Justice and Ideal Society in Plato’s Republic Essay
According to Thrasymachus what is justice and why would anyone want to be just?
Thrasymachus defines justice as something that gives some advantage to the stronger. He argues that the person in charge of the ruling party is the strongest in each nation. He bases his argument on the fact that those in power are the ones who formulate and pass laws that tend to favor them and give them some advantage over the rest of the people. After those in power have passed the law, they come with an assertion that justice is the act of obeying the law.
According to Thrasymachus, those who fail to obey the set laws of the land are regarded as being unjust and end up being punished for breaking the law. Thrasymachus further emphasizes the fact that justice tends to be relatively similar in all nations because the ruling class in all nations across the world enjoy some advantage over the rest of the people. Since the ruling class is always stronger in a nation, justice can thus be referred to as anything that tends to give some advantage to the stronger in society. Thrasymachus made several conclusions that were aimed at justifying his argument on the definition of justice.
To begin with, he concluded that that justice is found everywhere and will always give some advantage to the stronger. Society consists of the ruling group which is the stronger part and the subjects. The ruling class classes pass laws that give them some advantage and at the same time administer punishment to lawbreakers.
In his explanation of what justice is, Thrasymachus tries to show the relationship between law and justice. By obeying the laws passed by the ruling group, one is referred to as being just and failure to obey the law renders one unjust. All the ruling parties across the world have the same definition of justice which basically emphasizes obedience to the law. Thrasymachus supports the argument that the weak in society should be ruled by the strong in society.
According to him, justice is simply the obedience of the laid down laws and does not go beyond that. According to Thrasymachus, real justice does not exist in the current systems because everything is dictated by the ruling class. The subjects have no choice but to obey laws set by the ruling class without any question. Questioning the law is being unjust and one is bound to be punished by the ruling group by daring to do that.
Thrasymachus argues that the moral values in the society are a complete reflection of the interests of the ruling group and not the society as a whole. Thrasymachus’ definition of justice and his explanation appears to be a realistic one but his ideal view of justice is equal rights and justice for everyone. The fact that the ruling class formulates of their selfish advantage seems unjust. The subjects have no choice but to be just by obeying the laws of the land whether they favor them or not. One should be just to avoid punishment from the ruling group.
What is Plato’s definition of a just person? Is it true that such a person would not do what is wrong?
Plato defines a just person as the one who is able to balance the there elements of the soul harmoniously. The three elements that control the soul of a human being include desire, appetite, and reason. Desire tends to motivate a person and drives them to unleash their full potential. The second element is an appetite which makes one become spirited whereas reason rules one’s desires and appetites.
According to Plato, failure to balance these three elements of the soul leads to failure in achieving justice. According to Plato, justice can only be understood properly in the context of society. Since society is made up of people, a just society will only depend on how just the people belonging to the society are. Plato believes that justice is only done when the needs of the people in the society are met. He advocates for a minimal state that has a lot of benefits in terms of the ability to meet the needs of the people. Plato further argues that this type of state is bound to face some challenges from external people with intentions of robbing the society of its benefits. Plato believes that for justice to prevail, the personal needs of the individual must be met. A just society meets the personal needs of all the people and not a selected few.
Plato argues that in a system where the moral standards are set by the ruling class, the needs of subjects are often neglected. According to Plato, the ruling class should embrace communism for a just society to be realized. The there elements of the soul have a great effect on whether the person will be just or. If a person is driven by desire and appetite alone, without reason, they are bound to be unjust because they will always want everything for themselves. Reason gives a person a sense of care and will always help a person do things for the interest of every.
It is always difficult to have a just society when there are certain classes of people in society who are portrayed as special and stronger. The ruling class will always want to have some advantages at the expense of the common people and in the process and in the process creating an unjust society. According to Plato, a just person is a person who ensures equality for all. According to Plato, individual justice can only be fully explored and understood after understanding what a just society should be like.
Plato disputes Thrasymachus’ argument that being just is simply obeying the law. Plato goes on to clarify that the breaking of the law is a result of inequality in society. According to Plato, a just man commits some mistakes at times but does not disqualify them from being just as long as they stand for equality in society. Plato argues that obedience to law should not be the basis of deciding who is just and who is not because some of the laws were formulated out of the selfish interest of the ruling class.
What are the differences between Plato’s ideal society and our idea of society?
Comparing Plato’s concept of an ideal society and our concept of an ideal society there are quite a number of differences that can be noted. Plato’s ideal society should be a minimal state that has the need for all the people in equal measure. Our ideal society should be maximum with strong leadership to guard it against negative external forces. Plato is of the fact that society can have a luxurious state of the needs of the people are met equally.
Since society will have a division of labor, all the people will be provided with all the luxuries that need by the state. This idea completely differs from our ideal society because if everyone is living a luxurious life; society would stagnate because there would be no other motivation for working and being engaged in economic activities. According to Plato, by limiting the luxuries granted to the people, the state tends to enjoy military protection.
Plato believes in the caste system and argues the limitation of power over luxuries is essential in ensuring that the luxuries are not abused by the people. According to Plato, the security forces such as the military should have limited power on luxuries which is a very challenging thing to implement in our ideal society. According to Plato, the people with the most power in society should have restricted luxuries. In our ideal society, it is meaningless to have power if one is not able to enjoy the luxuries and privileges that come with it.
Plato prescribes a very rigorous system of selecting employees and those to be in power by ensuring that those selected are properly educated are well suited for their roles and the power gained would not be abused. Plato suggests this kind of criteria in selecting leaders to ensure that those aspiring to lead the state are not motivated by power and luxuries. In our ideal society, the idea of wanting lead is motivated by either the power associated with it or the luxuries that come with it.
Many people pretend that they are not motivated by these two factors but in the real sense, they are major factors. Plato’s ideal society does not allow the leader to their own children to prevent them from being raised as rulers just like their parents. In our ideal society, a leader wants their children to emulate them and if possible inherit the throne from them. According to Plato, some of our suggestions for a stable and just society seem foolish to him because he sees them as being very impractical. According to Plato, our ideals are foolish in the sense that we think of a just society like the one that has laws formulated and enforced by the ruling class.
Plato sees the idea of having a ruling class as a very stupid idea because it simply enslaves the subjects to the ideals of those in power. Plato argues that giving those in power some privileges is a recipe for an unjust society.
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