1. Reputation in general is the value of persons in the common life,
according to which value they are capable of being placed on an equality with
other persons, or compared with them, and either preferred or postponed to
2. It is divided into the simple and the intensive. Both are considered with
reference to those who live in natural liberty, or to those who live together
in the civil state.
3. Simple reputation, as between those who live in natural liberty, consists
principally in this, that a man show himself, and be regarded as one with whom
men can deal as with a good man, and as one who is ready to live with others
according to the precept of the natural law.
4. And this reputation is maintained intact, so long as a man has not yet
violated the natural law as regards others by some wicked or flagrant deed,
knowingly and purposely, with malice aforethought. Hence also, one is naturally
accounted a good man until the contrary is proved.
5. Reputation of this kind is diminished by flagrant deeds maliciously
perpetrated against the natural law, — deeds which cause the need of
greater circumspection, if one is to deal with such a person. This stain,
however, can be wiped out, by making a voluntary reparation of the damage
caused, and by giving proof of serious repentance.
6. It is likewise utterly destroyed by a manner and mode of life aimed
directly at the promiscuous hurting of others, and at making profit out of the
evident injury of others. So long as men of this type are unwilling to come to
their senses, they can be treated as common enemies by all whom their malice
can in any way touch. Yet these men can recover their reputation, when they
have refunded the damages, or obtained pardon, and giving up a vicious mode of
life, have entered upon one that is honorable.
7. Simple reputation, in the case of those who live in states, means that a
man has not been declared a vicious member of the state, in accordance with its
laws and customs, and that he is considered of some account.
8. It is lost in a state, cither because of one's condition alone, or on
account of crime. The former kind of loss takes place in two ways: when that
condition naturally involves no shame, or else when it is connected with vice,
or at least that assumption. The first of these occurs in some states, where
slaves are of no account; the second obtains with regard to panders, harlots,
and the like, who indeed enjoy the common defense, so long as they are
officially tolerated in the state, but are to be excluded from the company of
honorable men. This also happens to some who are occupied with things loathsome
or vile, though not naturally vicious.
9. By crime, on the other hand, reputation is clearly lost, when according
to the civil laws, and for a certain crime, a man is branded with infamy, and
this whether he is further punished with death, and his memory thus branded, or
he is expelled from the state, or retained in the state, as an infamous and
10. It is plain, moreover, that simple reputation, or natural honor, cannot
be taken away from a man by the mere will of the rulers. For this in no way
makes for the advantage of the state, and so can by no means be understood as a
power bestowed upon the rulers. Thus also a man who executes the orders of the
state, in the capacity of a mere minister, cannot, it seems, contract real
11. Intensive reputation is that by virtue of which persons, otherwise equal
as regards the simple reputation, are preferred to one another, according as
one, more than another, possesses those qualities by which others are prompted
to render honor. And honor is, properly, the expression of our judgment of
12. This intensive reputation can be considered with reference to those who
live in natural liberty, or to the citizens of the same state. We must next
weigh its bases, and in fact according as these produce a mere fitness to
expect honor from others, or a right strictly so-called, by which the honor can
be claimed from others as one's due.
13. The bases of intensive reputation in general are all those things which
involve conspicuous perfection and superiority, or are thought to prove the
same, the effect of this superiority being in harmony with the purpose of the
natural law, or of states. Examples are perspicacity of mind, and the ability
to learn various sciences and arts, a keen judgment in administering affairs, a
mind strong and unshaken from without, superior to temptations and alarms,
eloquence, beauty and dexterity of body, the blessings of fortune, and above
all remarkable achievements.
14. All of these, however, produce merely an imperfect right, that is, a
fitness to receive honor and respect from others. Hence, if a man refuses it to
others, in spite even of their high merits, he does no injury, but is merely in
bad repute for his churlishness and rudeness. But a perfect right to receive
honor from another, or the outward signs of it, is derived either from the
authority which one has over the other, or from an agreement entered into with
him on this point, or from a law made or approved by their common master.
15. But as for princes and whole nations, they usually defend their
preeminence and precedence, by alleging chiefly the antiquity of the kingdom
and the family, the size and wealth of their subject territory, and their
power, also the nature of the power by which the king possesses the authority
in his kingdom, and the splendor of his title. All of these, however, do not in
themselves produce a perfect right to precedence over other kings and nations,
unless this has been acquired by agreement or concession on their part.
16. Among citizens, on the other hand, it is the duty of the ruler to
designate grades of dignity. In this, however, he rightly regards each man's
superiority and fitness to serve the state. And whatever rank he has assigned
to a citizen, the latter has a right to defend against his fellow-citizens, and
he is no less bound to rest content with it himself.