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Plato On Justice Essay, Research Paper

J. Dylan Beazley teacher: T. Parrish mid-term 03/05/01 Justice is harder to maintain than injustice, which is what good men must strive for, regardless of whether they could be unjust and still be rewarded. Justice is a form of goodness. Justice is a virtue, a human excellence. If a man thinks that he would be able to steel a loaf of bread and get a way with it, he might, but he would not be just. “The soul of an individual consists of three basic element or faculties: reason, sprit (passion), and appetite (desire)” (14). If the three basic faculties are well balanced then it means you have to have wisdom for the element of reason, you have temperance for desire, and you have courage for passion. “ The harmony of the three faculties constitutes justice, which is the overarching virtue” (14).

What is good or right depends on the individual. It is like two men going fishing for dinner. You could take two guys to the same lake with just two poles and some bait. The first guy goes to a cove and start fishing here. The other guy just cast his reel from were he stand. He look over at the other guy and ask “Why are you fishing way over there” the guy fishing in the cove replies “because this is were the fish are biting so it has got to be good fishing”. He believes it is good for him even though he can’t actually see the fish. His knowledge or wisdom of the lake has given him some in site to where the fish are going to be. So what is good or right for an individual depends on his knowledge of what is good.

Injustice is not better for people than justices. Injustice gone undetected will only fester and cause a bigger problem. Like in the story the ring of gyges if a person can go undetected then he would he would act unjust and his reason would tell him that it was all right because he would never get caught. If the injustice is caught ether by man or a higher power then the soul can be “humanized”. Injustice is like a deep cut on your leg. As time goes by and by if the cut (or injustice) has not received treatment (punishment) then it worsens. It will just keep getting worse if not taken care of until it is eventually untreatable. Unlike the cut you can still punish the injustice but, I think, if too much time has elapsed then the chances of the punishment, silencing the brutal nature of the man, having any effect on his soul are pass the point of no return. The correct and timely treatment (or punishment) will help the cut heal and like wise the brutal nature of the soul can be corrected.

I think that Plato has some good and solid idea. He has a little problem because he defines justice but doesn’t really give a good reason why we should be moral. It is hard comprehend that because some one is knowledgeable and wise the they are always going to do what is moral and give justice to all. He has the right idea that knowledge is the key because an uneducated decision is an unwise decision and that is most often not the moral or just thing to do. So the more education some one has the better of they are going to be because of the knowledge of what is good.

J. Dylan Beazley Teacher: T. Parrish mid-term part I 03/05/01

There is a difference in what is good for me and what I call good. Take a cocaine addict for example. If he was brought up in a stable home, might start out using cocaine and know it is bad for him but he like the way it make him feel. So he replace his rational sense of good and now he think that because the cocaine make him feel good it must be good for him. He is wrong though because he is not being rational. If he could break the addiction then he would see that for a desire to be rational is has to be truly good. With that he would be able to focus on a real desire.

Hobbes gives us his idea of the nature of mankind. All men are generally equal. The strongest man can be beaten by the weakest, if the weaker man uses some other force. If you take Mike Tyson and a master chest player in a hand to hand fight the odd are that mike will win. But put a gun in the hand of the chest player and he odd are now in his favor. When it comes to intelligence men are even more equal, since all men are of equal experience, which is the only way to gain wisdom.

There is a state in which interactions lead to a war of every man for himself. If two men want something of which there is only one then this leads to each trying to destroy the other. Competition also rises when men want what others have. Men must always be on guard, because they cannot trust others not to attack them. They would not have time to sleep or build a shelter because by the time they had it finished some one would have destroyed it or kill you for it.

This all leads to a state of war, every man for him self. The state of nature is always at war. This constant state of war leads to no form of industry or culture, since every man lives in fear of all others. Even now men slip into this state of civil war between each other. Leaders of our nation and other countries are constantly fighting over land and are always on guard against enemies.

There is no justice or injustice in this original state of nature, because there are no laws or sovereign to enforce them. A man can only be unjust if he goes against some law. Nothing belongs to anyone; everyone has a right to everything for as long as they can hold on to it. Constant fear of death and a want for a better life is what causes men to endeavor for peace. So men begin to come into agreements governed by the laws of nature.

With a society there now are law that give moral obligations. Which means that a right and wrong are now choices that have to be made rationally. If you were walking down the street, for example, behind a guy that drops a twenty-dollar bill. If you were truly thinking ration then you wouldn’t give the money back because no one saw you and the man doesn’t know about it. I don’t think that rational prudence is sufficient enough for social relations. Because if everyone were making a rational decision then everyone would be trying to take advantage of each other because it is human nature to be self interested. Self-interest is not something that we can help; it is just the way we are. It is more like self-welfare than self interest because you are only doing what is in your nature. Reason why we lock our doors and get alarms is because people try to take advantage of a situation. Most people would say that an act such as not returning the twenty dollars, is a selfish act. If you look at it as if you have the same right to any thing as the next guy then you have the right to the money even though it really isn’t yours.

J. Dylan Beazley Teacher: T. Parrish mid-term part II 03/05/01

Hobbes’s notion of self-interest comes from the basis that in the state of nature very thing is based upon self-interest. Because it is in our nature to be self-interested, Hobbes sees it as taking care of yourself rather than being selfish. “Because it is vain for a man to have a right to the end, if the right to the necessary means be denied him, it follow, that since every man hath a right to preserve himself, he must also be allowed a right to use all the means, and do all the action, without which he cannot preserve himself” (110). This is our nature to use all means and action to get what we need and want this is were a civil society come it to play. With our laws and common understanding of the laws we act civil because it is in our best interest. Being moral or civil can gain you the help that you need to get what you want. I think that Hobbes is trying to point out that as long as you don’t go around killing people or intentionally hurting people to get what you want then in civil society you have just as much right as the next guy. The society has to form so that we can build on our self-interest. If not then we would have nothing.

Kant has a different notion of self-interest. He sees self-interest as being selfish in a way. “To be beneficent when we can is a duty; and besides this, there are many minds so sympathetically constituted that, without any other motives of vanity or self-interest, they find pleasure in spreading joy around them, and can take delight in the satisfaction of others so far as it is there own work”(156). It is through duty that we have a moral sense of what is right and wrong. “Duty is the necessity of acting from respect for the law”(156). If you obey the law then you are acting just and moral according to Kant because it is not what the out come of a situation is it is the motives behind what you are doing that give the action it moral worth.

A person goes in to see a doctor because they are having health problems. Hobbes would presumably think that any advice that the doctor gives is going to be good. The only reason it is going to be good is his self-interest because he does not want a lawsuit against him, he wants your money because that is his interest, and he want you to come back so you will spend more money and that is how he make a living. Kant would argue that the doctor gave you advice not because of the money or that he want to see you again but because it is his duty to. If the doctor didn’t give you good advice then he is not acting moral even if you do get better, because it is not what the outcome that make thing moral it is the motives behind the action.

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