Aristotle and Theories of Justice by Delba Winthrop

Winthrop, Delba. "Aristotle and Theories of Justice." American Political Science Review, Vol. 72, No. 4 Dec. 1978.


“Today it is all the rage for political theorists and even philosophers to have theories of justice. Looking back on the history of political thought, we cannot help but notice that not all previous philosophers have taken justice and theories of justice so seriously. Among those who did not was Aristotle. To be sure, he had a theory of justice, and from this fact we might infer that he thought it necessary to have one. But I shall presently argue, primarily from Aristotle’s treatment of the problem in the Nicomachean Ethics,¬†that Aristotle thought all theories of justice, including his own, to be unsatisfactory. In his opinion, a politics that understands its highest purpose as justice and a political science that attempts to comprehend all political phenomena within a theory of justice are¬†practically and theoretically unsound.”