Plato’s Views on Justice and Democracy |

Plato’s Views on Justice and Democracy

Plato’s Views on Justice and Democracy

Posted on Jul 2017:- By: PaperHub

Justice. What is the correct definition of justice? In a society where individuals only watch out for themselves only, justice may only be taken to imply the happiness of oneself. Plato’s perception on political philosophy addresses the notion of justice in the society. Plato is considered as the founder of philosophical idealism by means of his conviction regarding the universal notion in the world (Plato & Reeve 5).  During Plato’s history of political thinking, there is no thinker who has evoked the admiration, respect as well as criticism like Plato. Plato was the first philosopher to create and define political thoughts in a bigger agenda of a philosophical idea. The utmost concern by Plato was how to put the society in order. Just as the contemporary society where we live have different definitions as to what justice is, Plato’s society as well had a difficulty in defining the same term.

 In his writing, “The republic” Plato combines the ideas in the areas such as ethics, philosophy as well as politics. However, he places more emphasis on the subject of justice as well as the advantages that the society can accrue from being just. According to Benjamin & George, “the fundamental issue in ‘The Republic’ was on the definition of justice or the right behavior or morality” (102). He significantly looked into modern perceptions on the issue of justice and after that defined the concept. Consequently, he explained on how the concept in addition to its realization in both an individual and the society. I would like to state my view concerning the subject as to whether Plato was right in his belief that democracy is not a requirement for justice to be served. I will as well give my standpoint on what as an individual considers justice to be.

Plato does not portray any likeness on the subject of democracy, where it is the people who hold the power. This is because he considered that not all people who are in the society have the capacity of making significant decisions. The Platonic principle suggests that it is only a few individuals in a just society that are able to have the principle part of the soul that has the desires to acquire both truth and wisdom. Justice is not a component of the capitalistic society where democracy plays a very minimal part in the ruling. Plato did not as well consider money as significant due to its capacity to propagate corruption (William, Ferrari, &Tom 49).

In Plato’s opinion, for justice to be incorporated in a society, the society ought to be re-arranged. He rejected autonomy in the society as he thought that it was not possible as well as in fact not necessary. Plato dismissed both the democracy as well as its politics. He considered justice to be fundamental for the well being of human beings. “The Republic” is possibly the most influential work that was written by Plato. In this writing, there is use of different dialogues that take place between him and other observers. The fundamental belief that Plato addresses is that “justice as well as happiness stand and fall hand in hand.” The subject of needs and wants relating to human beings is still strongly associated with the picture of necessities for the prosperity of human beings. In “The Republic” Plato asserts that justice is not foolish. He describes it as a sphere of soul that hinders men from desiring more, as more desire may ultimately end up in a behavior that is unjust.

The contemporary democracies these days require liberty and equality. However, Plato did not address one of these requirements in the modern society. But is justice really attainable in democracy? Democracy refers to the ruling of a society or nation by means of the masses, whereby masses must be just so as to make sure that their ruling is just. Plato makes the assumption that it is only the philosophers who are just (Benjamin & George 32). It is not every person in the present society is just. If justice really existed in the society, then the court system would not be necessary. However, the court exists so as to serve justice in an unjust society. There are many instances where injustice has been served in the courts. It is as if justice is meant for the wealthy people in the society, and this explains my view that justice in the modern society is an illusion.

The concept of democracy has significantly changed since the times of Plato. Theories that have explained by other philosophers such as pluralism, feminism, and Marxism have had a great influence in terms of thinking, and the modern society can therefore not be considered as being a pure democracy. It is probable to see the democracy that was in existence during the Plato’s days, for instance, in the ancient Greece, where all the individuals in the society were actively involved (Benjamin & George 101). However, it is not possible to come across this type of a society in the 21st century. Pure democracy in the contemporary society is an illusion that is impossible to achieve.

In my view, the definition of justice does not have clarity in the contemporary societies. This is because an issue that is moral to one individual or a social group may not be considered as being moral by another individual. People tend to describe morality in terms of their perception as compared to that of the society. For instance, the death penalty is not considered as being immoral whereas most European nations consider it as an immoral action. The same applies to the gay and lesbian communities in different parts of the world. There are societies, particularly the Western societies, that refer to gayism as well as lesbianism as being morally upright, and have even given these groups rights so as to make sure that they are protected by the law. In contrast, other nations are very conservative and refer gays as immoral individuals. The laws that different nations have enacted differ on moral grounds of many issues.

In conclusion, I strongly believe that Plato was correct in his belief that justice does not necessarily require democracy for it to be served. If there was a requirement for pure democracy, all the theories that discuss the allocation of power as well as those theories of state would face rejection, which is certainly not the case. These theories are up to now being discussed bt both theorists as well as politicians across the globe, and even many years later, there is no clarity regarding how a democratic state ought to be.