One of the most pressing and recurring issues within Plato’s works is the problem of justice. This is a central theme within Plato’s Republic and brings up issues of morality, duty and politics, as Plato propounds a reform of the political structure and culture in order to construct a new version of humanity centred around the idea of justice. During this essay, I will discuss and elucidate the virtue of justice with reference to the individual and to society, primarily using the Republic but with particular consideration towards Book II, and with additionally mentioning the Gorgias.
I will also evaluate the strength of Plato’s argument to reach the conclusion that …. To understand Plato’s stance on the virtue of justice, we must begin by examining what Plato understood justice to mean. historical context?? Book I of the Republic introduces an exchange between Socrates and Cephalus, with the two discussing what their interpretation of justice would be. we must first understand why it is that he claims justice is something we should strive for. three types of good according to Glaucon to prove that justice is preferable to injustice so it is beneficial to us to act justly.
Through Socrates, Plato began to present ideas on what it means to be just whilst arguing that it is better to suffer wrongdoing than to do wrong oneself quote… (496b-c). He argued this by stating that justice is admirable, whilst, on the other hand, injustice is dishonourable. Next, he characterised admirable things as being either pleasurable, beneficial, or both, yet claimed that justice is often not pleasurable thus it must be beneficial.
Conversely, injustice is shameful as it is either unpleasant, harmful, or both, yet we often derive pleasure from acting unjustly therefore for injustices to be dishonourable, they must be harmful, to all parties involved. Misusing power and negating justice causes harm to those suffering injustice, but mostly to those inflicting it. Peter Adamson argued for this using the example of Caligula: by acting unjustly, Caligula was inflicting pain on everyone nearby, and no one was nearer than Caligula himself. expansion and reference.
His inflicting of injustice led to his eventual assassination, thus reinforcing how damaging it is to not act in a just manner. This therefore means that in order to live happily, it is necessary to understand the virtue of justice and attempt to live by it. However, this defence of virtue produces the issues of whether we should be virtuous provided it benefits us, which contradicts the original claim that it is better to suffer wrongdoing than to do wrong. Further explaining his views on the virtue of justice, Plato tries to relate a virtuous soul to an ideal city; In the dialogue …, Plato has Socrates design an ‘ideal’ city to which Socrates designs a modest city with only necessities. ___ objects to this by pointing out that some luxuries are necessary ______ thus Socrates is forced to expand his city by introducing military for protection purposes. This consequently means that there is a split in society between those who protect, Socrates labels these as the Guardians, and those who are ruled over, laborers.