The Republic is a book written by Plato. The main aim of this book is to show justice for what it is to the society. It seeks to explain why people should be just; whether for its benefits or being just for the mere fact of avoiding the evil that comes with being unjust. The book is in series and each section is structured to prove an aspect of Justice. True to his earlier work, Plato uses Socratic dialogue to explore this important aspect that has been both acclaimed and maimed almost in equal measure. Books 1 and 2 presents a scenario where interlocutors in the persons of Polemarchus, Glaycon, Adeimantus and Thrasymachus engage in defining justice and discussing its merits and demerits.
Each of the four personalities approach Justice from a distinctive yet equally informed point of view. Despite this distinction, their ideologies seem to agree on one aspect-justice is not necessarily desirable under free will. In his view, Polemarchus presents justice as the satisfaction gained from helping a friend and seeing to it that harm comes to our enemies. To him everyone deserves a pay back based on who they are and what they have done. Polemarchus is of the view disregards the obvious weakness that we do not always befriend the virtuous people. This therefore, calls to question the society’s stability and peace, given the fact that justice will be based mainly on politics of popularity. Plato seeks to dispense this shallow understanding of justice by illustrating that justice is far much more than a mere apportioning of rewards. Additionally, Plato brings into question the individual ability to reach a fair judgment of others on whether they are morally correct to be our friends or otherwise.
Thrasymachus idea of justice is, by far, the most nefarious. He postulates that justice is nothing but the advantage of the mighty. His is more of a delegitimization rather than a definition of justice. His take is that justice is a cruel invention of the rich and the mighty to keep the frail and poverty stricken people on check. Thrasymachus goes ahead to put his theory on scale by illustrating that all the unjust in our societies are the wealthiest and most honored individual. In contrast, those who abide under the regulation of justice are nothing but shells and face of poverty. True as this may sound Thrasymachus equation of justice to greed for power and money at the expense of others is ill informed. His theory assumes that living under a just situation yields no rewards whatsoever.
Apparently, Thrasymachus’ theory seeks to sanctify greed as a virtue which is simply outrageous as contested by Plato. In His second book, Plato seeks to show the beauty of appreciating the different gifts bestowed on each person by God or Zeus. In an effort to tutor people in the benefits of respecting the political structures of society, Plato states thus “The result, then, is that more plentiful and better-quality goods are more easily produced if each person does one thing for which he is naturally suited, does it at the right time, and is released from having to do any of the others. Here Plato is keen to dispel any notion that some people are unfairly greater than others as Thrasymachus may have implied in his theory.
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Glaucon and Adeimantus take on justice heavily borrowed from Thrasymachus’ theory. Glaucon is of the view that living a just life will require skill because it would involve proving that justice is desirable for what it is and for what we gain from it. On his part, Glaucon presents Justice as a social contract. That is, people choose justice not for its good but out of fear of the cost it will have on them should they disregard it. Both Glaucon’s and Adeimantus’s views borrow from Thrasymachus idea that Justice is a necessary evil. However, Glaucon and Adeimantus’ theories are different from Thrasymachus in the sense that unlike Thrasymachus, the two do not advocate for sanctifying greed as a virtue.
In conclusion, Plato dispels the unfounded assumption that Justice in its entirety is flawed. He contends that there are inconsistencies in application of justice but strongly dispute any attempts by the four personalities to sacrifice Justice on the alter of its mode of application
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