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Ethical Relativism Vs Moral Realism Essay

1150 words - 5 pages

Plato’s theory of happiness is analysed throughout the Republic. He believes as Socrates did that the virtues of courage, temperance, wisdom and justice and the ability to regulate them with harmony is the key to an authentically happy person. The virtue of justice is of particular interest and what its function is in a truly just person and how that relates to happiness. Who is happiest the truly just person destined to be shackled with all the perils of the unjust, or the truly unjust person destined to lead the enriching life of a just person? Plato analyzes justice in terms of the tripartite city first. The idea here is that it is easier to interpret a quality if it is in context of a larger whole. The society being the whole of a person which makes up its parts. If you can define justice based on a truly just city then you could apply this to the person more easily.
Once he lays out the plan for a Just City he has the blueprint for a just person. According to Plato the city would need to be a republic ruled by as little or as many people who had all the necessary qualities for keeping the city just. They alone would know what was best for the city and they alone would rule it accordingly. The rulers would be one class of people in a 3 class system. They would be known as philosopher kings and queens. The virtues they would possess would be wisdom, courage and temperance. The next class are the guardians, they are responsible for protecting the city against outside invasion. This class would be the best of the third class called the citizens, who possess the virtue of temperance. The guardians would be chosen for their excellence in citizenship, and possess and develop the virtues of courage and temperance. At the age of thirty guardians would be allowed to study philosophy and do so for twenty years developing their wisdom. The best of these people would be the ones chosen for ruling class. Justice in the Just City is virtuous harmony among the parts. If the city is ruled by the guardians or citizens disharmony would ensue because they lack the wisdom of the philosopher kings and queens. Accordingly if the guardian and citizens are ruled by the wisdom of the philosophy kings and queens, the community of this city would be happy regardless of outside influence.
The tripartite city directly defines the tripartite soul. The soul has three areas as well, logos, thumos, and eros. Logos is the reasoning part of the person, thumos is the spirited part, and eros is the desires or appetitive part. These parts like the city classes have virtues that directly correlate. Logos or reason’s virtue would be wisdom, Thumos or spirit’s virtue would be courage, and eros or appetite’s virtue would be temperance. In the same manner as the just city the just person would have virtuous harmony among these parts with Thumos and Eros being ruled by Logos and be happy by way of the virtue Justice regardless of outside influence. ...

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