Front Page Titles (by Subject) QUESTION LVIII.: OF JUSTICE. 1 - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2)
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QUESTION LVIII.: OF JUSTICE. 1 - St. Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2) 
Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas. A Translation of the Principal Portions of the Second part of the Summa Theologica, with Notes by Joseph Rickaby, S.J. (London: Burns and Oates, 1892).
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Article I.—Is justice aptly defined to be a standing and abiding will to give every one his due?
R. In the definition of justice, the first thing set down is will, to show that the act of justice ought to be voluntary; then standing and abiding is added, to mark the firmness of the act. And therefore the above is a complete definition of justice, except that the act of willing is put for the habit. And if any one wished to reduce it to the proper form of a definition, he might say that justice is a habit, whereby with a standing and abiding will one gives every one his due.
Article II.—Is justice always to another?
R. The name of justice implies an equality, and therefore justice is essentially to another: for nothing is equal to itself, but to another. And because it belongs to justice to rectify human acts, the equality that justice requires must be between different agents. Now actions are the actions of substances and wholes, not properly of parts and forms, or powers; for it is not properly said that the hand strikes, but the man with the hand; nor is it properly said that heat warms, but the fire through the heat. The other expressions are used, but they are analogical. Justice therefore, properly so called, requires a diversity between those who are parties to it; and holds consequently only of one man in relation to another. But analogically, we may take for different agents different principles of action in one and the same man, as reason, and the irascible faculty, and the concupiscible; and therefore, metaphorically, justice is said to obtain in one and the same man, inasmuch as reason rules the irascible and concupiscible faculties, and they obey reason, and generally inasmuch as to every part of man there is assigned its proper office. Hence the Philosopher styles this, justice metaphorically so-called.1
§ 4. The behaviour of a man in regard of himself is sufficiently rectified by the rectification of the passions, which is the work of the other moral virtues; but the behaviour of one man towards another man needs a special rectification, not in relation to the agent only, but likewise in relation to the other person with whom he deals. And therefore there is a special virtue concerned with that behaviour, namely, justice.
Article IV.—Is the will the subject of justice?
R. That power is the subject of justice, to the rectification of whose acts justice is directed. Now justice is not directed to the guidance of any cognitive act; for we are not called just for the fact of our knowing anything correctly. And therefore the subject of justice is not the intellect or reason, which is a cognitive power. But because we are called just in this that we do a thing rightly, and the proximate principle of action is the appetitive faculty, some portion of the appetitive faculty must be the subject of justice. Now the appetitive faculty is twofold: the will, which is in the reason; and the sensitive appetite that follows the apprehension of sense, which sensitive appetite is divided into irascible and concupiscible. But the rendering to every one of his own cannot proceed from the sensitive appetite; because the apprehension of sense does not extend to the consideration of the proportion of one thing to another: that is proper to reason. Hence neither the irascible nor the concupiscible faculty can be the subject of justice, but the will alone.
Article V.—Is justice a general virtue?
R. Justice directs a man in his relations with another. That may be either with another in his individual aspect, or with another in general, inasmuch as he who serves a community serves all the human beings who are comprised in that community. Justice in its proper essence may deal with either of these objects. All who are comprised in a community stand to the community as parts to the whole. Now all that the part is, belongs to the whole; hence everything good in the part is referable to the good of the whole. In this way then the goodness of every virtue, whether it directs a man in regard of himself, or directs him in regard of other individuals, is referable to the general good to which justice leads. And thus the acts of all the virtues may belong to justice, as that directs a man to the general good; and in this respect justice is called a general virtue. And because it is the office of law to direct a people to the general good, hence the above-described general justice is styled legal justice, because by it man keeps accord with the law that directs acts of all the virtues to the general good.
Article VI.—Is justice, inasmuch as it is a general virtue, essentially identical with all virtue?
R. The word general may be taken in two ways. One way is the way of logical predication, as animal is a general term with respect to man and horse. What is general in this way, must be identical in essence with the things about which it is general; because the genus belongs to the essence of the species, and is included in the definition of the same. A thing is otherwise called general in the way of efficiency. Thus a universal cause is general in reference to all its effects, as the sun in reference to all bodies that are illuminated or changed by its virtue. What is general in this way, need not be identical in essence with the objects in respect whereof it is general: because the essence of the effect and of the cause is not the same. In this latter way legal justice is said to be a general virtue, inasmuch as it directs the acts of the other virtues to its own end, or sets in motion by its command all the other virtues. For as charity may be called a general virtue, inasmuch as it directs the acts of all the other virtues to the good that is in God; so may legal justice also be called general, as it directs the acts of all the virtues to the good of the commonwealth. As then charity is a special virtue in its essence, regarding as its proper object the good that is in God; so also is legal justice a special virtue in its essence, and regards as its special object the good of the commonwealth. And thus legal justice is in the sovereign principally and after the manner of a master-craft, but secondarily and subordinately in the subject. Legal justice then is a virtue, special in its essence, general in its efficacy.
Any virtue however, inasmuch as it is directed thereby to the good of the commonwealth, may be called legal justice; and in this wide sense legal justice is identical in essence with all virtue, but differs in the consideration of the mind.1
Article VII.—Besides general, is there any particular justice?
R. Legal justice is not essentially all virtue: but besides legal justice, that directs men immediately to the good of the commonwealth, there must be other virtues that direct them immediately in the matter of private good, touching either a man’s own self or his relation to some other individual. For the right ordering of a man within himself, we require the particular virtues of temperance and fortitude: so also, besides legal justice, there must be some particular justice, rightly to order a man in matters that touch another private individual.
Article VIII.—Has particular justice any special subject-matter?
R. All things whatever that can be set right by reason, are the subject-matter of moral virtue. Now the interior passions of the soul, and exterior actions, and exterior things that come under the use of man, are all capable of being set right by reason. The rectification of a man within himself involves attention to interior passions. But the relation of one man to another is by exterior actions, and by exterior things that men can share one with another. And therefore, since justice is in relation to another, it does not embrace the whole subject-matter of moral virtue, but exterior actions only, and exterior things, inasmuch as one man thereby has dealings with another.
Article IX.—Does justice deal with the passions?
R. The true answer to this question is evident from two considerations; first from considering the subject of justice, which is the will, the motions of which power are not passions; only the motions of the sensitive appetite are termed passions; and therefore justice does not deal with the passions, as do temperance and fortitude, which are found in the concupiscible and irascible faculties respectively. In another way the answer appears from the consideration of the subject-matter: for the matter of justice is our dealings with our neighbour; now it is not by the passions that we are brought into immediate relation with our neighbour.1
Article XI.—Is it the act of justice to render to every man his own?
R. The subject-matter of justice is exterior conduct, inasmuch as the conduct itself, or the thing that we make use of therein, is proportioned to another person, to whom we have relations of justice. Now that is said to be every person’s own, which is due to him on the principle of proportionate equality.2 And therefore the proper act of justice is nothing else than to render to every one his own.
[1 ]Ethics and Natural Law, pp. 102—108. (Trl.)
[1 ]This is aimed at the account of justice given by Plato, Rep. 443, 444. (Trl.)
[1 ]See Ethics and Natural Law, pp. 103, 104. (Trl.)
[1 ]Article x. repeats the doctrine of I-II. q. 64. art. 2. (Trl.)
[2 ]The principle of τὸ [Editor: illegible character]σον τὸ ὰντιπεπονθός, which Aristotle (Politics, II. ii. 4.) says “is the saving of society.”