [A, 1] he raises a doubt; then [A, 2], at “Everything said is true,” he solves it. He says first that if we look closely, it does not seem that the equitable thing is absolutely the same as the just, because the equitable sometimes departs from what is legally just; nor does it seem to be altogether different in species from what is just. He assigns a reason for these things: sometimes we praise what is equitable and declare that it is well done. Likewise we praise the kind of man who does it-we even call him a manly and perfect individual. So it is evident that, when we transfer praise to what is equitable, or to a person, as if to a greater good, we show what is equitable as something better than what is just. Hence the equitable - does not seem to be the same absolutely as the just thing.
1080. On the other hand (if we wish to follow reason) it seems inappropriate if what is equitable is praiseworthy and something over and above the just. It seems necessary that either the just thing is not desirable, i.e., good, or that if what is equitable is different from the just, it is not good because good (in the law) is achieved in one way, as was pointed out in the second book (319-321); or it is necessary that if both are good, they are identical. So he infers that a doubt arises about what is equitable on account of the things just stated. On the one hand it seems that it is not the same inasmuch as it is praised as better than the just thing, on the other it seems that it is the same as the just thing, for what is beyond the just apparently is not good and praiseworthy.
1081. Next [A, 2], at “Everything Said is true,” he solves the question raised. He handles this point in two ways. First [2, a] he sets forth the truth. Then [2, b], at “What raises the doubt etc.,” he assigns the reason. He says first that everything that has been said for either side of the doubt is in some way right, and if correctly understood no opposition lies hidden there. It is true that what is equitable is one kind of just thing and is better than another just thing because, as was noted before (1016-1017), justice which citizens practice is divided into natural and legal. But what is equitable is better than what is legally just but is contained under the naturally just. Consequently it is not said to be better than the just thing as if it were some other kind of norm distinct from the genus of just things. Although both, viz., the legally just thing and the equitable, are good, the equitable is better.
1082. At “What raises the doubt” [2, b] he assigns the reason, treating it in a threefold manner. First [b, i] he assigns the reason for doubt. Second [b, ii], at “The reason for this etc.,” he indicates the reason for the truth proposed. Third [b, iii], at “For this reason what is equitable etc.,” he infers the truth intended. He says first that this is what raised the doubt: that the equitable is a just thing, yet it is not something legal. But it is a certain directing of legal justice, for we said (1023) that it was contained under natural justice from which legal justice has its origin.
1083. Then [b, ii], at “The reason for this,” he assigns the reason for the truth proposed, i.e., why legal justice has need of direction. He discusses this point from three aspects. First [ii, x] he points out a defect in legal justice. Next [ii, y], at “Nevertheless the law,” he shows that this defect does not destroy the rectitude of legal justice. Last [ii, z], at “Therefore, when,” he infers the necessity for direction. He says first that the reason why legal justice has need of direction is that every law is proposed universally. Since particulars are infinite, our mind cannot embrace them to make a law that applies to every individual case. Therefore a law must be framed in a universal way, for example, whoever commits murder will be put to death.
1084. It is evident that our intellect can predicate something universally true about some things, in the case of what is necessary where no defect can occur. But about other things it is not possible that something true be predicated universally, in the case of what is contingent. Here even though something is true in most instances, nevertheless it errs as we know in a few instances. And of such a nature are human acts about which laws are framed. In, these things the legislator necessarily speaks in a universal way on account of the impossibility of comprehending particulars; however, he cannot be correct in all the situations for which he legislates since error arises in some few cases. For this reason the legislator accepts what happens in most cases, and nevertheless he is not ignorant that defect is possible in some cases. Thus the anatomist says that man has five fingers, although he knows that by a mistake of nature it happens that man has more or less in rarer cases.
io85. Next [ii, y], at “Nevertheless the law,” he shows that the previously mentioned defect does not destroy the rectitude of law or of legal justice. He says that, although a fault may be committed in some cases by the observance of the law, nevertheless the law is good because that fault is not on the part of the law (since it was made according to reason) nor on the part of the legislator (who legislated according to the condition of the material), but the fault arises from the nature of the thing. Such is the nature of human actions that they are not done always in the same way but are done otherwise in certain infrequent instances. For example, the return of a deposit is in itself just and good, as it happens in most cases, but in a particular situation it can be bad, for instance, if a sword is returned to a madman.
1086. At “Therefore, when” [ii, z] he infers the necessity for directing legal justice. He says that when the law proposes something in a universal way, and the observance is not beneficial in a special instance, reason rightly dictates that a person should correct what is deficient in the law. Where the legislator evidently left indeterminate a particular case (in which the law falls short) he is at fault, i.e., he proposed a defective proposition in speaking absolutely or universally. The reason is that even the legislator himself, had he been present where such a case happened, would have determined in this way and the correction would have been made. Moreover, had he foreseen this from the beginning he would have put it in the law. But he could not comprehend all particulars; in a certain city it was decreed under penalty of death that strangers were not to climb the walls of the city for fear they would usurp the civil government. But during an enemy invasion some strangers by climbing the walls defended the city from the invaders. They do not deserve to be punished by death; it would be against the natural law to reward benefactors with punishment. Therefore in this case legal justice must be directed by natural justice.
1087. Then [b, iii], at “For this reason what is equitable” he infers the truth intended, affirming that by reason of what has been said it is clear what the equitable is. It is a just thing and it is better than one kind but not better than what is naturally just that is laid down absolutely, that is, universally. Hence the nature of the equitable is that it be directive of the law where the law is deficient for some particular case. Indeed the law does fail in particular cases. The reason why not everything can be determined according to the law is that the law cannot possibly be framed to meet some rare particular incidents, since all cases of this kind cannot be foreseen by man. On account of this, after the enactment of the law, a decision of the judges is required by which the universal statement of the law is applied to a particular matter. Because the material of human acts is indeterminate, it follows that their norm, which is the law, must be indeterminate in the sense that it is not absolutely rigid.
1088. He offers an example of a norm for building in Lesbos. In this island there arecertain hard stones that cannot easily be dressed by chisel so they may be arranged in an entirely correct position. Therefore the builders there use a leaden rule. just as this leaden rule conforms to the shape of the stone and does not stay in the same form, so the sentence of the judge must be adapted to things according to their suitableness. In this way then he ends by way of summary that it is clear from the premises what the equitable thing is, that it is something just which is better than one kind of just thing, viz., the legally just.
1089. Next [B], at “From this it is obvious,- he determines the subject of equity. He affirms that it is evident from what has been proposed (1078-1088), who the equitable man is: he who chooses and does the things which have been discussed. He lays down a certain characteristic of this kind of virtuous person. He says that such a one is not acribodikaios, i.e., a zealous enforcer of justice in the worse sense, for vengeance, like those who are severe in punishing, but rather like those who mitigate the penalties although they may have the law on their side in punishing. The legislator does not intend punishments in themselves but as a kind of medicine for offenses. Therefore the equitable person does not add more punishment than is sufficient to prevent violations.
1090. At “And this habit” [C] he determines the habit of virtue. He says that this habit, called equity, is a particular species of justice and is not a habit different from legal justice; we said the same about its object, for habits are known by reason of their objects.
Injustice to Oneself
I. NO ONE, PROPERLY SPEAKING, CAN DO HIMSELF AN INJUSTICE.
A. No one can do himself an injustice nor suffer an injustice from himself.
A’ A question of this kind can be settled from what has been said before. — 1091
Whether or not it is possible to do injustice to oneself is clear from what has been discussed.
B’ Certain grounds on which it seems that a person can do himself an injustice.
1. HE GIVES TWO REASONS... THE FIRST. — 1092
There are certain just acts arising from every virtue that are ordained by law. Hence, for example, the law never commands a man to kill himself. But what it does not command it forbids.
2. THE SECOND REASON. — 1093
Again, however, when someone inflicts damage contrary to the law (it being not against one resisting injury from another) he voluntarily does injustice. By “voluntary” is meant the agent knows both the nature of what he does and the circumstances. But the man who voluntarily kills himself in anger does an act contrary to a just law by willing what the law does not permit. Therefore he does an injustice.
C’ He determines the truth.
1. FIRST HE PRESENTS AND CONFIRMS THE SOLUTION.
a. He solves the doubt raised before regarding legal justice.
i. He proposes the solution. — 1094
But to whom? Does he not injure the state rather than himself?
ii. He confirms the solution given.
x. ONE DOES NOT DO HIMSELF AN INJUSTICE. — 1095
He voluntarily suffers what is unjust but no one voluntarily suffers injustice.
y. (HE DOES) INJUSTICE TO THE STATE. — 1096
For this reason the state imposes punishment and a certain disgrace on the person who commits suicide as on one who does an injustice to the state.
b. He solves the doubt regarding particular justice.
i. He proposes what he intends. — 1097
Besides, inasmuch as a man is called unjust not as being entirely evil but only as performing particular injustice, he does not do injustice to himself. This is different from the other kind of injustice because a person unjust in a limited way—like the coward is evil—does not possess total perversity. Hence he does not do in justice to himself according to this injustice.
ii. He proves the proposition by four reasons.
w. FIRST. — 1098
Indeed something will be given to and taken from one and the same person at the same time. This is impossible, for it is necessary that justice and injustice be found in different persons.
x. SECOND. — 1099
Again, doing injustice is voluntary and with choice and happens previous to suffering injustice. A man who first suffers injustice and resists it does not seem to do an injustice. But the person receiving injustice from himself suffers and does the same injustice at the same time.
y. THIRD. — 1100
Moreover, he will be voluntarily suffering injustice.
z. FOURTH. — 1101
Besides, no one does injustice to himself in regard to particular injustice. No one, for example, commits adultery with his own wife, nor breaks into his own home, nor steals his own goods.
2. SECOND HE GIVES THE ROOT OF THE SOLUTION. — 1102
This question of doing injustice to oneself is completely sol~cd according to the definition that suffering injustice is contrary to the will.
B. Whether it is worse to do an injustice or suffer an injustice.
A’ First... both of them are evil. — 1103
Obviously both are evil, that is, suffering injustice and doing injustice for the former is to have less and. the latter to have more than the mean, (this corresponds to what produces health in medicine and good condition in physical training.)
B’ Next... in itself it is worse to do injustice. — 1104
However, to do injustice is worse because it is blameworthy and wicked either completely and absolutely, or for the most part (not every voluntary injury takes place with injustice). But a man suffers injustice without being guilty of wickedness or injustice. Therefore in itself suffering injustice is a lesser evil,
C’ By chance the contrary can be true. — 1105
although nothing hinders it from being by chance a greater evil. But b art does not care about what is by chance, for example, medicine considers pleurisy a worse ailment than an injured foot, even if it should happen that the latter may be worse. An example of this would be the case when the one so injured falls and so is captured and put to death by enemies.
II. (ONE CAN DO HIMSELF AN INJUSTICE) IN A METAPHORICAL SENSE. — 1106-1108
By metaphor and likeness, there is justice not of a man toward himself but among the parts of man toward one another. However, not every kind of justice is found here but the justice of master or administrator. According to these concepts, one part of the soul has been divided as against the irrational part (irascible and concupiscible). Looking at these, some people think that injustice to oneself is present because in them it is possible to suffer something contrary to one’s own desire. Here a kind of injustice is found as between master and slave. We have, then, finished the treatise on justice and the other moral virtues according to the preceding plan.
COMMENTARY OF ST. THOMAS
1091. After the Philosopher has finished the treatise on justice in the proper sense, he now intends to treat justice in the metaphorical sense. Because justice of this kind exists in things that relate to oneself, therefore, he first [ I ] shows that no one, properly speaking, can do himself an injustice. Second [II], at “By metaphor etc.,” he shows how this takes place in a metaphorical sense. He develops this point in a twofold manner. First [A] he shows that no one can do himself an injustice nor suffer an injustice from himself. Then [B], at “Obviously both are evil etc.,” he shows whether it is worse to do an injustice or suffer an injustice. He considers the first under three aspects. Initially [A, A’] he suggests that a question of this kind can be settled from what has been said before. Next [A, B’] at “There are certain just acts etc.,” he proposes certain grounds on which it seems that a person can do himself an injustice. Last [A, C’] at “But to whom? etc.,” he determines the truth. He says first that from the premises it can be made clear whether a man may do an injustice to himself. He raised this question before (1059-1064). But here he follows it up because of the connection it has with an understanding of justice taken in a metaphorical sense.
1092. Then [A, B’] at “There are certain just acts,” he gives two reasons from which it seems that someone can do himself an injustice. The first is this [ B’, 1 ]. Obviously from what has been said before, the things that are just according to any virtue are ordered by law. Hence what is not ordered at all by law does not seem to be just in terms of any virtue and hence is unjust. In no case does the law command a man to take his own life. But those acts that the law does not command as just, it forbids as unjust. This is not to be understood as if no mean exists between the command and the prohibition of the law, since there are many acts that are neither commanded nor forbidden by the law but are left to man’s will, for example, buying or not buying a particular thing. But this is to be understood in the sense that it is only those things which are forbidden as unjust in themselves that the law in no case commands. So it seems that to take one’s own life is of itself unjust, since the law never commands it.
1093. At “Again, however” [B’ 2] he gives the second reason, saying that one who injures another contrary to the precept of the law (as when the law commands that an action be punished provided it is not against a person defending himself, i.e., resisting injury inflicted on oneself by another), such a one, I say, willingly does injustice. When I say “willingly,” it is understood the person should know what he does, in what manner, and the other circumstances. But he who takes his own life because of anger acts contrary to a good law in willing something the law does not permit. Therefore he does injustice. Consequently it seems that a man can do himself an injustice.
1094. At “But to whom” [A, C] he solves the previously mentioned doubt. First [C, 1] he presents and confirms the solution. Second [C’, 2], at “ This question,” he’,gives the root of the solution. He treats the first point in two ways. Initially [1, a] he solves the doubt raised before, regarding legal justice. Second [1, b], at “Besides, inasmuch etc.,” he solves the doubt regarding particular justice. On the initial point he does two (three) things. First [a, i] he proposes the solution saying that the man who commits suicide does some injustice. But we must consider against whom he acts unjustly. Certainly he does an injustice to the state, which he deprives of a citizen, even if he does no injustice to himself.
1095. Next [a, ii], at “He voluntarily suffers,” he confirms the solution given; first [a, ii, x] in regard to the fact that one does not do himself an injustice. He may willingly endure the slaying but no one willingly suffers injustice, as was said before (1094). Therefore this person does not suffer an injustice and does not do himself an injustice.
1096. Then [a, ii, y], at “For this reason,” he confirms the solution in regard to the injustice to the state-this by a certain sign. We see that the state imposes what punishment is possible, dishonor or censure on the suicide; that it has his body dragged or left unburied. In this way we are given to understand that this man committed injustice against the state.
1097. At “Besides, inasmuch” [1, b] he shows that no one does himself an injustice according to particular justice. First [b, i] he proposes what he intends. He says that inasmuch as a person is called unjust not as being completely perverse in evil but only as doing particular injustice, according to this injustice it is not possible for a person to do injustice to himself. This particular injustice, which we discussed before (913-926), is different from legal injustice. A man may be called unjust in some measure not as being completely evil but as being partially evil, for example, someone is called cowardly according to a particular evil. Hence neither according to particular injustice can anyone do injustice to himself.
1099. Next [b, ii], at “Indeed something,” he proves the proposition by four reasons. The first [b, ii, w] is that one who does injustice according to particular injustice has more than is due him, and he who suffers injustice has less. If then someone could do injustice to himself, it would follow that something could be taken from him and added to him at one and the same time-things that are opposites. Therefore it is impossible for the same person to be the one doing injustice and suffering injustice from himself. But justice and injustice necessarily implies more than one person.
1099. At “Again, doing injustice” [b, ii, x] he gives the second reason saying that doing injustice must be voluntary and with-choice, and must be previous to suffering injustice. That man, who first has suffered injustice and reacts against it according as the law allows, does not seem to do injustice, for example, if he repossesses a thing taken from him. But if a person injures himself, he suffers and inflicts the same act at the same time. Therefore he does not seem to do injustice to himself.
1100. Then [b, ii, y], at “Moreover, he will,” he offers the third reason. Certainly a person voluntarily does harm to himself. If then such a one suffers injustice from himself, it follows that suffering injustice is a voluntary. This we disproved before (1094-1096).
1101. Next [b, ii, z], at “Besides, no one,” he gives the fourth reason. If we look at particular injustice, that is, the species of particular injustice, it is apparent that no one does himself an injustice. One particular species of injustice is fornication, i.e., adultery. But no man fornicates or commits adultery with his own wife. No one is called a burglar—burglary belongs to another species of injustice—because he breaks into his own home, nor a thief if he secretly takes his own goods. Obviously then it is not possible to do oneself injustice.
1102. At “This question” [C’, 2] he gives the principal root of the previously mentioned solution. He says that this question about doing injustice to oneself is completely solved in accord with what was determined before (1063, 1071, 1099) on the point that it is impossible to suffer any injustice voluntarily. From this it clearly follows that no one unwillingly does injustice, since doing injustice is a voluntary, as was pointed out previously (1063, 1071, 1099).
1103. Then [B], at “Obviously both,” he compares these two things with one another. In regard to the comparison he takes up three points. First [B, A’] he shows that both of them are evil. Next [B, B’], at “However, to do injustice etc.,” he shows that in itself it is worse to do injustice. Last [B, C’], at “although nothing hinders etc.,” he shows that by chance the contrary can be true. He says first that both, doing injustice and suffering injustice, are evil. He proves the statement from the fact that to suffer injustice is to have less than the mean of justice requires. But the first, to do injustice, is to have more than the measure of justice. Now the mean of justice, called the just thing, is related to exchanges and distributions as the healthful is to medicine and the well-conditioned to gymnastics. Consequently, as in medicine and gymnastics what is too much or too little is evil, so also in regard to justice.
1104. Next [B, B’], at “However, to do injustice,” he shows that it is worse to do injustice than to suffer injustice. This he proves from the fact that to do injustice is blameworthy and evil—a thing that is to be understood either as complete and absolute evil (for instance, when someone does injustice not only voluntarily but by choice) or “Coming close to complete evil (evident in the person who acts unjustly not by choice but by anger or some other passion). It has been explained before (1041) that not every voluntary accompanies injustice, because sometimes a man does an unjust act and nevertheless is not unjust, although he is blameworthy. But a person’s suffering injustice is entirely without evil and injustice, for he who suffers injustice can in no way be considered unjust or evil. But, obviously, that by which a man is called evil is worse than that by which he is not called evil, an actual whiteness by which a person is called white is whiteness in a greater degree than potential whiteness by which a person is not called white. It follows then that suffering injustice is in itself less evil than doing injustice.
1105. At “although nothing hinders” [B, C’] he shows that the contrary can be true by chance. He says nothing prevents suffering injustice from being more evil by chance than doing injustice, as when a man is provoked to do greater injustice by the fact that he suffers unjustly. But this is by chance, and art does not care about what is by chance but judges only according to what is essential. Thus the art of medicine calls pleurisy a dangerous and deadly abscess under the ribs, a worse ailment than a sore foot that nevertheless can by chance be worse, for instance, when a man falls because of an injured foot and so by accident is captured and slain by an enemy.
iio6. Next [II], at “By metaphor and likeness,” he shows of what nature metaphorical justice is. He says that by a kind of metaphor and likeness, it is possible to have, not justice or injustice of the whole man toward himself, but a certain species of justice among the parts of man. However, this is not justice in the full sense but only the justice of a master or an administrator (viz., the head of a household), because corresponding to these reasons of dominion and administration the rational part of the soul seems to be distinguished from the irrational part, which is divided into irascible and concupiscible. The reason is master of the irascible and concupiscible parts and governs them.
1107. In view of such consideration some people think that a man’s justice extends to himself because, by reason of these parts, he can suffer from his own desires, for instance, when he acts against reason out of anger or concupiscence. Hence, among the parts a kind of justice and injustice is found, as between one who commands and one who obeys. However, it is not genuine justice because it is not between two, but it has a resemblance to justice inasmuch as the diversity in the soul is like the diversity between persons.
1108. Finally, as a summary, he concludes that we have finished the treatise on Justice and the other moral virtues according to the preceding plan. With this the teaching of the fifth book is completed.