more from Carneades

Single Idea 21392

[catalogued under 25. Social Practice / D. Justice / 1. Basis of justice]

Full Idea

The same people often changed laws according to circumstances; there is no natural law. There is no such thing as justice or, if there is, it is the height of folly, since a man injures himself in taking thought for the advantage of others.

Gist of Idea

People change laws for advantage; either there is no justice, or it is a form of self-injury


report of Carneades (fragments/reports [c.174 BCE]) by Lactantius - Institutiones Divinae 5.16.4

Book Reference

Long,A.A.: 'Hellenistic Philosophy' [Duckworth 1986], p.104

A Reaction

[An argument used by Carneades on his notorious 156BCE visit to Rome, where he argued both for and against justice] This is probably the right wing view of justice. Why give other people what they want, if it is at our expense?