Plato’s Republic focused on the argument of what constitutes the being of a good person. It also tackles the definition of Justice and reflects this question on both the political and personal aspects of a human being. His strategy was to develop ideas on the primary notion of the ideal society, politics, and justice while deriving comparisons on individual justice. Up until now, Philosophers and other scholars still study and write about Plato’s observations and debates. As a Literature writer, I find his theories enlightening and helpful.
Plato inspects in his dialogue the question: “Is the just person happier than the unjust person?” and “What is the relation of justice to happiness?” In these two central questions of the discussion, Plato’s philosophical concerns in the dialogue are both in the ethical and political facet.
Plato wanted to define justice and to define it in order to show that justice is of great importance. He was able to do this by a definition of justice that appeals to human psychology, instead of recognizing behaviors. His questions were: “Why do men behave justly?” Is it because they fear societal punishment? Do the stronger elements of society scare the weak into submission in the name of the law? Or do men behave justly because it is good for them to do so? Is justice, regardless of its rewards and punishments, a good thing in and of itself? Justice is always accompanied by true pleasure. Justice becomes desirable for it offers a just life of order and harmony. Justice is good because it is connected to the greater good, which is the Form of the Good.
In Books II, III, IV Plato establishes justice like the one that maintains harmony in a political body. A perfect society has three classes of people—the producers, the warriors, and the rulers. A society becomes just when the relations between the classes are right. For this to be possible, each group must perform its proper function, and each must have the right position of power. To be able to this, the rulers must rule fairly, the warriors should protect respect the notion of the ruler, and the producers should implement the skills given to them for the benefit of the society.
Justice then, seems to be a concept of profession: a principle that each class should fulfill their role given to them and to not interfere in other roles.
Plato emphasized here that to understand human beings, one has to be aware of the three parts of their being: the rational part, the emotional part, and the appetitive part. This was his way of making an analogy of the human soul.
The appetite is considered the largest aspect of our tripartite soul. It awakens our desire for pleasures such as eating, drinking, or engaging in a sexually gratifying activity.
It is important given that these desires are what keeps us alive: we need to eat to be alive and we need to propagate for the continuation of our human existence. Plato considered this to the sole part that needs money in order to satiate one’s desires. To control this, reason or rationality is needed to balance harmful excessive desires. The Republic by Plato explains the human person’s attributes and its relativity on their motives to act upon something.