The Definition Of Justice : Just Or Unjust?

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The definition of justice changes over time and across various cultures. While it may be impossible to create a single definition of justice that encompasses all its possible interpretations, it is undoubtedly true that justice is a social construct, or an idea created by society. Therefore, while evaluating whether something is just or unjust, one should evaluate it using the definition of justice from the time period in which the event occurred. In other words, one should ask whether the event was just or unjust for its time. Today, many claim that Socrates was unjustly executed for his crimes; however, this conclusion is falsely made using a modern view of what constitutes as just. From an Athenian perspective of justice with judgement, Socrates was justly tried for his convictions. To the early Greeks and Romans, justice is a form of vengeance—it stems from the belief that if one is wronged, he has the right to punish his wrongdoers. This “eye for an eye” and self-serving mentality later evolved as the Athenians adopted a democracy. Rather than equate justice with revenge, Athenians began believing in the idea of justice with judgement. From this perspective, justice is determined by holding trials where several hundred Athenian citizens decide an accused man’s fate—what is just is what the majority believe serves the public interest of Athens.
This definition of justice validates the Athenian jury’s decision to find Socrates guilty; Socrates is a threat to the
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