JUSTICE (French, justice, Latin, justitia), one of the cardinal virtues of the Greeks and the Romans. It seems to have been a person ification of social and moral duty, that is, of the moral law, which might or might not cor respond with the temporal law. Justice was the highest idea of the correct bearing of all the members of a community to tine another and of the law of the state to the individuals constituting its population. An action or con dition might be legally right and morally wrong, as the holding of slaves, the torturing of pris oners taken in war, the exactions often made by the ruling classes upon the peasantry, the persecution of the members of one sect by those of another. The customs, conditions and laws of states and communities change with the changing times; but Justice remains the same in all ages and among all peoples, since it is based neither upon man's conception of what justice really is nor upon his administration, of what he calls justice, but upon the intrinsic and inherent rights of all, born of the social equality of all before the law. Thus the ancient conception of justice, carried to its natural conclusion, was purely democratic; and among the philosophers it maintained this complexion even in the most autocratic periods in the life of Greece and Rome. But as the conception of Justice as one of the graces was largely academic, autocracy had little to fear from it. Yet to this per sistent personification of Justice later democ racy owes much of its ability to state concisely clearly its position as champion of the rights and obligations of humanity as a whole. The conception of absolute justice as the secur ing to humanity security of possessions, free dom of action and the right•to realize expecta tions in so far as these do not conflict with similar rights and privileges of the community as a whole is not new. It is as old, at least,
as the struggle of the upper and the lower classes in Rome, and .probably much older; but it has remained for the present age to analyze more closely the attributes, functions and field of action of ideal justice, which, from the very fact of its being ideal, is never fully attainable, since there is and cannot be any such a thing as absolute justice, the adminis tration of which would presuppose absolute per fection in the human race. Justice, as an ideal virtue (or as the personification of such), is i therefore an aim in the administration of the law to be continuously striven •for with the hope of getting constantly nearer to it; but also with the moral certainty of never ultimately reaching it in this world. See ETHICS.
Alexander, 'Moral Order and Progress' (London 1899) ; Albee, 'History of En ish Utilitarianism' (London 1902) ; Aristotle, e, (Nicomachean Ethics' (Peters' trans lation, London 1::1; Willdon's, Loi.don 1997) ; Hegel, 'Philosophy of Rights' (London 1896) ; Hobbes, 'Human Nature' (1650) ; Hume, 'Treatise of Human Nature' (1740); 'Enquiry Concerning the Principles of "Morals) (1751); Plato, 'Republic) ( Towett's translation, London 1893) ; Santayana, 'The Life of (New York 1905) Sidgwick, 'The Methods of Ethics' (Oxford 1893) • Spencer, 'Principles of Ethics' (London 1879-'93) ; Sutherland, 'Origin and Growth of the Moral Instinct' (London 1898) ,• Westermarck, 'Origin and Development of Moral (London 1908).