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And next, are cases of being unjustly dealt with to be ruled all one way as every act of unjust dealing is voluntary? or may we say that some cases are voluntary and some involuntary?

Similarly also as regards being justly dealt with: all just acting is voluntary, so that it is fair to suppose that the being dealt with unjustly or justly must be similarly opposed, as to being either voluntary or involuntary.

Now as for being justly dealt with, the position that every case of this is voluntary is a strange one, for some are certainly justly dealt with without their will. The fact is a man may also fairly raise this question, whether in every case he who has suffered what is unjust is therefore unjustly dealt with, or rather that the case is the same with suffering as it is with acting; namely that in both it is possible to participate in what is just, but only accidentally. Clearly the case of what is unjust is similar: for doing things in themselves unjust is not identical with acting unjustly, nor is suffering them the same as being unjustly dealt with. So too of acting justly and being justly dealt with, since it is impossible to be unjustly dealt with unless some one else acts unjustly or to be justly dealt with unless some one else acts justly.

Now if acting unjustly is simply “hurting another voluntarily” (by which I mean, knowing whom you are hurting, and wherewith, and how you are hurting him), and the man who fails of self-control voluntarily hurts himself, then this will be a case of being voluntarily dealt unjustly with, and it will be possible for a man to deal unjustly with himself. (This by the way is one of the questions raised, whether it is possible for a man to deal unjustly with himself.) Or again, a man may, by reason of failing of self-control, receive hurt from another man acting voluntarily, and so here will be another case of being unjustly dealt with voluntarily. [Sidenote: 1136]

The solution, I take it, is this: the definition of being unjustly dealt with is not correct, but we must add, to the hurting with the knowledge of the person hurt and the instrument and the manner of hurting him, the fact of its being against the wish of the man who is hurt.

So then a man may be hurt and suffer what is in itself unjust voluntarily, but unjustly dealt with voluntarily no man can be: since no man wishes to be hurt, not even he who fails of self-control, who really acts contrary to his wish: for no man wishes for that which he does not think to be good, and the man who fails of self-control does not what he thinks he ought to do.

And again, he that gives away his own property (as Homer says Glaucus gave to Diomed, “armour of gold for brass, armour worth a hundred oxen for that which was worth but nine”) is not unjustly dealt with, because the giving rests entirely with himself; but being unjustly dealt with does not, there must be some other person who is dealing unjustly towards him.

With respect to being unjustly dealt with then, it is clear that it is not voluntary.

There remain yet two points on which we purposed to speak: first, is he chargeable with an unjust act who in distribution has given the larger share to one party contrary to the proper rate, or he that has the larger share? next, can a man deal unjustly by himself?

In the first question, if the first-named alternative is possible and it is the distributor who acts unjustly and not he who has the larger share, then supposing that a person knowingly and willingly gives more to another than to himself here is a case of a man dealing unjustly by himself; which, in fact, moderate men are thought to do, for it is a characteristic of the equitable man to take less than his due.

Is not this the answer? that the case is not quite fairly stated, because of some other good, such as credit or the abstract honourable, in the supposed case the man did get the larger share. And again, the difficulty is solved by reference to the definition of unjust dealing: for the man suffers nothing contrary to his own wish, so that, on this score at least, he is not unjustly dealt with, but, if anything, he is hurt only.

It is evident also that it is the distributor who acts unjustly and not the man who has the greater share: because the mere fact of the abstract Unjust attaching to what a man does, does not constitute unjust action, but the doing this voluntarily: and voluntariness attaches to that quarter whence is the origination of the action, which clearly is in the distributor not in the receiver. And again the term doing is used in several senses; in one sense inanimate objects kill, or the hand, or the slave by his master’s bidding; so the man in question does not act unjustly but does things which are in themselves unjust.

1137a] Again, suppose that a man has made a wrongful award in ignorance; in the eye of the law he does not act unjustly nor is his awarding unjust, but yet he is in a certain sense: for the Just according to law and primary or natural Just are not coincident: but, if he knowingly decided unjustly, then he himself as well as the receiver got the larger share, that is, either of favour from the receiver or private revenge against the other party: and so the man who decided unjustly from these motives gets a larger share, in exactly the same sense as a man would who received part of the actual matter of the unjust action: because in this case the man who wrongly adjudged, say a field, did not actually get land but money by his unjust decision.

Now men suppose that acting Unjustly rests entirely with themselves, and conclude that acting Justly is therefore also easy. But this is not really so; to have connection with a neighbour’s wife, or strike one’s neighbour, or give the money with one’s hand, is of course easy and rests with one’s self: but the doing these acts with certain inward dispositions neither is easy nor rests entirely with one’s self. And in like way, the knowing what is Just and what Unjust men think no great instance of wisdom because it is not hard to comprehend those things of which the laws speak. They forget that these are not Just actions, except accidentally: to be Just they must be done and distributed in a certain manner: and this is a more difficult task than knowing what things are wholesome; for in this branch of knowledge it is an easy matter to know honey, wine, hellebore, cautery, or the use of the knife, but the knowing how one should administer these with a view to health, and to whom and at what time, amounts in fact to being a physician.

From this very same mistake they suppose also, that acting Unjustly is equally in the power of the Just man, for the Just man no less, nay even more, than the Unjust, may be able to do the particular acts; he may be able to have intercourse with a woman or strike a man; or the brave man to throw away his shield and turn his back and run this way or that. True: but then it is not the mere doing these things which constitutes acts of cowardice or injustice (except accidentally), but the doing them with certain inward dispositions: just as it is not the mere using or not using the knife, administering or not administering certain drugs, which constitutes medical treatment or curing, but doing these things in a certain particular way.

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