In Plato's Republic, Socrates leads a discussion with his fellow philosophers attempting to isolate the concept of justice in the soul. In order to accomplish this task,
they hypothesize that justice can occur both in the city as well as and the soul. Because the philosophers are more familiar with the workings of a city than the soul,
they try to find justice by creating the ideal city, or Kallipolis. When they find justice in the ideal city, they are able to apply as well as justify the use of that same
concept in the soul. From their discussion, they conclude that the components of the soul and the components of the city are related, and that the concept of justice
occurs in both.
Empirical observation shows that a city is created because no single person is self-sufficient. All the needs of the citizens determine the components of their city, from
the basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter, to the more elaborate needs such as swords, plumbing, and books. In an ideal city, the philosophers believe each
citizen will do the task that is best suited to him or her. Such a division of labor makes the city the most efficient, or ideal.
Socrates then examines these various tasks and is able to separate them into three distinct groups: those which produce something for the city, those which protect
the city from both internal and external subversion, and those which provide control and direct the other two groups. The people who carry out these tasks are called
producers, guardians, and rulers, respectively.
Socrates then deals heavily with education. He decrees that the citizens, specifically the guardians, are to have both physical and mental training, for "those who
... middle of paper ...
... being controlled" (444d).
To find justice in the soul, Socrates and his fellow philosophers are faced with the daunting task of also determining the inner workings of the soul itself. However, by
creating and examining an ideal city, they are able to isolate certain characteristics, including justice. Examining the ideal person, they are able to come up with a
division of the soul. Although his method here is not as thorough as it should be, his resulting division seems plausible. Their examination hinges on being able to apply
the same concept of justice to both the city and the soul. Without this, their examination of the soul has no backing arguments and therefore, based solely on its own,
no credence. With the supporting accounts however, their definition of justice is validated and they are thus able to achieve their goal of finding justice in the soul.
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