Polus still does not agree with this notion and argues that those who commit evil acts and get away with them with no punishment should be the happiest as the experience power and pleasure with no punishment or consequences (Gorgias, 477). Socrates retorts by reiterating his previous statement that it is
“Do not be vexed with me when I speak the truth. For there is no human being who will preserve his life if he genuinely opposes either you or any other multitude and prevents many unjust and unlawful things from happening in the city. Rather, if someone who really fights for the just is going to preserve himself even for a short time, it is necessary for him to lead a private rather than public life.”(Apology 31e-32a)
As a defender of civic virtue, the significance of obligation and authority of one’s representative government epitomizes the magnitude of respect that Socrates had for Athenian Jurisprudence, irrespective of the fact that he was prosecuted against. In the accounts of the Apology and Crito, there exists a plethora of evidence that demonstrate Socrates’s adherence of institutionalized authority. His loyalty of the Athenian State derives from his notion that the obligation to surrender to the law manifests a just society. One may ask, “how is it possible for a persecuted man to continue to profess allegiance to a polity that sought his trial and execution”? Though many would not have the capacity to sustain such integrity, Socrates had his reasons in
Socrates, a critic of Athenian society, is also known as a critic of democracy. “Athens is a democracy, a city in which the many are the dominant power in politics, and it can therefore be expected to have all the vices of the many” (“Socrates’ criticism of democracy,” Encyclopedia Britannica). Socrates claims that he did not want to take part in government because he feared imprisonment or death, which eventually became his fate. Socrates’ problem with democracy was his concern with the citizens who run the
Democracy is a form of government where people choose leaders through elections and social construct that are based on the equality of everyone within the state. It is a form of government were majority and public opinions combine to choose leaders with respect to the social structure of a particular society, taking into consideration the social laws, rules, traditions, norms, values, and culture. Plato and Aristotle tow of the most influential figures in Greek philosophy. Both Plato and Aristotle were big critics of democracy as a poor form of government. Aristotle’s views about democracy hold that democratic office will cause corruption in the people, if the people choose to redistribute the wealth of the
Socrates believes that democracy is the second worst type of government. Democracy is having “…complete freedom and dignity.”(p.261 C5) and “…no notice of the law.” (p.261 D5) It is the avoidance of anyone’s control. Those in democracy are motivated simply by pleasure that accompanied freedom and dignity. There is an analogy in the
In The Republic of Plato, Plato, in addition to sharing his views on justice, shares his views on democracy using a fictionalized Socrates to outline the most pressing issues. Plato’s views on democracy are negative; he believes democracy to be bred from a response to inequality of wealth and to heighten all of humanities worst traits. Plato believes democracy leads to unequipped leaders who hold offices and power without the necessary traits and preparation.
In response to Thrasymachus, Glaucon, and Adeimantus, Socrates seeks to show that it is always in an individual’s interest to be just, rather than unjust. Thus, one of the most critical problems regarding the Republic is whether Socrates defends justice successfully or not. Socrates offers three arguments in favor of the just life over the unjust life: first, the just man is wise and good, and the unjust man is ignorant and bad; second, injustice produces internal disharmony which prevents effective actions; and lastly, virtue is excellence at a thing’s function and the just person lives a happier life than the unjust person, since he performs the various functions of the human soul well. Socrates is displeased with the argument because a sufficient explanation of justice is essential before reaching a conclusion as to whether or not the just life is better than the unjust life. He is asked to support justice for itself, not for the status that follows. He propositions to look for justice in the city first and then to continue by analogy to discover justice in the individual. This approach will allow for a distinct judgment on the question of whether the just person is happier than the unjust person. Socrates commences by exploring the roots of political life and constructs a hypothetical just city that gratifies only fundamental human necessities. Socrates argues
Plato’s account of Socrates’ defense against charges of corrupting the youth and heresy, reveal the ancient teacher’s view of justice as fairness and support of rule of law. In the Apology, Socrates faces a moral dilemma: to either accept his punishment for crimes he did not commit or to accept the assistance of his friends and escape death by the hand of the state. His choice to accept death in order to maintain rule of law reveals his belief of justice. He beliefs his punishment to be just not because he committed the crimes but because his sentence came through a legal process to which he consented. By sparing his life, he would weaken the justice system of Athens which he values above his own existence. This difference between the two men’s beliefs regarding justice draws the sharpest contrast in their views of effective leadership and government.
Socrates’, Plato’s, and Aristotle’s main criticisms of democracy were based on both theory and precedents. Whereas Plato and Aristotle believed that democracy could lead to mob rule in part due to group-think based on a population’s impulses, Socrates advocated that governance should not be solicited based on the citizenry’s desires at any given time. Aristotle advocated that democracy was indeed the best form of government, or better said he believed democracy to be lesser of the forms of government. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle all believed that only the wisest should govern because those governed might squander resources and wealth, make decisions based on emotion, and revolt due to a perceived or real notion of inequality.
This paper argues that Socrates makes a plausible case for justice. Socrates raised two main questions in the first two books of Plato’s Republic, what is justice? And why should we act justly? Thrasymachus and Glaucon both have different and more negative views of justice than Socrates. Throughout books one and two, Socrates, Glaucon and Thrasymachus go back and forth discussing the definition and application of justice in society. He starts his discussions with Glaucon and Thrasymachus by stating simply, “What is justice?”
Socrates thinks that someone who does wrong should face the punishment, instead of avoiding it. Since avoiding punishment will lead to someone being in a never-ending state of iniquity. Or in other words, the criminals will suffer with constant immoral behavior. By being punished, the criminals will be “saved from the worst kind of badness-iniquity (478d).” A life without punishment consists of one with a mindset of being “unsound, immoral, and unjust (479c),” which is “infinitely more wretched than life with an unhealthy body (479c).” Also, by being punished, criminals have faced justice for their crimes. Therefore, Socrates’ reasoning behind punishing the wrongdoers is too save them from a perpetual state of badness and immorality.
Plato in the Republic writes about a new form of society which would be based upon the good of everyone, whereby those who are most able should rule. Plato states that "Unless, said I,
After reading The Republic there are three main points that Plato had touched on. The first of these three points is that Plato is disheartened with democracy. It was due to Socrates’ untimely death during Athens’ democracy that led to his perception of the ideal state as referred to in The Republic. Plato perceived that the material greed was one of the many evils of politics; in Plato’s eyes greed was one of the worst evils of political life. Thus economic power must be separated from political power; he came to this conclusion due to an experience that filled him with a hatred for mob mentality. He concluded that a democracy must be replaced with a government ruled by the wisest and the greatest people fit for the job; the people that would be fit for the job would be called Philosopher-Kings; which I will touch on later. Plato feels that democracy is a form of political organization that is exceptionally inferior as compared to other types of political organizations such as a monarchy and aristocracy. He came to this notion because of the fact that in his eyes the average man and woman would be inclined to make improper decisions for the society based on greed. Plato viewed all forms of government as being corrupt; the key components in an ideal society are morality and justice. The forms of government that Plato thought were corrupt was timocracy, which would ultimately fall and crumble into an oligarchy which then turns into a democracy, then last but not least turns
Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves. This “perfect society” is developed throughout Plato’s The Republic, one that is based on justice and human virtue. He learned this from his teacher and the father of philosophy, Socrates, one the most revered men of that decade. Socrates never cared for worldly goods or the aristocratic lifestyle he had built for himself. He wished only to educate the people of Greece and to teach what it Truly meant to have justice. Greece politicians were appalled by his teachings that chastised the government for their injustice among there people. These teachings eventually lead to his assassination. One student of his, Plato, wished to record his thoughts which have become the baseline for every democracy afterward. And unlike most classical novels, The Republic exists as a conversation between Socrates and the people he interacts with in his daily life. More specifically, about how citizens in a society can be happy.