Plato on Power & Justice

At the start of our ‘Power & Society’ class, we have spent a considerable amount of time examining Plato’s Republic – a monument of Greek philosophy and world literature.  In this extensive dialogue, Plato (through the voice of his teacher Socrates) addresses the topic of Justice.  So, what IS justice, in Plato’s vision?  The answer is multifaceted and complicated, a fact that highlights that justice itself is also varied and complex.  To explore the theme of justice in the Republic, I would like you to do two things (in two separate paragraphs).  First, I’d like you to select a single passage from the Republic that you find to be interesting, provocative, or somehow problematic as it relates to the topic of justice.  Then, you should analyze the passage itself and try to place it within its historical context.  How does this statement fit within Plato’s broader discussion of justice and power, and how does it fit within the political and intellectual climate of ancient Athens?  Secondly, what do you think about the viewpoint at hand, and why?  To answer this question, you might consider Plato’s reasoning, and then provide a modern-day example as a test-case.  What does your example show us about justice (or lack thereof) in the face of social controversy, and how does it illustrate your own view of justice?  What might Plato have to say about your example?

23 thoughts on “Plato on Power & Justice

  1. “Socrates: and instead of saying simply as we did at first, that is just to do good to your friends and harm to our enemies, we should further say: It is just to do good to our friends when they are good and harm to our enemies when they are evil?” Page 11

    This passage fits within Plato’s broader discussion of justice and power because Plato believes that justice is a human virtue and is something makes a person self-consistent. Polemarchus believes that you should be good to your friends when they are good to you, and harm your enemies when they are evil. Furthermore, in Ancient Athens, you were to tell people that you were going to start an action against them in court, give a date, and location. This relates to the passage that if one of your enemies do harm to you, that you could take it further and bring them to court in hopes to harm them more.

    Furthermore, I believe the viewpoint at hand is somewhat true. The reasoning for this is because you should reward people who are good to you, and not treat people that are bad to you with rewards or good. To relate to a modern day example, countries have different allies. Countries will reward other countries who are good to them with goods such as equipment or support with their army and harm their enemies when they are evil. My example shows lack of justice in social controversy because if a person is tried in a jury of their peers, and you know the person to be good, you may be faced with the conflict of whether that person is good or evil. This supports my own view of justice, that justice is not always a blind eye. People may let something slide because of belief someone is good. I believe Plato might lean towards something of the idea that justice is a human virtue and makes society good and not believe that it could be a blind eye.

  2. The passage I have chosen is from Thrasymachus on page 16, “And the different forms of government make laws democratical, aristocratical, tyrannical, with a view to their several interests; and these laws, which are made by them for their own interests, are the justice which they deliver to their subjects, and him who transgresses them they punish as a breaker of the law, and unjust. And that is what I mean when I say that in all states there is the same principle of justice, which is the interest of the government; and as the government must be supposed to have power, the only reasonable conclusion is, that everywhere there is one principle of justice, which is the interest of the stronger”. This passage is talking about how Thrasymachus views justice. His view of justice is all revolved around the government and how all of the laws they create are in the governments interest. Thrasymachus believes that justice is in the “advantage of the stronger”. His view on justice goes hand in hand on how Plato must view the government and the justice system at the time her is writing “The Republic”. Since this is written relatively right after Socrates was stoned to death for studying philosophy Plato must view the government unjust. Plato interprets his own view on how the government created the justice system to be revolved around the government’s own interest. They have the power to say what and who is unjust.
    I think the viewpoint of Thrasymachus has some valid points. I do believe the government does have a big influence on how people define justice and sometimes the government seems to twist justice to be in their favor. There are many references where the justice systems seem to fail people just for the government to not get into trouble or cause controversy. Also, he explains how justice is always in the “interest of the stronger”. This seems to be correct also as the stronger power you have in the government seems the more justice you have. For example, recently with the controversy of police officers and African Americans, it seems to some people since the police are thought to be one of the faces of the justice system they should be justice people and citizens. Yet it seems today multiple police officers do not treat people how they are supposed to be treated which have recently resulted in deaths and multiple altercations that are inappropriate. This shows us that justice is lacking in some of the higher ups in our society and even in our police force. Plato would have thought what police officers are doing today is completely unjust especially since he has had this type of situation before. Plato’s experience with Socrates being stoned to death for not valid reasons and now people are being killed for no reason he would have been very upset that there has been no progress with justice.

  3. “The meaning is I believe , that in the human soul there is a better and also worse principle;and when the better has the worse under control then a man is said to be master of himself; and this is a term of praise ; but when, owing to evil education or association, the better principle, which is over whelmed by the greater mass of worse- in this case he is blamed and called the slave of self and unprincipled.”page 6 book 4

    I choose this passage which was started by socrates because it clearly shows how socrates believes in the greater good in people and believes it is right and just when our principles lead us to do the right thing. When discussing the terms of Justice and Power Socrates states in the passage that the human soul is in control of how it choses to carry out in the presence of others. While many citizens in Athens believe that the theory of Justice is to remain loyal to your friends and cause your enemies harm when this statement contradicts that. When a friend or and acquaintance present themselves as a genuinely kind and caring human being than their better principle reflects their character. In Athens it was also customary for a citizen to carry out loyalty to their family members or their educators. In this statement Socrates states that carrying out loyalty to a family member or friend is an honorable quality until they are pressuring you do evil onto another person. Socrates states that it is not just for when a person commits evil they become consumed by evil and have no principles. I believe this statement is modern in todays society because we are all faced with different obstacles in our life. In todays society we are have been faced a choice that could change the course our lives forever. For example when a person is being physically harassed by another person for no legitimate reason there can be a plethora of reasons. One of the main reasons could the bully is insecure about his or herself, therefore feels the need to to make others feel less worthy of praise. Soon others start to join and then that person is left with many questions and insecurities. When the victim finally takes a stand it is clear that the person has let their better principles take control, and are able to feel good about themselves, meanwhile the bully has let his worse principle get the best of him with becoming cold and malice to others. I believe that Plato would very much agree wth my statement because when you are a good citizen who is kind and caring to there and not biased towards their believes on another, then that person truly exemplifies the meaning of Justice.

  4. “This, then, is injustice; and on the other hand when the trader, the auxiliary, and the guardian each do their own business, that is justice, and will make the city just.” Book Four of Plato’s “The Republic”
    Plato lived during the Peloponnesian War, which were wars between Athens, the education capital of Greece, and Sparta, the military capital of Greece. These wars were very disastrous and had a profound affect on Plato. During this time many people were trying to use this time of war as a platform to take control of Athens. Plato saw these people as unfit to become rulers and thought they should stay where they belong. I believe that this is where his main idea for the quote I picked comes from. He didn’t want military leaders becoming King because that’s not what they did. People specialize in their field and Plato didn’t think it made sense for them to leave that field. Earlier in the book Plato says that if a carpenter does the job of a cobbler it doesn’t make much difference, but when a soldier tries to become King things go astray.
    When I read this excerpt I see many flaws but when I dug into it what Plato meant became clearer. In todays United Sates on the most qualified people should be able to run for president. In this election year we’re seeing something that isn’t done to often, a businessman with no political experience is running for president. If you look at it from Plato’s context it is unjust. I’m not saying that it is unjust or just but it doesn’t really make sense. The person elected president should have tremendous amounts of knowledge on law, foreign policy and many other subjects and of the past presidents this isn’t always the case. Unlike Plato I believe there are more than one profession that can qualify you to hold high positions in government. It shouldn’t all be one type of person it needs to be diversified and that is just in my opinion.

  5. This work has many good passages that have very poignant values and points on what justice is and is not. However, the one passage that jumps off the page at me the most is on page 15 when Thrasymachus very plainly stated “Listen, then, he said; I proclaim that justice is nothing else than the interest of the stronger. And now why do you not me? But of course you won’t.” This is a very simplistic and accurate description of justice, simply because the people that are put into power are the ones who have and do make the rules for the others to follow and in some circumstances how they will live or not live their lives. This idea stands from back in the Roman era to today, in the Roman and Greek era if you were to steal something you were put in front of 500 people, that were put in this position, to present yourself and what had happened to be judged by them. They then would see if you were guilty and what the punishment would be or if you were not guilty. Showing that these 500 people, that obviously hold more power than anyone else, to see if they find what you did was just. What if the person did it because their parents, brother, or partner were starving when they stole the bread, but if most of the 500 people think it was wrong well, too bad for you, buddy. This is also shown in the justice system at the time these books were written, affecting everyone, because of these 500 people, that are supposed to be neutral to the people that are on trial, kill the beloved Socrates. This was all because of what he was teaching and the most of the people on that court dislike, even hated, Socrates and his teachings, so what did they do? They killed him.
    Within the reading of Plato’s Republic book 1 I have seen a very simple yet puzzling idea. Which is that Justice as a whole is a very complex and multifaceted idea that cannot be described in one central idea. Everyone in this book are completely correct in their way of thinking yet are also wrong in the breath. This is due, bluntly, that every ones’ idea of justice is skewed one way or another. Such as what happened to Socrates, the people that had him executed thought that it was the correct and just. So in their eyes they were just upholding the law and were justified. This is evident in many case in this era, the most prominent one being Adrian Thomas case where a father was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the murder of his child. The confessing they got out of him was based on fear due to the officers threatening to arrest his wife if he did not confess. While in other cases like the Manson case the correct person was convicted and locked put. Both of these examples show that the people in power abuse it and send the wrong people to jail and that the system does work properly. Thus showing that idea of justice, especially in America, is very complicated and multi faced. However, if Plato were still around he would probably point of the details of each case showing the differences and possibly come to the same conclusion of something similar if he did not already.

  6. In Book 1 of The Republic, Thrasymachus views justice as the people who are the strongest, as well as the most powerful, are just. They can be trusted due to the amount of strength they have. He claims that “in all states there is the same principle of justice, which is the interest of the government; and as the government must be supposed to have power, the only reasonable conclusion is, that everywhere there is one principle of justice, which is in the interest of the stronger”. In a historical context the city of ancient Athens, politically speaking, is trying to figure out how to run a democracy and/or form one. Plato is trying to discover a balance between justice and power based on the conversations he has with Cephalus, Polemarchus, and Thrasymachus. Intellectually speaking, Plato has been enlightened by the teachings of Socrates and personifies how everyone else in that time period refused to think intellectually. In a democracy, the people have a voice when it comes to how things are run (ex. elections) and the government has the interest of the people at heart when it comes to creating and/or passing laws. According to Thrasymachus, because the government is a source of power, the people have no choice but to follow the rules set in place by them, for them.
    Plato believes that the government should exert its power to benefit the people instead of just in the interest of the government. He says that for the most part that the laws are just but sometimes can be unjust. I agree with his reasoning against Thrasymachus’s theory because it is the people who decide the fate of a country. For example, if the government only made laws that would help the rich get richer and the poor poorer, than it would be unjust since it’s only creating ways to help a certain group of people and not the community as a whole. In the news today, we see all the time of people being released from prison after 15+ years for a murder, or other crime, they didn’t even commit. The crime may have happened in a time where it was hard to determine fingerprints therefore the person was being convicted on minimal evidence or it may have been something to do with the race of a person. While the justice system has improved over the last few decades, there are still flaws within it. I feel like if the government only made laws that weren’t in the interest of the people, our society today would be completely different if that were the case.

  7. Socrates: “The rest of the citizens may be courageous or may be cowardly, but their courage or cowardice will not, as I conceive, have the effect of making the city either the one or the other.”
    –The Republic, Book 4

    The passage above caught my attention because it is a very prevalent theme in justice. What I believe Socrates mean in the following passage is that speaking out about the truth, right, or wrong in any situation would help any situation improve. Staying silence means injustice could occur. In Ancient Athens, the courts consisted of hundreds to thousands of citizens that would be drawn to be a juror, so they couldn’t get any biased views on cases. Ancient Athens believed that all free men should speak up against injustice, and didn’t want a biased view on how cases worked, they yearned for the truth in everything. It fits within Plato’s discussions because he feels as though his tutor, Socrates, was wrongly executed due to injustice, and no one spoke out against this.
    The passage is definitely true because the only way a situation could be improved is if you speak up about it, and try to make a change. This relates to the modern world in various ways. For example, our court system in the United States mirrors the court of Athens in many ways, but for some reason, is downgraded by conveying more opinions from the people. The court system in the United States has a similar structure, listening to the truth and only the truth. Sometimes, the court will follow an injustice path, wrongly condemning people with harsh sentences they don’t deserve, or injustice of letting them off on crimes they should have harsh sentences with. An example of modern injustice would be the Brock Turner case, and how it was wrong that he escaped a harsh punishment for something, in my opinion, is unforgivable. The Court of Athens did the same, but the opposite at the same time. They unjustly killed Socrates, though he was doing nothing arguably wrong. If Plato were still around, he would possibly agree with me, saying that it was unjust of Brock Turner to walk away from a crime without true justice.

  8. Plato’s quote, “Then, my blessed Thrasymachus, injustice can never be more profitable than justice,” speaks to me about the most idolized concept in the universe: Karma.
    This short scrap of words summarize the whole concept discussed in Book I of “The Republic.” While Socrates never explicitly says his belief in justice during Book I, he does speak about politics, democracy, and how different skillsman can use their skill for the good of others, or for their own personal profit. He dances around the concept of morality, and I personally felt as if he was stating that 1- if a good man uses his skill to help others, his morality will show and he will be prosperous in the feeling of joy, and 2- if an evil man uses his skill for his own gain, and for no others, he may have all the material glory in the world, but he will always have a blackened soul.
    This leads me to the belief of Karma. The idea that a good person will cosmically feel joy for doing good for others, and that an evil person will cosmically feel unhappiness because he only worked for his own gain speaks fairly bluntly about Karma. Even though the concept has a different word in Greek (Κάρμα), it can still be seen in the theories of Book I. Polemarchus’s beliefs are similar in the fact that he believes in an, “eye for an eye,” even though Socrates’s beliefs are more pacifistic and positive (similarly in the way that Karma is a neutral entity).

  9. Socrates: Heaven forbid! I said; I would only ask you to be consistent; or, if you change, change openly and let there be no deception. For I must remark, Thrasymachus, if you will recall what was previously said, that although you began by defining the true physician in an exact sense, you did not observe a like exactness when speaking of the shepherd; you thought that the shepherd as a shepherd tends the sheep not with a view to their own good, but like a mere diner or banqueter with a view to the pleasures of the table; or, again, as a trader for sale in the market, and not as a shepherd. Yet surely the art of the shepherd is concerned only with the good of his subjects; he has only to provide the best for them, since the perfection of the art is already ensured whenever all the requirements of it are satisfied. And that was what I was saying just now about the ruler. I conceived that the art of the ruler, considered as ruler, whether in a state or in private life, could only regard the good of his flock, or subjects; whereas you seem to think that the rulers in states, that is to say, the true rulers, like being in authority.

    While Socrates discusses his views on power and justice, he brings up this point while talking to Thrasymachus that stands out in comparison to his other passages. Socrates is discussing how change is acceptable, but that in the midst of change there should be no dishonesty. This opening line of his passage ties into the rest of the point in this passage fairly well. Socrates goes on to say how the shepherds can perform their profession selfishly for themselves, or for the good of the people around them. He claims that Thrasymachus thinks rulers of the states enjoy their power and utilize their authority as a result of this. Although Socrates does not flat out say he disagrees with this statement, it can be assumed by the reader that he does not believe that state rulers enjoy being in authority.

    Socrates seems to have the same idea about this certain passage that I felt when I first read it. He believes that there are people that find pleasure in seeing others enjoying something, but he also believes that people can be selfish and cruel. When he indirectly disagrees with Thrasymachus about the state rulers, I still stand with his argument simply because not all people with power or authority enjoy having it. For example, today there are many issues pertaining to police brutality, and whether or not all policemen/women are corrupt and are out to get certain people. The actions of a miniscule amount of corrupt cops should not and cannot reflect on the police force on the whole, but there are people that take it this way and assume all cops are evil. This makes the cops lives and the authority they have almost not worth it. There are many cops that simply do not enjoy having their authority today. Socrates feels strongly that private rulers are there for the people, but that state rulers are simply in it for the power.

  10. “Socrates: Well, there is another question: By friends and enemies do we mean those who are so really, or only in seeming?”
    “Polemarchus: Surely, he said, a man may be expected to love those whom he thinks good, and to hate those whom he thinks evil.”
    -Book 1, page 10

    The entire conversation between Polemarchus and Socrates drew me in the most. Polemarchus’ makes the argument that an individual is “just” if he goes about treating friends with respect, and enemies with distaste. Socrates seems to really question this notion, however. Plato may have included this in the book, because it may have been a common thing that people thought in ancient Athens. In ancient Athens, Socrates was killed because he was believed to be a bad person, due to his conspiracies about Gods, a topic the Athenians found to be very touchy. However, just because Socrates did things that the people of ancient Athens did not like, does not mean that he was an evil person at heart and deserved to die.

    Personally, I think that Polemarchus’ initial argument is flawed (although Socrates seems to change Polemarchus’ opinion a bit by the end of the section). This is because he failed to recognize that differentiating a “good” person from a “bad” person is subjective, and Socrates diverts attention to this in the quote above. If a bad person/enemy is simply someone who you dislike because of a wrongdoing they may have done to you, then your opinion against that person would be extremely bias. They could be a good person at heart, but you may just perceive them as evil because of a negative experience you may have had with them. Just as people who you perceive to be good, may actually not have good intentions at heart. You never quite know the intentions of a person, which is why I personally think that an individual is just when they learn to treat their friends with respect, and show indifference toward their enemies, rather than treating enemies scornfully and spewing more hate into the world. Socrates seems to hint at the fact that people are often wrong in their judgements of others. As a modern example, when Brock Turner went to prison for raping a young women, his friends and family spoke out to the media, saying that he is a good person and that there is no possible way he would have done such a thing. During the entire case, Turner’s family would not admit to his wrongdoings. This is because they were extremely bias toward Turner, since they saw him a “good person” or a “friend”. Differentiating “good” people from “bad” people is especially difficult when we are so quick to interject favoritism and bias into the mix.

  11. “And the great blessing of riches, I do not say to every man, but to a good man, is, that he has had no occasion to deceive or to defraud others, either intentionally or unintentionally; and when he departs to the world below he is not in any apprehension about offerings due to the gods or debts which he owes to men.” (Plato, page 4)
    Cephalus, the aging father of Polemarchus, attempts to define the virtue of justice when discussing old age with Socrates. Cephalus’s perception of justice reflects traditional Greek theologies. His belief is that in order to be accepted by the Gods after death, one must owe no debts to anyone and fulfill any other legal obligations. Plato’s view of justice conflicts with Cephalus’s conventional standpoint because Plato points out that in particular cases being honest can harm others in bringing up a hypothetical situation in which you had to return a weapon to a madman.
    It is understandable how Cephalus incorporates tradition into his concept of justice since he is an older man and tends to believe what he has experienced throughout his life. However, his experiences have lead him to construct a paradigm of justice which can be difficult to overlook. Plato offers his refute and shines light into the inconsistences of Cephalus’s beliefs of honesty and legal commitments. A modern day example of traditional viewpoints being hindered by progressive ideas would be Colin Kapernick’s current protesting during the star spangled banner at national football games. Although its expected for anyone to stand during this anthem, Kapernick kneels and has inspired others to do so in order to protest the current state of racial inequality. This shows that in the face of social controversy, the understanding of progressive concepts is unnoticed due to previous held notions and practices. Justice is not something you can permanently define because its constantly changing from subjectivity. The more aware you are of opposing views the more accurately you can construct a fair concept of justice and really any concept for that matter. Plato would most likely question my example and offer a refute of some sort, but he also would take into consideration the conflict of conventional and more progressive ideas.

  12. “SOCRATES: …; neither do any other arts care for themselves, for they have no needs; they care only for that which is the subject of the art?
    SOCRATES: But surely, Thrasymachus, the arts are the superiors and rulers of their own subjects?”

    Ignorant of brevity, this text hosts a plethora of theories on the topic of justice and power; a topic most likely was inspired by the Peloponnesian War. Is war just? Is it just to do right by your friends, and hurt your enemy? The selected passage above sums up justice nicely. Plato goes on to introduce his Theory of Forms in a later part of The Republic, but it’s fitting here. In short, the idea of it is that concepts such as beauty – anything abstract really – is perfect and incomprehensible to humans. The concepts are so perfect that when humans try to understand them the concepts become corrupted.

    Applying the aforementioned theory to the text, justice is a metaphysical concept, an extreme. In its opposition, injustice. When trying to describe a structure or agent as just or unjust you put them on a spectrum, meaning the agent or structure cannot be wholly one or the other. With this in mind “just” as defined in the book makes perfect sense. Any solidified definition of justice would disprove Plato’s own theory. A modern day example would be religion. Everybody knows the Church has had its fair share of mishaps and as a result people push away from religion. But why? It wasn’t religion that pushed for war, religion is only a spiritual connection to the divine. Church and the like are the ones pushing agenda.

  13. Justice is a particularly hard word to define due to everyone’s different views of what justice is. Some may take it violently like Polemarchus, while others may think of it as power like Thrasymachus from book I of The Republic. In book IV of The Republic Sacrates states “and on the other hand when the trader, the auxiliary, and the guardian each do their own business, that is justice, and will make the city just.” He is stating that Justice is the ability to do just or good within one’s city to make it better and prosper. In ancient Athens the Greeks executed those who had done wrong within the city and that decision was based off of the legislature and political figures which Plato called the “Guardians”.
    I believe that the viewpoint on justice is a good outlook; however, in everyday life one can be doing just in his city and making it a better place. Helping a friend with a bully problem or even helping him with homework it still makes his community and even his city a better place. This example illustrates my view of justice because I believe those who do just or good things for the community is justice. Plato may or may not agree with my reasoning he may say that there are some faults but otherwise it’s a good idea.

  14. Then if a man says that justice consists in the repayment of debts, and that good is the debt which a man owes to his friends, and evil the debt which he owes to his enemies, –to say this is not wise; for it is not true, if, as has been clearly shown, the injuring of another can be in no case just. (Page 13)

    Socrates scrutinizes the assumptions Cephalus, Thrasymachus, Polemarchus, and Glaucon make on justice. They assume justice is the interest of the powerful. Socrates reveals to his friends that justice is any action that is ventured not for your interests but the benefits of another person not seeking any reward in return. Socrates explains that an individual who chooses not to repay a debt he owes isn’t just. Plato concludes that justice is a human virtue which makes a person aware of their choices. This statement fits in within the political and intellectual climate of ancients Athens because justice is the primary solution for correcting all of Athens predicaments. One of the major injustice’s in Athens society was the death of Socrates.

    Plato’s position on the purpose of justice is accurate. For instance, injustice in today’s society correlating with Plato’s understanding would be woman’s rights. Women are not being rewarded fairly to men. In the entertainment business, a man who is a comedian earns on average $10,000 more than a female performer. In addition to unequal pay; women also are not given the chance for equal job opportunities. According to a PBS News reporter, Teressa Ghilarducci, it is twice as arduous for a woman to obtain a job. My perspective of justice is affected because all citizens in the world should be treated equitably no matter the race, gender, or view. Plato would agree with my example because justice is a social cognizance shaping society to accept others for their differences.

  15. “No knowledge considers or prescribes for the advantage of the stronger, but for that of the weaker, which it rules” Book 1, pg. 17, line 342d”

    This passage explains and relates to justice because it shows that the weaker will always have an upper advantage over the stronger. The weaker will always have the upper hand because of their large size in numbers. This relates to Plato’s views of justice because the weaker will always beat the stronger in most instances. Plato was always a strong advocate of helping the poor whenever they need help. The strong always have a tough time with the poor in the justice system, even if the stronger have a lot of money to back themselves up.

    I believe the viewpoint at hand is true. Nowadays, this is how most of the court dates in our country are handled. The poor always finds a way to make them somehow stronger than the strong due to their hard work and perseverance. They always know how to give themselves an upper hand and because of that, they always win. Plato always helps the poor no matter what kind of financial struggle they are in. Plato would always write about them in their writings. He truly was a strong advocate for the poor. No matter what the social ranking, financial standing or anything along those lines, Plato was always there for the good of the poor.

  16. The Republic: Book 1 written by Plato offers several different insight as to what individuals at that time period felt justice was. While reading I came across a passage that was said by Socrates, it stuck out to me for several reasons, the question it asked and the overall idea that it posses. “Well, then, Thrasymachus, I said, suppose you begin at the beginning and answer me. You say that perfect injustice is more gainful than perfect justice?” This statement I think fits into the ideals and concepts of not only Plato’s ideas but also ancient Athens as well. At this point in time everyone had a different view of what justice meant and it is clearly shown in this book let alone this passage. Socrates asks Thrasymachus for his thought on what justice is. Justice was seen differently as to how high up you were in the social classes and that is clearly demonstrated in the reading and this quote. Someone of higher power might have thought something inhumane was justice where as someone from a lower class has a different view. Although in this time period a lot of things were done in the name of justice that were questionable if they were correct or not which is also part of the problem in determining what justice actually meant.
    The view point of this reading is very crucial in understanding the ideas behind it. From previously learning the tragedy that had accused to Socrates shows the impact on the content. Plato wrote this in my opinion still with the negative views of what justice is due to his friends death. Justice to him is something that needs to be fair and with the passage I chose it is urging Thrasymachus to rethink his view of what justice is. This problem can easily be seen in todays society with the Black Lives Matter issue. Each side of the issue believes that they are just in their actions when each side will have a different opinion on which is correct. It is directly related to the same issue of Plato’s Republic. Justice is only what you perceive it be, and everyone will have a differing opinion.

  17. Socrates: And instead of saying simply as we did at first, that it is just to do good to our friends and harm to our enemies, we should further say: It is just to do good to our friends when they are good and harm to our enemies when they are evil? Everyone has there own definition of justice. To me socrates has a complex idea of what justice is unlike Cephalus. His definition of justice is an attempt to articulate the basic Hasidic conception, that justice means living up to your legal obligations and being honest. Socrates disagrees with him by saying its like giving a mad man his weapon back just because he owns it, he knows its and unjust act because the weapon would be used to kill someone. Socrates believes in doing the good good and harming the bad. He says injustice cannot be a virtue because it is contrary to wisdom, which is a virtue. He believes in order to reach your goals to follow his set of rules, do good to your friends and harm your enemies. Its like ying and yang theres balance in-between both. If you help your friends and do good to them it will profit you because they will do the same. If you harm your enemies it will only be equal because they are doing the same to you.
    This passage relates to the modern world we live in today in multiple ways for example, police are looked as a good member of the community for what they do to stop crime in your city, but just because someone is looked up to as a good person does not mean they will not do bad things. Police have been killing innocent people everyday but in most court cases if any at all most police are let go free. I believe that is because they work for the city and the prosecutors,judges,and other officers are going to believe their peers over a victim whom they never heard of. Also, to a lot of people police are considered their enemies now due to all the killings nobody feels safe around police anymore, that is where the quote “harm our enemies when they are evil” comes into play. Police are getting shot by people more now then ever only because social media is exposing them for brutally murdering innocent people. In my opinion this is an example of lack of justice in todays society, Police should be tried in murder cases the same way a normal person would be. I believe the philosopher Plato would agree with my example due too the fact that his mentor Socrates just like most people today was killed for no reason.

  18. Socrates: “The rest of the citizens may be courageous or may be cowardly, but their courage or cowardice will not, as I conceive, have the effect of making the city either the one or the other.”
    –The Republic, Book 4
    This speaks to me because what Socrates is trying to say here is that no matter if people are cowardly or courageous it does not make the others around them the same way. However. I disagree with this statement. As much as I would like the fact that everyone is a individual and there actions do not make the actions of many, as this would like to suggest. I believe that you are only as strong as your weakest link. I know that in everything you do people are always watching, even if you can not see them. In life you are only as strong as your weakest link, meaning that if they break you all will lose that toughness and be run right through. So suggesting that in fact that as a City or country we are only as courageous as our most Cowardist person. In WWII when We stormed the beaches of Normandy would this country, or other in fact prevail if we as people and leaders did not believe? The answer is no. If our leaders didnt believe it to be a success, our troops would of had doubts, and then running into on coming gun fire and other horrible things they encountered would have been worse off. So in my opinion I think that how other people act is how everyone around them might act as well.

  19. “For mankind censure injustice, fearing that they may be the victims of it and not because they shrink from committing it. And thus, as I have shown, Socrates, injustice, when on a sufficient scale, has more strength and freedom and mastery than justice; and, as I said first, justice is the interest of the stronger, whereas injustice is a man’s own profit and interest.” Book One of Plato’s “The Republic”.
    As Socrates and Thrasymachus debate over justice and injustice, Thrasymachus brings up an interesting point. What he is saying is that if someone chooses to do unjust things they are not only stronger for it but will receive a more profitable outcome than someone trying to always be just. He also says that people who don’t do just things aren’t stronger for it because they just fear injustice. In a political sense during this time period, there were many men during this time who were fond of doing unjust things that ended up in power at high ranking positions throughout their government while men who followed a more just path did not end up in the same place. Thrasymachus undoubtedly believes that anyone can get more out of life if they perform unjust deeds in accordance to their own self interests.
    I don’t believe the view point in this passage to be true to an extent. It takes a stronger person to make just decisions on a daily basis then to give into the temptation of doing unjust actions. It is hard to always make the just decisions in life, especially when the unjust one can lead to a greater reward, however there are people that are strong enough to not give in, and in doing so and in doing so receive the benefit of being proud of one’s self. However, there are men that receive power still in modern times that receive benefits for unjust behavior. An example of someone like this could be Adolf Hitler. Hitler was a man in power that caused many injustices for millions upon millions of people. He believed that by doing so that he would make life better for him and his country. His lack of morality was ultimately his downfall as all his unjust deeds caught up to him and lost him everything. I truly believe that doing unjust deeds will lead to anyone’s downfall. I feel Plato would agree with this. Its prominent in his passages that he has a pretty keen sense of justice and what it truly means.

  20. Socrates: I am only repeating what you are saying, I believe. But let us consider: Have we not admitted that the rulers may be mistaken about their own interest in what they command, and also that to obey them is justice? Has not that been admitted?
    Thrasymachus: Yes.
    Socrates: Then you must also have acknowledged justice not to be for the interest of the stronger, when the rulers unintentionally command things to be done which are to their own injury. For if, as you say, justice is the obedience which the subject renders to their commands, in that case, O wisest of men, is there any escape from the conclusion that the weaker are commanded to do, not what is for the interest, but what is for the injury of the stronger?

    In this passage, Plato is trying to explain to Thrasymachus the error of his thought process. He is saying that justice is in the interest of the stronger, but part of this argument is that if the stronger is to make a mistake in his commands and the weaker follows, his mistaken commands may backfire and cause harm to the stronger. In simpler terms, if the stronger makes a command that has a negative effect, then it is not in his best interest. Although Thrasymachus’ opinion does seem a bit close minded, his thought process may have been valid considering the time period of Ancient Greece. At this time there were single rulers of cities and countries, some being strict and demanding immediate obedience, this is why his definition of justice may have been skewed in this direction. Socrates was known as one of the most intellectual men around, especially to Plato, and this is why Socrates is seen giving the more knowledgeable, open minded answer.
    An example of this argument between these two would be if Congress passed a law that stated that background checks are not required for the purchase of a firearm. Obviously this would not be in the best interest of Congress and the President. Plato would agree to this because of its direct correlation with his defense against Thrasymachus. Plato was saying that sometimes the interest of the stronger is not what is best for the “weaker” or even himself. This would make Thrasymachus’ opinion invalid. I believe that another reason for its invalidity is because it is a rather broad opinion and doesn’t have much to do with what is morally right or wrong, which I think to be a large part of the definition of justice. In my opinion, justice is getting what one deserves based on their prior actions.

  21. “Then if a man says that justice consists in the repayment of debts, and that good is the debt which a man owes to his friends, and evil the debt which he owes to his enemies, –to say this is not wise; for it is not true, if, as has been clearly shown, the injuring of another can be in no case just. ”

    This passage from the Republic means that no one should be bias to another when deciding what is just. This passage alludes to Plato’s broader discussion of honesty through being un-bias. It is also at odds with the idea expressed that aiding an unjust person or an evil person can mean you are being unjust. I believe that during the time period ancient Greece was accepting to art, education, and more but still readily turned to war to solve their conflicts and expand their country. Greece’s expansion philosophy is at odds with Plato’s passage that clearly shows Greece felt it owed neighboring countries nothing.

    I agree that you should never be bias in any means but I do not agree with that there is an idea of justice that is true in this world. No matter what the situation, someone will see the situation as unjust. In the case of Socrates being executed, Plato saw it as unjust but the government saw it as just. Just a few months ago, America payed Iran 400 million as a part of a $1.3 billion payment we owe them from 1979 but that same day 4 American prisoners were released from Iranian prisons, making the money look like ransom, which goes against “The No Ransom Payment Act”. Some people saw that Iran releasing the prisoners among payment was a goodwill gesture but others saw it as ransom. And this all leads back to justice is in the eye of the beholder.

  22. Socrates: You are very kind, I said; and would you have the goodness also to inform me, whether you think that a state, or an army, or a band of robbers and thieves, or any other gang of evil-doers could act at all if they injured one another?
    Thrasymachus: No indeed, they could not.
    Socrates: But if they abstained from injuring one another, then they might act together better? Thrasymachus: Yes.
    Socrates: And this is because injustice creates divisions and hatreds and fighting, and justice imparts harmony and friendship; is not that true, Thrasymachus?

    The passage I plucked from page thirty two is in my view, a universal abstract that applies to anything political or historical. One can relate this passage to everything from ancient Athens all the way to present day America. At the time this was written, corruption, violence, and injustice was rampant. After the Peloponnesian War was fought and Plato saw this violence as a result of injustice and in-fighting. Plato also witnessed the injustice of higher order when his mentor Socrates was executed for spreading his ideals. So for Plato, talking about justice and injustice, giving light to how it makes people act is a big eye opener; not just for the people in Athens at the time but for me as well. Reading his interpretations on justice and injustice makes me see how justice and injustice influences how the modern day world operates.
    In the modern world, we see injustice on all platforms of society. We see political injustice and corruption, we see social injustice and inequity, we even see injustice within our school systems. The truth is that this passage is as applicable to today as it was in ancient Athens. I can safely side with Plato on the fact that injustice does hinder harmony and promotes divisions. For example, Congress is split into two political parties; each with their own set of ideals. Each side believes the others ideals are injustice in politics. So while this division occurs, so does governmental deadlock. Nobody in congress can work together because of their views and this causes more injustice on more local scale. The population is divided because they see what is happening in congress as injustice to the American people. As far as working together goes, a lot more would get done if injustice was not prevalent in American politics. Plato, in my opinion, successfully rendered an underlying issue of modern society while living in 390 B.C.

  23. “But is the art of medicine or any other art faulty or deficient in any quality in the same way that the eye may be deficient in sight or the ear fail of hearing, and therefore requires another art to provide for the interests of seeing and hearing –has art in itself, I say, any similar liability to fault or defect, and does every art require another supplementary art to provide for its interests, and that another and another without end? Or have the arts to look only after their own interests? Or have they no need either of themselves or of another? –having no faults or defects, they have no need to correct them, either by the exercise of their own art or of any other; they have only to consider the interest of their subject-matter. For every art remains pure and faultless while remaining true –that is to say, while perfect and unimpaired. Take the words in your precise sense, and tell me whether I am not right.” (Page 20) −The Republic, Book 1

    In the passage above, Socrates talks to Thrasymachus about their debate about justice belonging to the mightiest and fittest. Thrasymachus argues that those that are more powerful are the individuals who would determine justice and injustice such as rulers who determine the law of their land and see it as their right and nothing can make their judgement wrong. Thrasymachus provides an example about a physician, arithmetician, and grammarian so that as long as they don’t produce any errors in their field their titles are valid, which grants them the power of justice and influence over their subjects. Socrates, however, disagrees with Thrasymachus. In the above quote, Socrates explains that all “art” (anything superior to its subjects e.g. a physician to its patients) has imperfections and is subject to error at any moment due to those imperfections. However, it does not mean that the art can no longer provide its services to its “subject-matters” (e.g. a physician won’t stop to care for people even if it made a mistake with its previous patient). This goes back to Plato’s original statement about justice and what is truly justifiable and it contains this idea that justice has interests only to its subject-matters, not of the strong or themselves.
    Our current understanding of justice within our society ties with Plato’s reasoning of a true justice system. For example, it’s possible for you to go to a famous writer or author and point the grammatical mistakes of its text. However, it doesn’t make the author nor the person who checks for such errors stripped away of their titles belonging to those professions nor do authors write novels just for themselves but instead they write to the public to convey their messages. Most of the aspects of our modern society revolves around this concept of justice. Growing up in such a society, when I read this text of Plato’s it felt very familiar as if Plato was a modern writer. Unfortunately, our society isn’t perfect, just like the arts. A true justice system all throughout a society is impossible due to the fact that such a society was created and governed by humans themselves, which leads to imperfections.

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