The theme of Justice in The Republic “The Republic” by Plato is considered to be a Socratic dialogue finished in 390 BC. In what is considered one of the most valuable pieces of work of Plato tries to answer questions such as: why should people do good things? Or other questions like: are people rewarded for doing bad things? However he also treats other themes as the theory of forms, the immortality of the soul and the roles of the philosopher and of poetry in society.
But what we shall explore is how he develops the theme of Justice, describe his Just state and finally reflect on this Just state. The theme of Justice however is first presented in Book 1; which is composed of a discussion mainly between Socrates, Cephalic, Polymerases, Trashcan. The goal of this discussion is to define what Justice really is. Firstly Cephalic suggests that justice involves nothing more than telling the truth and repaying one’s debts. But Socrates proves him wrong with a counter-example that shows that following this rule could end up being disastrous.
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For instance, if you give back a a borrowed weapon to a madman, you would therefore put in danger lives. Subsequently Capsule’s son Polymerases offers another definition that Justice is that you owe friends help, and you owe enemies harm. Socrates here points out that, Justice can never be used to produce harm on anyone. Socrates then asks Polymerases to define what a friend and enemy is. This proves that Polymerases’ view is untrue as he classifies interaction between people between people on a very simple thesis. Finally Socrates proves that doing harm to anyone is creating injustice s why would we create Justice if to be unjust.
Therefore there is no reason to be unjust if you there is Justice. At this point returning debts owed and helping friends while harming enemies are all definitions of Justice that Socrates show to be inadequate and lack of complexity. In the dialogue Plato then introduces Treacherous the sophist, who says that we regard Justice as the advantage of the stronger; those in who have power Just use the might to impose what shall be right. But evidently has to refute his premise. Socrates argues that the best ruler is the one that knows how to rule.
But since to be a good ruler you must have an external goal, good rulers must therefore rule for that goal and not for their own interest. Thus good rulers must do what’s good for those who have put him in that position of power. Refuted by Socrates, Treacherous shifts the focus of the debate, if Socrates happens to be right about the natures of Justice, the it is evident that a life devoted to injustice if more profitable that one devoted to justice. Surely, one would prefer to profit by committing an act of injustice, that suffering one. Thus, for him, injustice is better that Justice. Some evident answer moms to mind.
For instance that Just people are regarded as superior to unjust as they are thought to be more intelligent and have a more powerful character. Every human soul. We then reach to the end of Book 1 without a determined definition and idea of Justice. In Book 2 Glaucoma starts explaining that he has separated all goods in three classes: things that we desire only for their consequences, such as physical training and medical treatment; things that we desire only for their own sake, such as Joy; and, the highest class, things we desire both for their own sake and for what we get from hem, such as knowledge, sight, and health.
What Glaucoma and the rest want is Socrates to prove that Justice is not only desirable, but that it belongs to the highest class of desirable things, those that desired both for their own sake and their consequences. Glaucoma says that in general people say Justice would be in the first group, as a necessary evil, which we allow ourselves to suffer in order to avoid the greater evil that we could suffer from. Justice comes from human weakness and vulnerability. We have all done a social agreement to be Just between us so that we don’t suffer from ACH other’s injustices.
Since we can all suffer from each other’s injustices, we make a social contract agreeing to be Just to one another. We only Justice because we know we would suffer worse without it. Justice is not something practiced for its own sake but something one engages in out of fear and weakness. To emphasize his point, Glaucoma relates the legend of Gages who has a ring which gave him the power to be invisible. With this ring Gages is able to be unjust without being caught. Then no one denies that even the most Just man would take advantage of that power and be unjust.
Evidently people will be unjust as it will procure them more pleasures and therefore leading an unjust life is more pleasant than a Just one. However this legend proves that people are Just Just because they fear of being caught and being punished. However his brother Attendants, adds to Glaucoma’s argument that no one advocates Justice for their own interest, but because you shall be rewarded in this life as in your after life and because a Just man will be honored and have a great reputation. Attendants then challenges Socrates to prove that being Just is something good in itself and not a way to get something good.
Socrates responds that it might be useful to Attendants and Glaucoma to understand what Justice is if they looked not only in the person, but on a larger scale. Firstly looking in the cities to find out what it really is, and then examining in the individual and comparing the big idea to the smaller one. Although Plat’s definition of definition isn’t clearly stated, we can still find some versions of it. For instance, Plato constantly refers to Justice back to the condition of the state for which it is created.
Plato points out that for him Justice isn’t a virtue within the city, suggesting that it doesn’t exist in the human soul either; however it is more the result of a well ordered soul. Plato then separates people into three groups: will be able to create the orders of the rulers and the workers will be able to obey these laws. The society will then be Just. Plato subsequently says that if this account ends up by being useful for the given task, the soul of the individual had better be agreeing in a direct sense with the city. In that case the city and the soul would be responding.
However for this isomorphism to take place, the soul must be in a state of psychic harmony with each part doing its appointed task and obeying when it must obey. It is also possible to deduce another interpretation of Plato to Glaucoma and Attendants which gives reason to why a state would be formed. If people group together, they would be able to benefit from a division of work. This is shown when he defines Justice as “working at that which he is naturally best suited”. Furthermore people would be willing to help each other as everyone would be good at a specific ask which would therefore benefit both.
However this would cause mutual dependency. That is why Plato believes humans band together, but also to avoid personal harm. Personally, I agree with Plat’s Just state as I find it is the way that humanity will work together in the most peaceful and efficient manner. It is evident in my opinion that you need a leader to govern and impose the laws as you need some type of organization in a state if not you would find yourself in chaos and it is important for these leaders to be the ones with education and therefore most prepared.
You need omen with sufficient background and knowledge but also rationality to be able to organize such a complex thing as a state in its benefit. Furthermore in my opinion it is important, as Plato also agrees that you need many leaders. Having many leaders will give more knowledge and more points of view to take decisions. Additionally having one only leader would increase the risk of having a bad decision, which would put in danger the Justness of the state. However in my opinion democracy would be very important as a state is the state of the people and it is only Just if they have the rower to decide who shall govern them.
Dividing the people into the different groups I think is also very important as there three major tasks to perform and not everyone can do each task but everyone should do what they are best at in accordance to the importance of the. For instance the elite, must be in charge of the most important and must intellectually-required and most rational task which is governing. Then evidently there is need of soldiers as you always need a defense to protect your state and the workers who each specialist in what they are best at to increase the productivity of the state.