Justice In Plato's Republic

1000 Words4 Pages
Justice is characteristically thought of being good for society and virtuous to be just. In Plato’s Republic, he deliberates through Socrates and Glaucon whether justice is good for the soul. In the beginning, Glaucon believes that justice is not a natural function of the soul. However, Socrates is able to convince Glaucon that justice is a part of the soul that is good for humans using the function argument and examples. Socrates describes function as something an object can perform, while virtue allows the object to perform its function well. Socrates presents the function argument and this is where the two have contention. The following is the function argument: P1: The function of a human soul is to live a human kind of life(353d) P2:…show more content…
Additionally, if Socrates is able to convince P2 is true, then Glaucon will agree with P3 and P4 because they relate back to P2. Glaucon believes that the reason people act just is because it is a necessary evil, similar to exercising or getting painful medical examinations. He believes the “pain” the necessary evil of justice in the present, will prevent the greater evils in the future. For example, if a person must get a blood test, then they need to have a needle stuck in their arm to withdraw the blood. This procedure may be painful, however, it is a preventative measure to make sure there are no other further issues with the person. Glaucon supposes that humans are natural acquisitive and competitive beings and that acting just is contrary to the human function and virtue. Additionally, Glaucon believes that people suffer from both justice and injustice. Moreover, people would rather suffer justice than injustice from society and that is the reason we form a ‘social contract theory’, that is later developed and elevated under Thomas Hobbes. Nevertheless, Glaucon uses a thought experiment known as the Ring of Gyges to demonstrate that humans are not naturally just souls. The Ring of Gyges gives the wearer the ability to be invisible, which allows the person to act with impunity. Furthermore, he introduces two people, the just and unjust person. He states that if they both receive the Ring of…show more content…
Socrates was able to do this by demonstrating that the soul is similar to a city and it has different parts to it. Additionally, Socrates if these parts do their own task, then they are acting just. Furthermore, a soul that is just is healthy and an unjust one is unhealthy. However, a problem arises for Socrates when one thinks of the cool scoundrel. The cool scoundrel is someone that gets praise for being a criminal and has no ramifications for his/her actions. This is similar to a thief character from Hollywood that gets admiration from the audience because the cool scoundrel does not care if they get in trouble. Also, the cool scoundrel ends up benefiting more from being a criminal. Nevertheless, this example should be viewed as an outlier or even fits the mold of the person’s soul having a sort of “cancer”. Not many people are getting praise for being a criminal in reality and not very many fit the frame of the cool scoundrel. Consequently, Socrates explanation of what justice is more convincing than
Open Document