Plato and the Individual


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It is a form of intellectual aristocracy. The state is the individual writ large. On the analogy of the tripartite division of the soul, society is stratified into three classes, the rulers, the auxiliary, and the artisans, each class having its own specific virtue: the rulers wisdom, the auxiliary valour, and the artisans self-restraint and willing obedience. Every member of the community must be assigned to the class for which he proves himself best fitted.

Dunning, Plato says in this field:. Yes, we often said that one man should do one thing only. In his theory of Ethics, Plato held that the soul is in essence rational and immortal. The world of true beings, the world of ideas, is the source of all its goodness. The body is material and is the ground of all-evil. It is only a temporary prison house. Release from the body and contemplation of the beautiful ream of ideas, is the ultimate goal of life.

The embodied soul is wise if reason rules all its impulses. It is brave if its spirited part aids and obeys the rational part, temperate, if both spirit and appetite obey the dictates of reason, and just. If all the three parts perform their respective functions in unison. The idea of this life is achieved when a man is wise, brave, temperate, and just.

The highest good of life is the harmony of the soul which is attained by the exercise of all the four virtues, wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice, under the guidance of reason. The greatest happiness attends the life that achieves the highest good and contemplates the highest ideas. For Plato, justice is the fundamental virtue, mother of the virtues belonging to each of the three souls.

For the intelligence it consists in the correctness of thought; for the will, in courage for the sensibility, in temperance. Wisdom is the justice of the mind; courage, the justice of the heart; temperance, the justice of the senses.


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Piety is justice in our relation with the Deity; it is synonymous with justice in general. Justice is realized only in the collective man or in the state.

"The Ideal City" by Scott London

In order that the collective man or the state may form a real unity or an individual on the large scale, particular interests must be merged in the general interest, the family must be absorbed in the state, the individual must cease to be a proprietor. Henceforth, the children belong to the state only, which forms one large family. The state is the father of the children; the state also educates them. Justice, to Plato, has a moral rather than legal content. It has its individual and social aspects. It is a principle of functional specialization, which moves everyone to make a specialized contribution to society.

Specialization leads to efficiency. Justice is architectonic and keeps other virtues in harmonious relationship with each other. It permeates and integrates the other virtues of wisdom, courage and self-control and keeps them within proper bounds. As such, justice is the bond that holds the society together. Aristotle was born at Stagira in Thrace in B.

Aristotle believed, like his master, Plato, that justice is the very essence of the state, and that no polity can endure for a long time unless it is founded on a right scheme of justice. It is with this consideration in view that Aristotle proceeds to set forth his theory of justice. The theory, however, was not developed by him in isolation. He sat the concept of human happiness basis of his discussion, and explains the concept of justice on the basis of individual life- He says in this field:. Justice is relative to persons, and a justice distribution is one in which the relative values of the things given correspond to those of the persons receiving.

Aristotle, According to Aristotle, justice in individual is the harmony in the human soul, and in the society is equality and proportion in the enjoyment of values. In other words, the common interest. All men think justice to be a sort of equality; and to a certain extent they agree in the philosophical distinctions which have been laid down by us about Ethics.

For they admit that justice is a thing having relation to persons, and that equals ought to have equality. However there still remains a question — equality or inequality of what? Aristotle, Justice, to Aristotle as to Plato, is virtue in action. Justice means that every member of a community should fulfill his moral obligation towards the fellow-members of his community. Justice in the political sense, has two divisions : 1.

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Corrective justice is concerned with voluntary commercial transactions like sale, hire furnishing of security, etc. This type of justice relates primarily but not exclusively to political privileges. From this point of view, each type of political organization has its own standard of worth and, therefore, of distributive justice.

In a democracy, the standard of worth is free birth; in an oligarchy it is riches, in aristocracy of birth it is descent while in true aristocracy it is virtue.

The good life

It minimizes strife and confusion by countering inequality of the equals or the equality of the un-equals. Aristotelian distributive justice is, thus, the other name of proportionate equality i. The family is based on two relations: the relation between man and woman and that between master and slave, both of which are considered to be natural.

Plato, holding a copy of his dialogue Timeo Timaeus , points upward to the heavens; Aristotle, holding his Etica Ethics , points outward to the world.

Ideal State

Although this view is generally accurate, it is not very illuminating, and it obscures what Plato and Aristotle have in common and the continuities between them, suggesting wrongly that their philosophies are polar opposites. The most fundamental difference between Plato and Aristotle concerns their theories of forms. The term is lowercased when used to refer to forms as Aristotle conceived them.

For Plato, the Forms are perfect exemplars, or ideal types, of the properties and kinds that are found in the world. Corresponding to every such property or kind is a Form that is its perfect exemplar or ideal type. A thing is a beautiful black horse because it participates in the Beautiful, the Black, and the Horse; a thing is a large red triangle because it participates in the Large, the Red, and the Triangle; a person is courageous and generous because he or she participates in the Forms of Courage and Generosity; and so on.

For Plato, Forms are abstract objects , existing completely outside space and time. Thus they are knowable only through the mind, not through sense experience. Moreover, because they are changeless, the Forms possess a higher degree of reality than do things in the world, which are changeable and always coming into or going out of existence.

For Aristotle, forms do not exist independently of things—every form is the form of some thing. Substantial and accidental forms are not created, but neither are they eternal. They are introduced into a thing when it is made, or they may be acquired later, as in the case of some accidental forms. For both Plato and Aristotle, as for most ancient ethicists, the central problem of ethics was the achievement of happiness. They rule the State. The Auxiliaries , who love courage, honor, and their homeland above all.

They defend the State. The Producers , who love fruits of their labors, security, comfort, and material well-being above all.

Plato and the Individual Plato and the Individual
Plato and the Individual Plato and the Individual
Plato and the Individual Plato and the Individual
Plato and the Individual Plato and the Individual
Plato and the Individual Plato and the Individual
Plato and the Individual Plato and the Individual

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