Plato's Theory of Justice

In his classic work, The Republic, Plato puts forth a definition of justice that would be considered rather counterintuitive today. He argues that justice in both the state and the individual is basically "minding one's own business", or performing the function for which one is best suited and not interfering with others doing the same. This essay will explore why Plato thinks this is the case and how his definition is different from most people's idea of justice today.

Plato begins by saying that the ideal state must have the four traditional virtues of wisdom, courage, self-discipline and justice. Furthermore, he argues, the first three qualities are present in the state because they are present in the individual citizens of the state. In other words, because the Guardians are wise and the Auxiliaries are brave, the state is thereby both wise and brave. The state can be said to have self-discipline insofar as there is agreement among the three classes (Guardians, Auxiliaries, and businessmen), about who should rightfully rule. Having identified these three virtues within the state, Plato concludes that whatever quality is left over without a label must be the quality which makes the others possible: justice.

Plato maintains that justice is the requirement set forth at the beginning of the dialogue, that one man should do the one job for which he is naturally best fitted and should not try to do anyone else's job. That is, "Justice consists in minding your own



Related Essays

Plato's Definition of Justice .... a primary difference I see between his theory and a .... definition may be best stated simply: Plato believed that justice consisted of minding one;s own business .... (1288 5 )

Concept of Justice .... The theory of Glaucon is addressed next, a pragmatic view which sees justice as .... Grube, GMA Plato Republic .... McElvaine, Robert S. "To Do or Not to Do--That is the .... (1770 7 )

Ethical Perspective of Capital Punishment .... Liebman, James S., Jeffrey Fagan, and Valerie West. .... Trans. Benjamin Jowett. Plato: Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Symposium, Republic. .... "Reading: A Theory of Justice .... (3317 13 )

Influence of Greek Philosophy on Chrisitan Theology .... children to distinguish between religious theory and scientific .... Plato does not forgive Man's indelicacies and .... the very basis of Christianity s forgiveness and .... (1262 5 )

The Augustinian State .... by pre-Christian commentaries, particularly Plato and Aristotle .... notably Cicero's Commonwealth, against that theory in order .... it fol lows that there s no republic .... (1862 7 )

Category: Philosophy - P
Common Topics
Click Here to Get Instant Access to over 32,000 Professionally Written Papers!!!
Join Now  
Saved Papers  
Save your essays here so you can locate them quickly!
"Great site, I got a lot of new ideas I would have never thought of before."
Nate A.
"I love this site!!!"
Marie H.
"Thank you for making such a high quality site! Your papers are the best I have seen around"
Debbie B.
"Your site was very helpful and gave me the details I needed in order to complete my essay!!!"
Mike F.
"This site is an excellent vehicle for quick referrences. Thanks a bunch!"
Carla T.
Copyright © 2007 - 2014 Lots of Essays. All Rights Reserved. DMCA