Ethical Complications Of Plato's Republic

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n Plato 's Republic, an analogy is struck between the state of the city and the state of the soul. While, in the latter case, a well balanced, or just, soul is one that is commanded by reason, and in which the spirited and appetitive parts of the soul play subordinate roles, a well balanced, or just, city is one in which the rulers are commanded by reason, the soldiers by spirit, and the laymen by appetites. The difficulty implicit in this state of affairs is that it does not appear, on reflection, that the so-called just city is truly just, since it would make better sense to say that a just city is one in which everyone has a just soul, rather than to anatomize the city in precisely the manner that the soul is, and on that basis call the …show more content…
Firstly, whether or not one believes in universals over and above particulars, or whether one is a nominalist, or abides somewhere in between the pronouncements of both camps, the obvious metaphysical inference from Plato 's account of justice is that abstract properties, such as justice, when instantiated by greater, composite phenomena, such as by a city or nation-state as opposed to a person, inherit the same "structure" rather than the same "essence." By structure, I mean thereby the abstract anatomy of an entity, or that upon which an entity depends or is instantiated by, while, by essence, I mean something less like the traditional philosophical sense of the word, but rather something more on par with its the everyday, conventional usage, i.e., concerning the general import, gist or spirit (as in, "in the spirit of x") belonging to, or associated with, the content, on the one hand, and contained and delineated by that structure, on the other. For Plato, the structure of justice is more important--neigh, is completely sufficient, along with the content, but only secondarily, for describing the nature of justice itself--than the essence, which is what it means for justice to have the content and structure that it

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