This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Plato's Concept Of Democracy And Justice

835 words - 3 pages

Book one of Plato's Republic examines the concept of democracy and justice. Thrasymachus, the Sophist declares that justice is the advantage of the stronger, whereas Socrates argues that justice is wisdom, something good and desirable. According to this in Athenian times, a democracy could not survive with out a system of justice in place. This still holds true in the contemporary Western world.

Throughout the dialogue of book one, Socrates, Cephalus, Polemarchus and Thrasymachus are trying to reach a definition of justice. Cephalus defines justice as "speaking the truth and paying whatever debts one has incurred" From this, justice is nothing more then being honest and living up to your legal obligation. Socrates compares this with returning a weapon to a lunatic in some sense, you owe him his weapon because it belongs to him legally, but if you do not return it to him, it is an unjust act. Returning it would endanger lives of others; so justice cannot be living up to your legal obligation. Polemarchus give his definition of justice to "treat friends well and enemies badly." Socrates argues this by stating, "people often make mistakes about this, believing many people to be good and useful when they aren't and making the opposite mistake about enemies." pointing out that judgment concerning friends is fallible and could end up harming the good and hurting the bad. Thrasymachus defines justice as "nothing other than the advantage of the stronger ....A just man gets less that an unjust one." This shows how justice does not benefit people. Socrates opposes this, stating that justice is worthwhile. Thrasymachus and Socrates agree that "justice is virtue and wisdom and that injustice is vice and ignorance." In conclusion, Socrates comes to an understating of justice, rather then a definition of it. He states that "justice is a soul's virtue, and injustice is a vice." According to this, justice is moral rightness.

The Athenian Democracy principle was majority rule. The assembly of all male citizens in Athens voted on decisions directly. The elected officials did not determine decisions. Few checks on or limits to the power of the assembly existed. Only adult male Athenian citizens had the right to vote in Athens, which excluded slave workers, women and resident foreigners. In addition, there were no lawyers and everyone had to argue their own case. All decisions were final, no appeals.

The system of Justice in place in the Athenian Democracy was the masses opinion of what was...

Find Another Essay On Plato's Concept of Democracy and Justice

Plato's Philosophy of Democracy Essay

2066 words - 8 pages implying that these rulers must be aristocrats (rule of the best). Plato believed that Athenian democracy was unjust, since citizens could run for ruler, without being specialized; and citizens in other professions could get involved with the business of ruling, which Plato also considers unjust. Plato also criticizes democracy since its main focus is freedom, not efficiency or justice. Understanding the context of the statement shows that there is

Glaucon's Challenge and Plato's Theory of Justice in Plato's Republic

1939 words - 8 pages injustice is never more profitable to a person than justice and Thrasymachus withdraws from the argument, granting Plato’s response. Glaucon, however, is not satisfied and proposes a challenge to Plato to prove that justice is intrinsically valuable and that living a just life is always superior. This paper will explain Glaucon’s challenge to Plato regarding the value of justice, followed by Plato’s response in which he argues that his theory of

Aristotle's concept of justice

1121 words - 4 pages In his book The Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle discusses the concept of justice in Book V. Justice is used with its many different connotations. However, in order to explain the statement that justice can only be found in the laws established by the state I would like to point out the last two types of justice and the notion of equity Aristotle refers to in his book. The first is natural justice, true for everyone, and next to that there is

To what extent,how and why Plato's and Aristotle's democracy differ from the modern conception of the democracy

1703 words - 7 pages Reflection PaperManjieva EditaTo what extent, how and why, Plato and Aristotle's conception of democracy differ from the modern conception of democracy.Many of our ideas about democracy originated with the ancient Greeks. The Greeks roots of the world democracy are demos, meaning the "people" or, to put it in Aristotle's way, self-government by the many, as opposed to the few or the one. This is similar to Lincoln's definition: "government of

Justice in Plato's Republic and Hobbes' Leviathan

2841 words - 11 pages One of the main concepts in both Plato's Republic and Hobbes' Leviathan is justice. For Plato, the goal of his Republic is to discover what justice is and to demonstrate that it is better than injustice. Plato does this by explaining justice in two different ways: through a city or polis and through an individual human beings soul. He uses justice in a city to reveal justice in an individual. For Hobbes, the term justice is used to explain

Plato's view of Justice in The Republic

2931 words - 12 pages Discuss Plato's view of Justice in The Republic.Having lived an extraordinarily long life (for his time), with no consistent doctrine of belief, it has become customary to divide Plato's writings chronologically into three periods, Early, Middle and Late. The Republic, a collection of ten books, is thought to have been written after Phaedo during the 'middle-period' of Plato's life. It is during this period that Plato's philosophy becomes his

Plato's Republic, the Search for Justice and Goodness

2076 words - 8 pages Plato's Republic – The Search for Justice and Goodness Plato's Republic is often read as a political work, as a statement of some sort on government, society, and law. This is certainly not a rash reading of the dialogue; it is called the Republic, and over half of it is devoted to the construction of a city through speech, a city complete with a government structure, a military, an economic system, and laws. However, I believe that to read

What is justice in Book 1 of Plato's "Republic"?

1122 words - 4 pages lead to self-righteousness. Secondly, this external conception does not lead to much thought. Finally, external justice is too reasonably filled with doubt. Basically, external morality is in what you do. If someone does something just, but doesn't believe in what they are doing, they are still just. Acting justly, even if one does not think justly, is crucial. Socrates isn't satisfied with this concept of justice and instead wants to

Plato's Divided Line of Being and Knowing

529 words - 2 pages Plato's divided line theory illustrates the distinction between the different levels of knowledge and reality. This theory asks us to imagine a vertical line. The left half is dedicated to metaphysics (the study of being), and the right half is dedicated to epistemology (the study of knowing). Now imagine a horizontal line running through the middle of the vertical line, to form quadrants. The upper left quadrant represents the intelligible

Glaucon's Definition of Justice from Plato's Republic. Also, courage is examined in a similar context

315 words - 2 pages A Definition of JusticeIn this paragraph Glaucon, who has taken up the argument from Thrasymachus, makes his definition of justice. He states that justice is a compromise of sorts between advantage and fear. People understand that being unjust is often to their advantage; however, they also fear being the victim of injustice. If they could act unjustly without suffering the consequences they would. This partially explains Thrasymachus? earlier

Analysis of Liberalism and Democracy

1550 words - 6 pages Analysis of Liberalism and Democracy Liberalism has an ambivalent relationship with democracy, as liberals are against collective power, but support political equality. In the nineteenth century liberals were often opposed to democracy as they saw it as a threat to individual rights - the people are not a single entity but rather a collection of individuals with different opinions and interests, and so it is impossible

Similar Essays

Plato's Concept Of Justice Essay

2203 words - 9 pages Plato's Concept Of Justice ABSTRACT: In his philosophy Plato gives a prominent place to the idea of justice. Plato was highly dissatisfied with the prevailing degenerating conditions in Athens. The Athenian democracy was on the verge of ruin and was ultimately responsible for Socrates's death. The amateur meddlesomeness and excessive individualism became main targets of Plato's attack. This attack came in the form of the construction of an

Justice Pays. Analysis Of Plato's Republic And The Concept Of Justice

1664 words - 7 pages Plato's argument for the benefits of a just life is intrinsically linked to his definition of good and its relation to people's desires. He begins by showing that when the objective of a desire is simple (e.g. quenching a thirst), the desire must be correspondingly simple. Since thirst is a simple desire, the man's objective must also be simplistic and should we assign an adjective to his objective, we would falsely complicate it. In addition

Plato's Criticism Of Democracy Essay

1695 words - 7 pages Plato's Criticism of Democracy Do not be angry with me for speaking the truth; no man will survive who genuinely opposes you or any other crowd and prevents the occurrence of many unjust and illegal happenings in the city. A man who really fights for justice must lead a private, not a public, life if he is to survive for even a short time. (Apology 31e-32a) These are the words of Socrates, who spoke before the Athenian jury in the trial

Plato's Criticism Of Democracy Essay

1159 words - 5 pages Plato's Criticism of Democracy Plato, having defined his perfect society, now seeks to compare contemporary 'imperfect' societies with his ideal standard. He initially criticises the imperfect society as a whole, before leading onto a criticism of any given individual within that society; the imperfect character. He has already dealt with the Oligarchic society and character and now moves onto Democracy and the democratic character