Defining Justice in Plato’s the Republic

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Throughout the work of Plato’s the Republic, the true definition of justice is argued. It becomes evident that Plato himself views justice as good because it is connected to the form of the greatest good. Plato’s the Republic also explains that justice is worthwhile for its own sake, in combination with the pleasure and rewards that are accompanied with it. However, because it is natural for men to always be inclined to seek out their own self-gain and benefit, it is obvious that true justice cannot be achieved due to the multiple forms and obstacles that are presented to man-kind. Therefore, the idea of the ultimate idea of the purist of happiness through true justice is folly.
Justice is seen as both an individual and universal feat; it must be achieved on both levels to be complete. Plato’s example of this is the comparison between the three parts of a person’s soul- reason, spirit, and desire, in combination to the three components of a good society: lovers of wisdom, victory, and gain. These fragments are viewed as, “the best tools for the purpose” (Plato, 116). They are viewed as the best tools because of their ability to provide the proper experiences. Throughout these tools man is exposed to the pleasures of gain, knowledge, and honor. It is with these tools that man is able to properly position themselves on the scale of pleasure and pain. However, it is not merely enough for these elements of reason, spirit, and desire on an individual level and lovers of wisdom, reason, and spirit on a social level to exist separately. It is necessary for them all to coexist together in harmony to achieve justice. For “there is a point midway between the two [pleasure and pain] at which the soul reposes from both” (Plato, 116). In othe...

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...ught do not compensate for the lack of a unitary understanding of justice throughout history and time.
Due to the evidence that unitary and universal justice exist, it difficult to argue of existence of justice. Justice does not exist naturally, but externally and superficially to impose and discourage unjust behavior. Because of the questionable existence of just, we refer back to one of Plato’s other works Euthyphro . In Eurpthro Plato questions: “ is the holy loved by the gods because it is holy? Or is it holy because it is loved?” (Plato, 11) with this mentality we question the validity of justice and if it is possible that justice is just a figmerant used to deter mankind from undesirable behavior, “for men do not practice justice in itself, but only for the respectability which it gives- the object being that a reputation for justice may be gained” (plato 69)
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