The Application of Platos Justice in Contemporary Society

1913 Words Aug 10th, 2011 8 Pages
The Application of Plato’s Justice in Contemporary Society “The result, then, is that more plentiful and better-quality goods are more easily produced if each person does one thing for which he is naturally suited, does it at the right time, and is released from having to do any of the others” (Sayers 21) Despite an existing definition of justice prior to his philosophical works, Plato spent much of his life challenging that definition and introducing his own. He used his famous work The Republic to define justice and outline its implementation within his concept of the “just city.” The Republic was written several thousand years ago, which causes one to question whether or not its contents are still relevant today. The goal of this …show more content…
A “new” theory came in practice in which the concept of justice was forced to address the question of “how power should be distributed in society” (Burke 14) This “new” form of justice was referred to as “social justice,” or “economic justice,” “justice as fairness,” or “the liberal theory of justice” (Burke 14). This concept of social justice developed further with the growth of industrialization and the development of strength within more and more government structures. Because this form of justice is addressed towards society as a whole it can only be met by the state. “As a basic principle of social order the shift towards social justice required the transfer of any responsibilities from the individual to the state, which “inevitably led to the expansion of the state and the increase of its coercive powers” (Burke 18). Without a doubt this mirrors Plato’s ancient concept of social justice rather closely. Burke’s analysis of the current construct of justice states that the state has been given significant control over the individual within society. This concept is nearly identical to the Plato’s “just city” in which the ruling class, or state in contemporary times, is in control of reason, or right and wrong, within society. While the aforementioned similarity exits quite clearly, this new theory of justice differs quite significantly as well upon closer examination. The shift to a theory of social justice may closely mirror the “just city” construct,
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