Essay on The Guardians in Plato's Republic

6312 Words Jul 26th, 2010 26 Pages
Just individuals :
In his book ‘The Republic’, Plato searches for justice within the individual and what makes a person ‘just’. By comparing his sense of what is just at a political level and what is just at a psychological level he suggests three virtues of the individual which will make that particular person just. The virtues of wisdom, courage and moderation are common to both a just and the fictional just city of Kallipolis. This artificial city has the pre-determined virtue of being just – he does this in order to understand what justice is for the individual because Plato thinks that ‘a just man won’t differ at all from a just city in respect to the form of justice; rather he’ll be like the city.’ (Republic 435b)
In the just city
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And this unanimity, this agreement between the naturally worse and the naturally better as to which of the two is to rule both in the city and in each one is rightly called moderation.’ (432a-b) The idea of harmony is crucial to Plato’s definition of justice, as justice to him means each part of society works together in the best way possible, with each part of society content to play out its particular role as best it can. As Plato explains: ‘Justice, I think, is exactly what we said must be established throughout the city when we were founding it… that everyone must practice one of the occupations in the city for which he is naturally best suited.’(433a)
Once Plato has found justice within the larger environment of Kallipolis he seeks to transfer it back into the human soul, which he identified as having more than one single driving force. Plato bases this assumption on the ability of a person to be indecisive about actions such as drinking when something in their soul forbids them to do so even if they desire it. This indecisiveness can be transformed into internal conflict between more than one part of the soul. Plato concludes: ‘…that they are two, and different from one another. We’ll call the part of the soul with which it calculates the rational part and the part with which it lusts, hungers, thirsts and gets excited by

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