Justice In Plato's 'The Republic'

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In Plato’s “The Republic”, Socrates and his Interlocutors try and solve the riddle that is whether or not the just man is happier rather than the unjust man. In the following paper I will proceed to explain what Justice truly is. In book one of “The Republic” the question and main point of the entire first book is “What is Justice?” Cephalus claims that “Justice is giving what is owed”, but Socrates explains that it is not always a good idea to repay one's debts, for example if you borrowed a knife from your neighbor and he intends when you return it to kill someone, then in that instance even though that it is his property it is not just to return it to him. Whereas Polemarchus says “Justice is the Art of which giving good to friends and …show more content…
He also says that defense methods such as war or other methods that justify cruelty must be done. Machiavelli also believes that human nature is greedy and self-interested and that a leader needs to be feared and loved but mostly feared, because fear is consistent with self interest, and that a prince should attend to his own self interests and leaving people alone to keep the nation strong. But Plato's counterclaim to this would be that a ruler can never be just and it is not ok to harm others because that is contradictory to being just. That a ruler can not take actions to far. But because a “Philosopher King” is always seeking knowledge that knowledge would help decide the difference between just and unjust actions. Because an unjust action such as war can cause chaos. Plato wants to create an ideal state where the prince is enlightening his people and interacts with them in order to ensure they become virtuous and enlightened. In conclusion it is important to be just rather than unjust because their is no good reason to be unjust. Doing one unjust deed snowball effects more unjust deeds. Plato’s idea of a Prince is that of a Philosopher King and one that seeks knowledge in order to enlighten his people and keep them virtuous by being the presence of one another. Rather than being feared and distancing yourself from your people. Because the way that one person acts reflects on the people that surround them, and that is what being just is, doing the right thing at all

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