Justice for All Ages Essay example

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Justice for All Ages The question of “What is Justice?” plagued the ancient philosophers and continues to plague the professional and amateur academic philosophers of today. The question is so hard, because it is quite difficult to know where to begin. Socrates1 spoke of justice in relation to the gods, Plato in relation to an individual’s duty in society, and Achilles, in a somewhat indirect way, in relation to honor and loyalty. All three of these men had very convincing arguments about the true nature of justice, but it is impossible to say now, or most likely ever, whether any of them actually got it right. The current goal is to synthesize their ideas with those of Aristophanes, Euripides2, and even Richard Kraut,…show more content…
Euripides and Aristophanes, I know you, but who is this man? [pointing to Achilles] [Achilles] This man?! I am swift Achilles, son of Peleus and Thetis, grandson of Aeacus, commander of the Myrmidons and loyal soldier of the Achaeans.6 [Socrates] Ah, the great Achilles. Welcome. Just as when you avenged the death of your comrade Patroclus, knowing that you would in fact be bringing your own death closer, so did I stand up justly to the accusations of wicked Metelus knowing that it would bring me my death.7 [Achilles] You speak of standing up “justly” for something, yet you have never set foot on a battlefield (I assume from your stature). What can you know of honor and loyalty? [Aristophanes] Achilles, you know not of the gates you have just opened. I fart at your ignorance! [Socrates] You are correct, Achilles, that I have never been in battle. But, answer me this, what have you learned from battle? [Achilles] I am not sure what you mean. [Socrates] Let me clarify. What can one learn from battle that one cannot learn from conversation? And further, what can one learn about justice specifically in battle rather than not? [Achilles] That’s simple. I have learned about brotherhood, and revenge, and death. [Aristophanes] Ho! So has Socrates—he is dead! [Socrates] Agreed, to both.
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