The Nature of Justice in Society and the Individual According to Plato

2338 Words 10 Pages
The study of Ethics is a diverse one encompassing many topics and having many applications. Some of the age-old questions inherent to Ethics refer to the nature of justice. Justice is the one of the oldest concepts in existence and as such has been discussed by many a philosopher over the ages. Plato discussed Justice at length and this paper will discuss the following questions relating to justice based upon his findings: what is Plato’s account of the nature of justice for the individual, how does Plato build his account, why does Plato take it that the claim made by Thracymachus is altogether mistaken – if indeed he does?

Plato finds that justice is the harmonious balance of the three elements of the soul.
…show more content…
This is like the case in which writing too small to be read, using eyes alone and solitary from a frame of reference, might be capable of understanding if it were to be found writ large elsewhere.

“…we shall expect to find that the individual soul contains the same three elements and that they are affected in the same way as are the corresponding types in society,” (Plato 54).

Therefore, Plato makes his case through his plan for an ideally just society.

Plato believes that in many ways a minimal state is best; it provides for benefits of specialization, division of labor, and the capability to meet the needs of the people. The problems with a minimalist society are that some people within the society will always want luxuries, some people outside the society will want to take the benefits of the society, and that the benefits of the society are incapable of being guarded by guardians alone. This last point is made clear through Plato’s explanation that the presence of guardians requires the allocation of power to certain portions of society; any time that power is allocated it must be checked. Plato’s question is: who will guard us from the guardians? This question is not easily answered without causing a pattern of infinite regression; for to add more guardians is simply to create more of the problem.

Plato also discusses the possibility of a luxurious state. In this state the needs of the people are met,
Open Document