In The Republic of Plato, Socrates discusses his view on the virtue of justice and injustice. He believes both injustice and justice are very important parts of virtue that explains the sense of what is right or wrong. Socrates has always told his followers why the sense of justice is such a good thing to learn and never really why injustice will get people nowhere. But in the story, The Republic of Plato, Socrates explains the difference between justice and injustice and the good and bad of justice and injustice.
Socrates believes that justice is something that needs to be learned by a person and those who use the concept of injustice are not doing any good to themselves or the community. Rather causing harm to themselves and everyone around them, putting peoples view of them as unjust. Socrates states that injustice does no good for a person, only bad. He gives many examples on why he feels as though injustice is so harmful. One example uses a horse where Socrates says, “Do horses that have been harmed become better or worse,” and Polemarchus responds by answering the question, “Worse” (335b).
In another example he uses is a dog, with respect to the horse, where he asks, “And when dogs are harmed, do they become worst with respect to the virtue of dogs and not to that of horses” (335b-c). Socrates’ points in these examples are if a human hurts an animal for doing something in retrospect to their nature, then the human is unjust. This is because no one benefits from the situation; the animal is being hurt for doing its regular set functions and the human will be seen as a cruel unjust person for it.
Socrates believes that the only time you may harm someone and it is not seen as unjust is when you harm a bad man or enemy (335b). Socrates associates a lot of the difference with awarding good men and harming bad men. Socrates believes good men are those who follow virtuous deeds and bad men are those who harm others by doing bad deeds to them (stealing, beating, etc. ). Socrates also believes that people should only be friends with the good man and enemies of the bad man. Polemarchus asks, “Then the good man, as it seems, will by the argument be a friend and a good-for-nothing man an enemy,” and Socrates responds with a “Yes.
” With some people, Socrates does come to the conclusion that some may think their friend is a good man when he really is not (334c). He believes humans make that mistake all the time, so therefore that person of the bad friend is also seen as bad. Socrates says it is impossible for a good man to teach a bad man good by virtue, so there is no way for a good friend to teach a bad friend good. Therefore good (just) men cannot cooperate with bad (unjust) men because it is not possible. Finally, he explains the difference using the examples of how justice and injustice are beneficial or not.
When the terms justice and injustice come up, people would believe that justice is more beneficial than injustice. But in a way justice and injustice are both beneficial. Socrates example of justice uses the example of people who help others because those who help others are just. People who help others are very beneficial because they save lives, heal, make others happy, etc. The way that injustice is seen as unbeneficial is when a person steals, kills, etc. , and has had no regret for their deed. But the way that injustice is seen as beneficial is when someone harms an enemy or unjust person.
Even though harming another is seen as unjust, if someone puts an unjust person in punishment then that unjust person cannot cause any more harm to others, therefore injustice solved a problem of injustice. So Socrates concludes that justice and injustice are both beneficial, but justice is more beneficial because it has no flaws unlike injustice. In Conclusion, Socrates sums up that the definition of justice is speaking the truth and giving back what one takes. This means speaking only what is true about something or someone and giving back what a person owes to another.
Justice is better than injustice because overall injustice causes harm to those who commit the act and to those around them. Justice heals people, makes things all right, or solves a problem. Justice has all to do with doing good and nothing bad (depending on the situation), unlike injustice. On earth people need protectors and helpers, not stealers, cheaters, and those of the reckless nature. Overall if there were more justice in the world and less injustice, the world would be a much better place by a huge margin.
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