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International Journal of Legal Discourse

Editor-in-Chief: Cheng, Le

Managing Editor: Sun, Yuxiu

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Justice, fairness and juridical perfectibility

Susan Petrilli
Published Online: 2016-05-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijld-2016-0011


Aristotle had already underlined the importance of the relationship between justice and equity (a term I interpret as synonomous to fairness), which he analysed in great detail. Equity is the term which in the English translation of Aristotle’s works corresponds to epiekes (Greek). A starting point for my paper will be Aristotle’s considerations on the relationship between equity and justice. In English we have “equity,” “impartiality,” “fairness,” “equitableness”. Do we distinguish between these terms? is there any difference? In what follows I discuss equity, or better the relation between equity and justice, treating equity and fairness as the same thing. According to Aristotle equity and justice are neither completely the same nor generically different. If they are different either the just or the equitable is not good; or, if they are both good, they are the same (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Bk. V, Ch. 9, 10, p. 1019). Briefly, we could make the claim that equity (fairness) corrects the tendency that characterizes justice towards abstraction, impartiality and indifference, which in fact constitute the condition of possibility for justice to obtain. Equity opens to singularity, to unreplaceability, to uniqueness, shifting justice from the relation of indifference to the other, to the relation of unindifference to the other, to each and every other considered in his or her absolute unrepeatability.

Keywords: firstness; equity; justice; mercy; otherness; responsibility; semioethics


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About the article

Received: 2015-06-13

Accepted: 2016-02-26

Published Online: 2016-05-19

Published in Print: 2016-04-01

Citation Information: International Journal of Legal Discourse, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 1–22, ISSN (Online) 2364-883X, ISSN (Print) 2364-8821, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijld-2016-0011.

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