Plato 's Definition Of Justice

1306 Words Oct 24th, 2016 6 Pages
In this essay, I will argue that Plato 's definition of justice in the individual is inadequate since a just individual cannot act unjustly. I will start by defining justice in the individual. Next, I will reexamine Socrates’ refutation of Polemarchus’ second definition. Then, I will show how just individuals (i.e., the philosophy rulers) in the republic act unjustly by using the example of the treatment of people with disability in the republic. This creates a contradiction in Socrates ' definition. Lastly, I will propose two remedies to solve this contradiction.
Socrates claims that an individual is just when each of the three parts of the soul does its duty, and all three parts are in harmony (441e). More specifically, the calculating part should rule the soul, the spirited part should assist the calculating part, and the desiring part should follow the commands of the calculating part (442c-d). A just individual 's action is guided by wisdom and knowledge while an unjust individual is filled with ignorance and opinion (443e-444a; 582a). Because their souls are just, just individuals should rule the city so that the city will also be just. This is because Socrates thinks the city and the soul are isomorphic (368d-e). If Socrates’ definition of justice in the individual is correct, then any action of the rulers should be just.
Socrates considers the following acts to be unjust: temple robberies, thefts, betrayals, adultery, neglect of parents, and failure to care for the…
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