Justice Definition

316 words | 2 page(s)

The words and thoughts of Socrates are found in the works of Plato. In The Republic, Book IV, Socrates defines justice as “doing one’s own work.” In this way, he believes that it is just for everyone to have his or her own occupation and for one to engage in it. A person should not be deprived of his or her own occupation because another individual is engaging in it. A person should not meddle in the occupation and jobs of another individual.

Socrates believes that this is justice because it will give a specific meaning, through a daily task to each individual in the city. All of the three groups in the city, the rulers, the auxiliaries and the others, must perform their occupation. Furthermore, none of the individuals from any of the groups can interfere in how the others in each group perform their job duty. Obviously, this would create a city in which there is more harmony and less fighting. It requires each individual to essentially mind his or her own business, while still ensuring that the tasks necessary for the city’s harmony are completed. Any individual who has ever been forced to do the job of another, for instance, due to laziness on the part of the second person, most certainly feels a sense of injustice. Furthermore, if a person who has nothing to do with one’s job continually asks questions, the person is often being unfair, and therefore unjust to the individual trying to accomplish the job.

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Socrates refers to principles that were laid down and repeated through the course of the discussion. He is referring to the other principles and ideals that are necessary for the city to be ideal. These include wisdom, virtue and courage. Obviously, justice is not the only principle that would create an ideal city or community. These other principles are also necessary.

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