Cicero's Ethics: What Is Justice?

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What is Justice? In Cicero’s book On Obligations, he states that “the primary function of justice is to ensure that no one harms his neighbour unless he has himself been unjustly attacked. Its second concern is that communal property should serve communal interests and that private property private interests,” (9). Using this definition of justice, he is able to relate things that are honorable to things that are useful, which helps him as he writes to his son about what a man is obligated to do in order to be a good citizen. He defines this obligation in two levels as “the highest aim among goods,” (Cicero 5) and “the moral guidance which can shape our daily lives in all their aspects.” (Cicero 5) The issue he comes up with is that when deciding what one is obliged to do, they must decide between doing the honorable or the useful thing. He continues to describe that justice is one of the four “cardinal” virtues that “kindle and fashion the honourable conduct which we seek.” (Cicero 7) He also later goes on to state that anything a man does that is good will be useful to him, and that to do something …show more content…
Friendships are a base need of humans because they are “the alliance between men which the gods have established,” (Cicero93). This means that the gods made it part of our very nature of being that we should do whatever is in our power to be friendly with our neighbors. It is also important that things are not done for purposes with a shameful nature because “justice is not established by opinion but by nature,” (Aßländer 753). Since shameful things are not useful then anything without pure intentions cannot be just. Therefore, if there is a selfish or shameful nature, in something then it cannot be useful because it contradicts the human nature of community and

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