Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 5, Chapter 10 (1137a32-1138a34)

By Aristotle

Book 5, Chapter 10 (1137a32-1138a34)

  • On to equity and the equitable. Aristotle says that the equitable is superior to the just—though they're both in the same category.
  • Therefore, it's not wrong to say that the equitable is also what is just.
  • The difficulty? That which is equitable isn't always what's just according to the law.
  • Because the general law may not address a particular case adequately, we need what's equitable to correct it.
  • So equity arises when there's a correction of a law to address what's lacking because it's too general.
  • The law in Aristotle's day has recourse to decrees that bring about equity, since they can be applied to a specific situation when it arises.
  • An equitable person will choose just action and correct the law when it's not perfect in its justice. He'll even take less for himself if he sees that it'll restore social balance.