“the having and doing of one’s own and what belongs to one would be agreed to
be justice.” (The Republic 434a)
In other words the above statement means that justice, according to Plato, is
doing only the tasks assigned to them by nature. This is the fundamental notion for
his creation of an ideal city. It is both knowing what true justice is and where one
belongs in the city that the ideal can be achieved. What this means to politics in the
ideal city is that only a certain class of person has the ability to engage in politics, just
as only a certain person has the ability to engage in carpentry. Those who engage in
politics would be the philosophers because just as the ideal individual searches for
universal truth so must the ideal city. This is a concept that would make sense to a
philosopher such as Plato, but it assumes that those who do not or cannot seek the
truth, need it, or to be ruled by it in order to live in an idealistic city.
It is necessary for Plato to define what true justice means in order for it to be
prescribed in his city . Justice in a city, according to him, can be found in an
individual as well because it is a concept that is universal; it is found within the
individual and outside the individual. Thus, it is essential to the founding of a city.
Justice in a city is when a division of labour takes place amongst its residents. As an
individual uses his or her minds for thinking and hands for making and fighting, the
ideal city classifies people into what they do best. Those with an arete (an
excellence) for artistry would be artisans, or money-makers, those that could go
beyond mere materialism, those that could seek the truth, would be the rule...
... middle of paper ...
...f justice, it is less difficult to try and make Plato’s argument weaker.
This might be done on the basis that his definition does not have universal
applications, that what he calls justice is tainted by his position in society, as a
philosopher. As a philosopher, would Plato not see the world with his interest in
mind? The answer is simply yes, though an argument maybe tainted by the person
who says it , the fact remains that if he claims it as universal, and others support his
idea, one cannot easily refute him (without trying an alternate view- such as there is
no such thing as justice).
Plato’s concepts regarding justice in the city, and the division of labour have
continued to this day. And within The Republic‘s text, Socrates’ ability to disprove
other’s arguements gives some validity to the saying that those who set the rules win
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