I. Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα ὑπὲρ ἐπιεικείας δέοι ἂν τὴν1 1198 b 25ἐπίσκεψιν ποιήσασθαι, τί τέ ἐστι καὶ ἐν τίσι καὶ περὶ ποῖα. ἔστιν δὲ ἡ ἐπιείκεια καὶ ὁ ἐπιεικὴς ὁ ἐλαττωτικὸς τῶν δικαίων τῶν κατὰ νόμον. ἃ γὰρ ὁ νομοθέτης ἐξαδυνατεῖ καθ᾿ ἕκαστα ἀκριβῶς διορίζειν, ἀλλὰ καθόλου λέγει, ὁ ἐν τούτοις παραχωρῶν, καὶ ταῦθ᾿ αἱρούμενος ἃ ὁ νομοθέτης ἐβούλετο 30μὲν τῷ1 καθ᾿ ἕκαστα διορίσαι, οὐκ ἠδυνήθη δέ, ὁ τοιοῦτος ἐπιεικής. οὐκ ἔστιν δὲ ἐλαττωτικὸς τῶν δικαίων ἁπλῶς· τῶν μὲν γὰρ φύσει καὶ ὡς ἀληθῶς ὄντων δικαίων οὐκ ἐλαττοῦται, ἀλλὰ τῶν κατὰ νόμον, ἃ ὁ νομοθέτης ἐξαδυνατῶν ἀπέλιπεν.
II. Ἡ δὲ εὐγνωμοσύνη καὶ ὁ εὐγνώμων ἐστὶν περὶ1 35ταὐτὰ περὶ ἃ καὶ ἡ ἐπιείκεια, περὶ τὰ δίκαια [καὶ] τὰ ἐλλελειμμένα ὑπὸ τοῦ νομοθέτου τῷ μὴ ἀκριβῶς διωρίσθαι, κριτικὸς ὢν τῶν ἐλλελειμμένων ὑπὸ τοῦ νομοθέτου, καὶ γιγνώσκων ὅτι ὑπὸ μὲν τοῦ νομοθέτου ἐλλέλειπται, ἔστι μέντοι δίκαια, ὁ τοιοῦτος 1199 aεὐγνώμων.
Ἔστι μὲν οὖν οὐκ ἄνευ ἐπιεικείας ἡ εὐγνωμοσύνη·
(Nic. V. = Eud. IV. x.)
1I. We must now discuss Equity or Considerateness:Equity. its nature, its field and province. Now Equity, and the equitable or considerate man, are distinguished by readiness to take less than their just legal right. Where the lawgiver is unable to make nice distinctions, but lays down broad general rules, a man who there stands aside, and is content with what the lawgiver would have assigned him had he been able to distinguish individual cases, is an equitable man. He is not indeed one who always waives the fulfilment of his just claims; what is naturally and essentially just, he does not waive, but only such legal claims as the lawgiver was obliged to leave unqualified.
Nic. VI.=Eud. V. xi.)
1II. Discrimination,a and the man who possesses it,Discrimination. are concerned with the same matters as Equity; namely with those rights which the lawgiver has left insufficiently distinguished. Of such rights the discriminating man has a keen appreciation. He recognizes that the lawgiver has passed them over, but that they are none the less rights. Such a man we call discriminating.
Discrimination, then, is closely associated with
- aGrant and Rackham translate by “Considerateness”; a word which bears a moral connotation that seems better to fit ἐπιείκεια. The ἐπιεικής has not only γνώμη but also συγγνώμη; perhaps “Consideration” might be kept for this latter term. (In Nic. VI. xi. 1, I would suggest, following the lead of Trendelenburg and Stewart—ἡ δὲ [συγγνώμη] γνώμη ἐστὶ κριτικὴ τοῦ ἐπιεικοῦς [ὀρθή]· ὀρθὴ δ᾿ ἡ τοῦ ἀληθοῦς).