Plato's Republic: Clarifying Justice and Ideal Society

Classified in Philosophy and ethics

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What Concept Does Plato Try to Clarify in The Republic and Why?

The Republic is a work whose object of discussion is to determine what justice consists of.

Plato wants to clarify justice, because for Plato it is easier to perceive justice in a complex existence than in a simple one.

He said that it’s easier to understand how justice operates in a city than in a single individual. Justice is a virtue common to man and the city; we could look for it, therefore, in one and another; as the city is very big, justice must be inscribed in it more clearly.

Which Three Classes Do the Ideal Society of Plato Need? Why Are They Necessary?

  • Producers/workers/artisans: to gather the social body with all the necessary goods for its survival.
  • Auxiliaries/defenders/guardians/warriors: to protect/defend the social body from any possible attacks/threats.
  • Rulers: to rule over the guardians or producers fairly and orienting them to the common good.

How is Producers' Life in the Ideal Republic of Plato? How is That of Auxiliaries and Rulers?

  • Producers: possessors of wealth, the only class that has the right to private property and to own a family, they must be allowed to enjoy the material enjoyments that derive from the possession of wealth.
  • Auxiliaries: no access to wealth, not private property and not have a family either. They must live in barracks where they have everything they need to carry out their activities, and they will live as a community, sharing all, both men and women. They shouldn’t have attachments because they will fight for those individuals. (Fully concentrated on defending the city).
  • Rulers: they have lots of responsibilities and tasks given by Plato such as good governance. No access to private property or family. They will watch only for the good government of the city, focus on the study to know what is good to govern the city properly, so that their life will be far from all the unnecessary comforts to fulfill their function. Make that such rulers are possible, that is why they study for it.

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