Aristotle is one of the most famous philosophers of all time, and his ideas on equity, law, and justice are still studied and debated today. In this article, Beever (2004) explores some of the critical ideas that Aristotle presents on these topics. According to Beever (2004), Aristotle argues that there are three types of law: natural, divine, and human. Natural law is based on the nature of things and is universal and unchanging. Natural law is the idea that a higher law governs all of nature, including human beings. This higher law is not created by humans but is something inherent in the universe. Aristotle believed that natural law was the most important law because it was the law that all other laws should be based on. Divine law is based on God’s will and is therefore universal and unchanging. Human law is based on society’s conventions and is changeable. Aristotle argues that justice is a virtue and that it consists in giving each person their due. He argues that there are two types of justice: distributive justice, which deals with the distribution of goods and benefits, and corrective justice, which deals with the punishment of wrongdoers. Aristotle believed that justice was a fundamental goal of the law. Justice is the idea of giving each person what they deserve, whether punishment or reward. Aristotle believed that justice was not always possible but was something to strive for. According to the author, Aristotle argues that the best form of government is one in which the rulers are virtuous and the laws are.
Aristotle’s Definition of Equity
According to Beever (2004), Aristotle defines equity as the correction of law where it is deficient owing to its generality. Some examples provided by the author to illustrate these ideas on equity include situations where the letter of the law would produce an unjust result or where there is no law governing a particular situation. Equity is thus concerned with achieving justice in cases where the law is either deficient or nonexistent. Aristotle believed that equity is a higher form of justice than the mere observance of the law because it considers each case’s particular circumstances and seeks to produce a just result. This is in contrast to the law, which is general and abstract, and thus often fails to produce justice in individual cases. Equity is thus concerned with achieving justice in cases where the law is either deficient or nonexistent. This includes situations where the letter of the law would produce an unjust result or where there is no law governing a particular situation. In such cases, equity seeks to correct the law to produce a just result. Aristotle’s idea of equity is thus based on the notion that the law is often inadequate to achieve justice in all cases and that equity is necessary to fill the gaps where the law fails. This makes equity a higher form of justice than the law because it is based on a more comprehensive understanding of what is and what is not.
Overall, I agree with the author’s presentation of Aristotle’s ideas on equity. The examples given help illustrate Aristotle’s point that equity is needed to fill in the gaps left by the law. I also think the author’s explanation of how equity can sometimes override the law in cases where the law would produce an unjust result is accurate. These ideas are still relevant today and can be applied in modern legal systems.
Beever, A. (2004). Aristotle on equity, law, and justice. Legal theory, 10(1), 33-50