Antyczna idea sprawiedliwości

Stanisław Kowalczyk


The idea of justice was mainly the subject matter of Plato and Aristotle. Plato's works (The Republic, The Laws, The Gorgias) allows us to distinguish twofold elements in his conception of justice: ethical and socio-political. The former elements bear the objective-universal character. They are as follows: 1) justice as giving everybody what they rightly deserve, 2) the distinction between commutative justice (based on a mathematical equality), and distributive justice (based on a mere proportional equality). Now the socio-political elements of the Platonic conception of justice are connected with the approval of an authoritarian model of the state. Aristotle, while discussing the idea of justice mainly in the fifth book of his Nicomachean Ethics, distinguished two kinds of justice: general and particular. General justice, being man's internal righteousness, contains other moral virtues. Particular justice denotes a respect for the principles of equality in social relations. Following Plato, Aristotle distinguished commutative justice and distributive justice; the former is realized, for instance, in the act of purchase-sale, the latter in the relationships between the state and its citizens. The Roman thinkers applied the Greek idea of justice to the sphere of law. It was, above all, Ulpianos who did it. He defined justice as a permanent will to give everybody what they deserve.

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