Toward A Better Understanding of Epicurean Justice And Injustice (With Examples of "Just" and "Unjust")

  • Wow! This is a long interesting thread.


    I’m just going to comment on the latter part of “doing no harm”.


    In my opinion the doing of harm relates to intention. But purely the intention of harming someone outside of personal self-defense or preservation. As in assaulting or murdering an innocent person, defrauding them, slandering them...basically hurting the other for the sake of it or for your own benefit.


    Any act of self defense and the intention of defending yourself would fall outside the realm of doing harm, since defending yourself or a loved one is a “natural” act that is in accord with nature. So having a .38 in your nightstand and training to use it is intentional to DO HARM, but since the intention is based in self-defense and that act is natural it would seem to be entirely just.

  • Matt Your comments highlight exactly the points I'm trying to wrap my brain around. It seems to me that Epicurus is making the distinction your looking at but taking them opposites tack:

    He seems to consistently use βλάπτειν (blaptein) to convey "harm" but that seems to be not wilfully http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/h…999.04.0058:entry=bla/ptw

    That word appears to be the opposite of αδικέω literally "not act justly" or to do wrong http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/h…entry=bla/ptw&i=1#lexicon

    Epicurus seems to be trying to take the motivation out of it from my reading. That's why he has to define "justice" as "not doing harm and not being harmed" regardless of the motivation of the actor.

    Still struggling... Open to ideas!

  • Yes I DEFINITELY think it's relevant. Two notes:


    (1) I edited Godfrey's post to put a link to make PD14 a link to the text.


    (2) And that reminds me that it would be very easy to add the PD's into the "lexicon" feature so that every time someone rights PDXX the text is converted into a link into that exact text. That would be a neat use of the Lexicon that had escaped me! I'll test that out and we'll see.

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