Friday, December 28, 2018
Justice in the Republic
Having read various materials and several definitions of justice in the Republic my definition is different now then it was before. This is not because I have completely changed my views, but because my eyes were opened to many avenues that I had not yet taken. I will first give Webster’s definition of justice: The administration of what is just (as by assigning merited rewards or punishments) 2: judge 3: administration of law 4: fairness; also: righteousness. I feel that justice is something different for everyone, depending on each person’s circumstance. For example many people get shot here in New York City. Some would agree that justice would be to have the person who committed the crime to pay for it with their own life. This could either be by death or life in prison, which to some is much worse. In other cases with a just and unjust argument a good person who does not commit crimes and would not take advantage of a circum-
stance even if they knew they could get away with it, could also be justice. I would actually agree with Webster’s number four definition: fairness. To me, this really sums up what I have always believed the word justice meant. If a person commits a crime no matter how big or small there should be actions taken. The punishment in the victim’s eyes may not always be as tremendous as the crime or even be enough to satisfy. We have a government who has to set and make sure laws are abided. Also to see that “justice” will come to those who are victims or to victim’s families.
In reading about Socrates ideal city I see a lot that would be of merit. Too much of the story about the hypothetical city that he came up with is unattainable. He had hopes of a complete utopia. This could not work because all throughout time the world and the people in it are progressing. In Socrates’ day and in our own today there were and always will be those of who strive for a better existence. There should be, and why not? To think of what our world would be like if Socrates’ city ever came to be. No ones technology would have progressed in any form. In the case of a war, if the majority had stayed the way he had hoped for it would only take a small group of individuals to break away and quickly advance. This could have been another country and it would become survival of the fittest. The many that were programmed not to be anything but their contributing part to their community would not have any other skills. This is the main reason Socrates’ city would not work. But his selection of rulers being the most intelligent and concerned with the well being of its people and not of wealth was of value. The idea of selective breeding would yes, most likely having paired couples by intelligence and appearance be successful, but nothings ever perfect. I can’t imagine a city full of children and parents who don’t know exactly who they’re related to. Even though every one would be considered “family” I think it would be heart breaking.
Glaucon tells Socrates that the “ideal city” he has come up with is only fit for pigs. So, Socrates begins to elaborate on the features of the city. The professional soldiers who are also the Guardians must be carefully selected. Their training, upbringing, intelligence, and strength was pertinent. They had to excel in all things such as gymnastics and music. The older should rule the younger. They must have the interest of the city first in mind, because that of which a man loves he will protect. The question that Socrates raises is that of how can it be guaranteed that all citizens will obey? Glaucon came up with a lie or myth to tell all citizens and make them believe it. This was the structure of classes called the Myth of Metals. This is where the social levels would be divided in to Gold – the rulers, Silver – the auxiliaries, and Bronze – the tradesmen. The lie was that the off spring of the particular metal would be that of the parent, just as a cast system. Socrates did acknowledge that the citizens would probably doubt this lie or myth for the first few generations. He ultimately hoped it would end in a loyal and stable city. The Guardians would provide the education for the children of this city. If a child were born in to the wrong class it would be removed and put in to the correct class. This is if people from different “metal” classes gold, silver, or bronze procreated a child. The child would have to be removed because that was not allowed. The people would contribute to the city the skill they favored the most and this would be their sole skill and job in life. The rulers felt if the city were well educated and learned to be people of discernment then they would grasp things like mating and procreation quickly, and know not to disrupt the system at hand. They said if the city gets a proper start it would gain momentum and grow quickly and efficiently. Education was the main concern for the Guardians to deliver. The children would not be allowed to sidetrack with things such as gymnastics, music, or poetry because it could undermine the city.
One issue that was discussed in great length was the role of women. The idea of having men and women equal in this society on all accounts except for physical strength made me wonder why the rest of history, including today didn’t think like that. They would be raised, trained, and educated the same. The women also learned the art of war. The main question was if women could perform all the tasks that men could? Also, could women really handle war? It was said that if the only difference that came up between men and women is that one begets and one can give birth then there is no difference to argue. The bottom line is that sex cannot be a criterion of who is in a governmental or any other position in the city.
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