Philosophy: Exposition and Interpretation


Relationship between Ethics and Politics


In this passage, Aristotle argues how justice brings happiness. Aristotle seems to be responding to Plato’s quest for studying the differences between just and unjust people. The passage shows how good differs from bad. This discussion will show how good or bad relate to justice and the way Plato presents his argument. Moreover, it will support one side of the argument using Aristotle’s philosophy.


 The passage differentiates virtue from justice. It compares the character of a just and unjust person. Furthermore, it distinguishes lawful from unlawful acts and relates them to justice. It outlines the concerns of an unjust person. It shows how he is only concerned with things, which benefit him without sufficient knowledge. It shows his self-centeredness and selfishness in making choices between good with bad things. The way in which these choices are made shows why he is unfair. It shows how laws affect a man and relates them to his character. It explains the reasons that make justice a virtue despite differences in definition. Conclusive descriptions of an unjust man are compared to definitions of a just man. This shows how the latter is well off as compared to the former.

Aristotle holds firm position in showing that just people are better off compared to unjust people.[1] The philosophy is in favor of Plato’s argument of a just over an unjust way of life. The passage claims that a just man is happy and joyful.[2] In the past, communities believed that blessings were bestowed on people if they did good deeds. A curse, on the other hand, came because of ill mannerisms. Furthermore, they believed that blessings brought happiness to a person.

Definitions of a just and an unjust person support the claim. A just person chooses what is beneficial to themselves and others. Unjust people think of themselves first before doing anything, whether good or bad. They think of ways in which something could yield personal benefits, when the situation is not entirely favorable. This shows ways in which unjust people make poor choices. This puts a just man at an advantage because he is protected from the consequences of making bad choices.

Unjust people are portrayed as unfair according to the passage. They always want to have most parts of the good and least of the bad in situations. However, just people practice equality and rational thinking amongst others in all situations. They make good decisions that have a positive impact on society. This earns them more respect and recognition as compared to unjust people.

A just man is someone who obeys the law. Laws are known to be a set of rules and regulations followed by people to maintain good morals within society. On the other hand, unjust people are defined as people who do not obey the law. Lawbreakers have a massive burden on them as compared to law-abiding people. This is because breaking the law has negative consequences, for example, serving time in prison.

People who follow all laws are said to be just. Laws are made to shape up people’s morals and character. It does so by imposing rules that have to be followed. When rules are followed, they build someone’s character. Unjust people do not follow all rules for justice. This makes them people of poor character and moral instability.

Justice is known to be the most powerful virtue. This is because laws cover all aspects of life and support an entire society.[3] Just people exercise justice. If people follow these laws, it shows that they are mindful of others. Furthermore, it builds up on all virtues of life. Just people respect and put others considerations to heart. An unjust person is incapable of having justice. Their judgment is impaired making it hard to respect others. Other people in the society do not value these people and as a result, they are secluded.

Ethics and political philosophy are related. Justice greatly affects politics. This is because any leader, willing to serve effectively, should have the ability to practice virtues towards his people. Efficient leadership entails being ready to serve and defend others, not oneself. People who do not have these virtues are normally deemed unfit to lead a society. Their decisions are based on bias and this hinders growth of a society. Unjust people cannot be considered for positions of power because they will damage the growth of society. It therefore limits them from fulfilling their desires of being leaders

There is a difference between a wicked person and an unjust person. A wicked person does evil to himself and others. An unjust person does evil to others but not himself. A wicked person never develops any virtues because they are involved in breaking the law. Pleasing everyone is extremely difficult. It is hard to be the best person. Being just involves steps, which make someone a better person. Being a better person makes someone happy and enables him or her to co-exist with others.


The differences between unjust and just people are shown in the passage. Furthermore, it shows the different views of justice by just as well as unjust people and the effect of justice on them. The differences are outlined in Plato’s argument of ethics and politics. It is evident according to the discussions that justice always prevails. Aristotle’s philosophy therefore favors the just man.


Aristotle, & Ostwald, Martin. Nicomachean Ethics. Indianapolis [Ind.]: Bobbs-Merrill, 1962.

Clayton, Edward. “Aristotle: Politics.” Internet Encyclopedia for Philosophy: A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource. Published on February 10, 2004. Last modified on July 27, 2005.

Brickhouse, Thomas. & Smith, D. Nicholas. “Plato (427-347 BCE).” Internet Encyclopedia for Philosophy: A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource. Published on April 21, 2005. Last modified on May 9, 2009.

[1] Aristotle, & Martin Ostwald, Nicomachean Ethics (Indianapolis [Ind.]: Bobbs-Merrill, 1962), 114.

[2] Edward Clayton, “Aristotle: Politics,” Internet Encyclopedia for Philosophy: A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource, Published on February 10, 2004, Last modified on July 27, 2005,

[3] Thomas Brickhouse, & Nicholas D. Smith, “Plato (427-347 BCE),” Internet Encyclopedia for Philosophy: A Peer-Reviewed Academic Resource, Published on April 21, 2005, Last modified on May 9, 2009,

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