Four Theses: Preliminary to an Appeal to Equity

45 Pages Posted: 25 May 2006 Last revised: 14 Nov 2012

See all articles by Darien Shanske

Darien Shanske

University of California, Davis - School of Law


This Note aims to enable better appeals to equity through advancing four theses about the history and the concept of equity. The four theses are as follows:

1) Aristotle's account of equity (epieikeia) has been received into the western legal tradition many times and this reception is ongoing today.

2) Aristotelian equity is not primarily legal.

3) There is no unified concept of equity.

4) The primary aspects of equity have metaphysical grounds.

Because there is neither a unified concept nor a direct evolutionary history nor a simple account, i.e. Aristotle's, which would allow one to bypass the confused reality of the tradition, appealing to equity is more fraught than is commonly recognized. Equity should be appealed to, but only after it is clear what aspect of equity is being discussed and in what broader context. This Note catalogs nineteen different aspects of equity and ends with a brief consideration of various contemporary and near-contemporary treatments of equity, including those of Kant and Hegel.

Keywords: Aristotle, equity, epieikeia, hegel, kant,

Suggested Citation

Shanske, Darien, Four Theses: Preliminary to an Appeal to Equity. Stanford Law Review, Vol. 57, p. 2053, 2005. Available at SSRN:

Darien Shanske (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

400 Mrak Hall Dr
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201

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