Plato shows the state is no different from the characteristics of an Individual Human. Explain how Plato in his philosophy brings out the virtue of Justice in an Individual and Justice in the state?
Next, to Plato’s Theory of Knowledge, it comes the Philosophy of Morality and Politics. Plato accepted his master’s opinion on knowledge being the virtue and further substantiated it as the fulfillment of the various functions of the parts of the soul.
Plato gives us his own definition of Justice which, individually is a “Human Virtue’’ that makes a person morally self-conscious, and a good human being. Justice is some kind of specializations which enables the harmonious existence in a society and the fundamental principle for the orderly society.
According to Plato, society growth is inherent in the nature of individuals. The overall outlook of the society must show the structure of individuals nature. The predecessors had always considered Justice as the external things, in some ways the accomplishments. But Plato felt Justice is something internal, rooted to individual’s soul; the inward grace and understanding of the self from which everything exists in harmonious ways.
At the basic level, a State must come to an individual performing appropriate functions. Plato defying and criticizing the conventional ideas of justice, he said soul has three parts.
The Appetite is the lowest, avaricious element. Spirit is the honor loving ambitious part and the reason which tries to seek the ultimate truth or knowledge. An individual is best when each part of the soul perform its functions without interfering or meddling with other parts of the soul. For instance, the element of the reason must be dominated by conscience, reason, and knowledge on behalf of the entire soul. Likewise, Spirit can not take place of the reason. The spirit tries to seek the might, power or honor to create a good life.
At times, the spirit part of the soul might strive to seek too much power but in order to have normal stands, it must remain subordinate to the reason– the highest knowledge. It enables them to stay in balanced pace and harmonious to each other.
Now, the third element or the appetite which he said is a conscienceless part which strives towards bodily pleasures. Even though each part has their specific functions, they must also depend on each other. The appetite is an irrational part, which when not controlled, might claim dominion over the rational part. Therefore it must be under constant watch by the rational in prudent ways. When all the three agree that among them the reason alone should rule, there is justice within the individual.
Corresponding to the three elements of the individual’s soul, a society or a state is formed by the three classes of people connected to individual’s soul. Plato believed that state is formed because of the economic needs. There must be resources for the livelihood but with coming times. It has become apparent that no amount of the essential needs are sufficient or self-sufficing. The urge for adequate drives them to form associations in the vicinity and the division of labor remained an essential tool for production. Each individual did the work that naturally fitted them.
With coming times, when a man’s basic economic needs fulfilled, they craved for even more. They never ceased to have complicated desires. This required them to have sophisticated means of dealing with ambiguous works, the efficient input and higher results of everything eventually creating more job markets and professions. This led to the formation of artisans and craftsmen. The artisans and the farmers are after all no different from the appetite of individual’s soul. Both of them strives towards getting pleasures through productions of luxuries etc. They are the lowest rung of the ladder.
When the resources began to deplete, the want for ultimate luxuries makes one state to invade other. This results in scuffles and war sabotaging or winning over other places. In order to safeguard the state, another group of people come together and form militaries etc, for fighting. This class of guardian shield the state from external invasions and help create a peaceful and tranquil society. The class of warriors and defenders of the state is the representative of spirit; They seek honor and are the brave people.
Ultimately, the best ones from the guardian would become rulers of the state. Rulers are the highest class of the people in a society and represent the rational part of the soul. The ultimate class must have the authority over the other classes of people.
For the peaceful society, it is must for the individual to do their duties which are allotted to them without meddling with the duties of other classes of people. The justice is visible on the larger panorama only when a virtue is attained in individual level. And to achieve the virtue, all must have the wisdom, the warriors must have the courage and the king should have the highest knowledge of the Good. They must be well learned in their special task.
The best survival of the state, therefore, is inherent in the individual. This act as the binding force in the society. Justice is not right of the strongest, but of the individual doing their job in a harmonious manner. The harmony revolves around the good both individually and socially.