"WE come now to justice. A specific habit differs from a specific faculty or science, as each of the latter covers opposites, e.g. the science of health is also the science of sickness; whereas the habit of justice does not cover but is opposed to the habit of injustice. Justice itself is a term used in various senses; and the senses in which injustice is used vary correspondingly. "

Aristotle, 350 BCE.


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1140, "the exercise of authority in vindication of right by assigning reward or punishment,"

Scrolletymology (derivation) of the word:

from Old French justise, from Latin, justitia "righteousness, equity," from justus "upright, just. honorable, laudable, fair."

The Old French –word– had widespread senses, including "uprightness, equity, vindication of right, court of justice, judge."

The word began to be used in England circa 1200 as a title for a judicial officer.




Nicomachean Ethics: Book V



Injustice includes law-breaking, grasping and unfairness. Grasping is taking too much of what is good only; unfairness is concerned with both what is good and what is injurious. But in the legal sense, whatever law lays down is assumed to be just. Law, however, covers the whole field of virtuous action as it affects our neighbours, so that in this general sense justice is an inclusive term equivalent to righteousness. We, however, must confine ourselves to the specific sense of the terms. Grasping is, in fact, included in unfairness, which is the real opposite of specific justice; it includes law-breaking only so far as the law is broken for the sake of gain.

The justice with which we are concerned has two branches: distributive, of honours and the like among citizens by the State, balancingand of private property by contract and agreement; and corrective, the remedying of unfair distribution. There are always two parties, and justice is the mean between the unfairness which favours A and the unfairness which favours B.

Distributive justice takes into consideration the merits of the parties; corrective justice is concerned only with restoring a balance which has been disturbed. The distribution is a question not of equality, but of right proportion; and this applies to retribution, which is recognized as one of its aspects, e.g. the retribution for an officer striking a private and for a private striking an officer. Proportional requital is the economic basis of society, arrived at by the existence of a comparatively unfluctuating currency which provides a criterion.

State of behavior by some authority or agency, "as such, justice is obtained from the law and its administrators; justice is the virtue of the magistrate."

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics: Book V, 350 BCE. Translated by W. D. Ross. MIT Press.

The meaning "the administration of law" is from 1303. Justice of the peace first attested 1320.


The action of creating this title underscores an idea of state authority as a source of power.

In the Mercian hymns, Latin: justitia is glossed (translated) by Old English rehtwisnisse.


Think about these connotations:  






Bowery, photographs by Jacob Riis in the 1890s in New York City .


Environmental Racism is “the systematic exclusion of people of color from environmental decisions affecting their communities.” (Bryant, 1995, p. 5).

To testify, meaning
to give evidence, or bear witness.


     (plural of testes), 1704, from L. testis "testicle,"

usually regarded as a special application of testis "witness"

(consider the word: testament),


presumably because it "bears witness" to virility


(cf. Greek parastates, lit. "one that stands by;" and French slang –moins, lit. "witnesses").

But Buck thinks Greek parastatai "testicles" has been wrongly associated with the legal sense of parastates "supporter, defender" and suggests instead parastatai in the sense of twin "supporting pillars, props of a mast," etc.
Walde, meanwhile, suggests a connection between testis and testa "pot, shell, etc."

"the habit of justice does not cover but is opposed to the habit of injustice."

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