Platos theory of justice

2) Explain Plato’s theory of Justice One’s search for the meaning of justice in Plato’s “Republic” would finally lead to two definitions: -Justice is Harmony. -Justice is Doing one’s own job. Finding these two phrases, however, is hardly enough to get a clear sense of what justice is. Plato offers two main analogies to examine the definition of justice. The division of parts in the soul as well as the parts of the state; We would now examine the structure of the soul. The soul is divided into three parts, the appetitive, spirited and the rational.

By the account of the parts of the soul we are shown how a soul has different wills, yet in order for a soul to stay in the just path it must have some sort of hierarchy. Plato describes the spirited part as the courageous ally of the rational part which has the control over the appetitiveve part. The state is also divided into three types of people, the workers, soldiers and the rulers. It is obvious that that sort of division seems awkward when placed over our own capitalist society. We must keep in mind that in the republic that Plato is describing each individual is directed by vast education and the utmost care towards the work he could do with excellence.

The children in the republic are separated from their parents at birth and therefore get the same equal chance of becoming workers or rulers without any prejudice regarding their upbringing or family background, rather, they are evaluated personally, purely according to their natural qualities. The division of people into pre-determined types in the state is assumed to be done truthfully, according to their natural abilities. To soldiers who cannot understand what possessing wisdom means (because they lack it) or to workers that lack both courage and wisdom, Plato uses the “noble lie”.

That is the idea that mother nature creates people out of three materials, gold, silver and bronze when obviously the golden people are fit to rule, the silver are fit to guard and the bronze are best naturally fitted to work. Both the accounts have a similar structure, Plato claims that justice is the same in the soul and in the state. The resemblance suggests that both the workers and the appetitive share the virtue of moderation for they have to be moderate in their desires. Both the guardians and the spirited share the virtue of courage in order to guard the whole.

Finally, both the ruler and the rational share the virtue of wisdom in order to control the workers and the appetitive, with the help of the guardians/spirited, all in one goal that is the good of the whole state/soul. What Plato claims is that a king could rule in a just manner, therefore maintain justice, only if he has knowledge of the true form of justice. That is, true knowledge of the forms. The forms represent the ultimate truth, the way things really are in a more knowledgeable sight then the one offered by science.

Once acquiring this knowledge of the forms, and only then, can a ruler be fit to rule in a wise manner for he is able to truly put the interest of the whole as his own. Thus, ruling in a manner where justice exists and is carefully preserved. In his theory of justice, Plato defines justice in the two ways we have examined earlier. Supporting those definitions by the parts in the state and the soul and their interaction. The way justice should be is shown clearly both in the state and n the soul and then comes the claim regarding the philosopher-king which is the only combination of a ruler that is fit to rule both in the sense of a just state or a just soul.

Critical analysis of platos theory of justice: 1. It lays great stress on duties and has no regard for rights. 2. It divides the society into three classes which is impossible now. 3. Platos unity through uniformity is not stable. 4. It is rigid as it is based on functional specialisation and one man one work throughout life. 5. It stands for non-interference but it is impossible for a ruler not to interfer in the affairs of the subject. 6. Platos justice with communism of property and wives ignore the fundamental human psychology.