Plato was creek philosopher who born in 428 BC in Athens, one of the most important cuty-state of Greece. Plato is one of the most creative and influential thinkers in Western thoughts. Plato belonged to an aristocratic family in the Athenian democracy. His father, Ariston, was believed to be descended from the early kings of Athens. He became a disciple of Socrates, almost the first regular philosopher. Plato witnessed the execution of Socrates be the Athenian democracy in 399 BC. Due to his fears own unsafe position, he left Athens for the time being and went to Italy and Egypt. In 387 BC Plato founded the academy in Athens, the institution often described as the first European university of knowledge. If provided a comprehensive curriculum, including such subjects as astronomy, biology, mathematics, political theory, and philosophy. The concluding years of his life were spent lecturing at the academy and writing. He died at about the age of 80 in Athens in 347 or 347 BC.
Plato is one of the most famous philosophers of ancient Greece, was the first to use the term philosophy, which means ‘’ love of knowledge’’. Plato investigated a wide range of topics. In all his writings there are only two book length works, the republic and the laws. the laws was the last thing Plato wrote, at eighty, and it was a shocking and terrifying conclusion of the totalitarian the situation they came to agreement and instituted law and government through a sort of social contract and preached the philosophy of just. Therefore, justice in this way is something artificial and unnatural. It is through this artificial rule of justice and law that the natural selfishness of man is chained.
In simple words, glaucon defines justice as, ‘’it is the creation of fear and is an external and artificial thing.’’
Plato realizes that all theories expounded by Cephalus, Thrasymachus and glaucon, contained one common element. The one common element was that all of them treated justice as something external ‘’an accomplishment, and importation, or a convention, they have, none of them carried it into the soul or a convention, they have, none of them carried it into the soul or considered it in the place of its habitation.’’ Plato proves that justice does not depend upon a chance, convention or upon external force. It is the right condition of the human soul by the very nature of man when seen in the fullness of environment. It is in this way that Plato condemned the position taken by Glaucon that justice is something, which is external. According to Plato, it is internal as it resides in the human soul.’’ It is now regarded as an inward grace ad its understanding is shown it to involve a study of the inner man.’’ It is, therefore, natural and no artificial. It is therefore, not born of fear of the weak but of the longing of the human soul to do a duty according to its nature.
Simply, Plato says that justice is natural and he believes that state is like a loving organism while individuals are its organs, pain to any individual will suffer the whole body. Therefore, it is justice to look after individuals in the best way. It shall make state strong.
Features of the concept of justice
A unique thing in Plato's political philosophy is his special emphasis on his concept of justice, Plato has based his ideal state on justice and the theory is the crown of his book, ‘’THE REPUBLIC’’. Theory of justice is the vital part of his philosophy and it is his alone thought which was practiced and is still studied by the succeeding generations and students of politics with keen interest. His theory and of justice is eternal while many other thoughts are Utopians. Plato says that justice is the fundamental and natural right of the human beings. The basic stimulant behind this theory was the moral decay and degradation of the Greek Athens that compelled Plato to base his ideal state on the concept of justice for injustice was the main cause of the fall of Athens.
Plato in his thoughts gives very important place to justice. He used the Greek work ‘’dikaisyne’’ for justice, which comes very near to the work ‘morality’ or ‘righteousness’, it properly includes within it the whole duty of man. It also covers the whole field of the individual’s conduct in so far as it affects others. Individually’’ justice is a ‘human virtue’ that makes a man self-consistent and good: socially, justice is a social consciousness that makes a society internally harmonious and good.’’
Plato contended that justice is the quality of soul. Plato was highly dissatisfied with the degenerating moral conditions in Athens. The Athenian democracy was going to ruin and was ultimately responsible for Socrates death. Plato sensed that justice is the only remedy of saving Athens from decay and ruin. Plato was anxious about political unrest, excessive individualism and selfishness. His anxiety resulted his political views in the form of the construction of an ideal society in which ‘’ justice’’ reigned supreme, since Plato found in justice fundamental principal of well-order society.
Plato’s concept of justice has the following features:
Non-interference: Human organism according to Plato contains three elements-Reason, spirit and appetite. An individual is just when each part of his or her soul performs its functions without interfering with those of other elements. For example the reason should rule on behalf of the entire soul with wisdom and forethought. The element of spirit will sub-ordinate itself to the rule of reason. Those two elements are brought into harmony by combination of mental and bodily training. They are set in command over the appetites which form the greater part of man’s soul.therefore, the reason and spirit have to control these appetites, which are likely to grow on the bodily pleasures. These appetites should not be allowed, to enclave the other elements and usurp the dominion to which they have no right. When all the three agree that among them the reason alone should rule, there is justice within the individual. According to Plato, it is justice that one should concentrate on his own duties and not to interfere in the spheres and duties of others. According to Plato, it is justice that should concentrate on his own duties and not to interfere in the spheres and duties of others. According to Plato, justice is simply the will to fulfill the duties of one’s station and not to meddle with the duties of another station, and its habitation is, therefore, in the mind of every citizen who does his duties in his appointed place. It is the original principle, Laid down at the foundation of the state. ‘’ that one man should practice one thing only and that the thing to which his nature was best adopted’’. True justice to Plato, therefore, consists in the principle of non-interference. In Plato theory of justice, the concept of non-interference is the very base of justice. Here he believes in individual’s liberty and independence of his fellow beings. It will enable people to utilize their potentials efficiently.
Functional specialization: The republic, Plato’s book, argues that justice in the soul is linked to justice in the city. Both soul and city have three parts: a desiring part; a spirited part ( something like the will ); and a rational part. Justice involves each part carrying out its own proper function. Plato argues that this means that the two non-rational parts must be ruled be the rational part. Far from being a mere analogy, the relation classes in the city must be ruled by the highest class, the philosophers. They alone can use their reason to acquire knowledge of the forms. Pythagorean philosophy of the Pre-Platonic age and some of his contemporaries divided human nature in three sections i.e reasons, courage and appetite. Plato seems influenced of these views and he also believed in transnational social set-corresponding to these three elements in human nature there are three classes in the social organism-philosopher class or the ruling class which is the representative of reason; auxiliaries a class of warriors and defenders of the country is the representative of spirit; and the appetite instinct of the community which consists of farmers, artisans and are the lowest rung of the ladder. Simply, Plato holds that the society should be classified into three functional specialization ( Classes ) i.e. ruling class, military class and professional class. All the three classes should perform separate specialized functions. He also says that one person should perform one function and one should not interfere in the functions of others that is noninterference. Plato asserts that functional specialization demands from every social class to specialize itself in the station of life allotted to it Plato therefore, engineered and educational scheme that was to produce all the three required classes necessary for his ideal state. Formation of the classes was a spontaneous output of his educational scheme.
Geographical Division: In a wide spread state, it is impossible for a philosopher king to maintain justice. Therefore, state much be divided in various geographical units with a separate subordinate executive. So, it is necessary to divide the state in various units for smooth administration of justice. The subordinate executive will thus be in position to extend philosopher’s rule and state justice to far-plunged areas. Without geographical division, central authority will not be in position to provide speedy justice to all. Therefore, such states will ultimately destroy because justice is the founding stone.
Compensation according to ability and capability: Plato says it is justice to compensate every individual according to his/her ability and capability. The most intelligent and learned calls should rule the country and physically strong and average educated should defend the state. A philosopher reaches the apex of philosophical knowledge that distinguishes him from his other fellow beings, so, it is justice to give him sovereign powers in the state. Disables and handicapped should not be ignored. For achieving these goals, he expounded the theory of communism.
Sexual Equality: Plato says both the sexes are equal and state should treat them equally. If a dog can watch then a bitch can also watch. Female must not be mere the decorating peace but her potential must be utilized for the uplift of state. Justice requires that equal opportunities of education and job be provided to both the sexes. It is justice to avoid discrimination on the basis of sex.
Mutual Cooperation: Justice is based on mutual assistance and happy style of life. It is the responsibility of all citizens to pay due attention to his work. It will intensify unity and all affairs will be justice and all type of differences may be ended by pacific means. Plato holds that a balanced society is possible only if there is mutual cooperation among the three classes of the state. State integration and development demands mutual cooperation and close interrelation.
Anti individualism: according to Plato justice is a self-seeking thing. Plato says detachment of an individual from the society is severe resistance in the course of justice. One should extend full help and assistance, in reverse ne will be served. He should try his best to fulfill other’s needs and in response his needs will be honestly work for others and consequently, other will work for resultant justice. Plato gives smile to state and its individuals similarly; an individual without state and fellow beings cannot remain survives or at least civilized. He says that individuals out of the state are nothing, and individuals must give all possible server of justice. The grand total of the people from a huge body in the form of state. So, a state is a gigantic individual and a person out of a state is nothing. This is called collectivism and collectivism is another base of his concept of the justice.
Justice is natural: Plato discards and concept of artificial or external justice but emphasizes on natural justice. He denies any artificial law of government for impartial guarantee and application of justice and believes in a natural justice (natural law of justice ) free of partially and bias.
Criticism/attacks on Plato’s justice:
Platonic concept of justice is the only practical item in his philosophy. According to Lawrence C. Wanlass in his book, Gatails history of political thoughts, Plato’s concept of justice is the crown of his political thoughts. It is the only theory that is still utilized by the succeeding generations and that is successfully followed by them. All his other theories are mere Utopians. Although he is an idealist but his theory of justice reflects realism. This theory has some critical aspects.
Vague theory: Plato himself is confused about the concept of justice, in one side, he stresses upon the non-interference while on the other hand, advises mutual cooperation and interrelation. On one side, he provides for sexual equality while on other hand, the real position of woman in his ideal state is not more than breeding machinery and female is more a mating partner. He is not clear and straight. There is no sound inter-link in various components of his thoughts and different ideologies are mutually contradictory.
Non-interference: It is not possible for a government not to interfere in people activities. Government enacts and executes various rules and regulations for individuals. Individuals are accountable before their government. If there is non-interference and individuals are given extreme and uncontrolled autonomy, the very need of government and state shall die and such institutions become useless. Strange that Plato also believes and state communism i.e state interference in maximum aspects of life. So, his theory of noninterference is not more than a faction and a source of confusion. His concept of collectivism means interference in human life. So, collectivism or communism and non-interference are mutually contradictory concepts. There is conflict in his thoughts.
Geographical division: It is unjust to divide a widespread state in various units only for smooth maintenance of justice. It will disintegrate a state into various autonomous sub-states and the centralized control of the Platonic philosopher king shall cease, geographical division is hazardous for state integrity and solidarity.
Ruling of the philosopher king: The idea of communism as expounded by Plato is also against the concept of natural justice. The two classes i.e guardians and military have been deprived of the right of personal property and family life. Although these two classes sacrifice important portion of their lives for getting the required qualifications. This is further injustice that communism is not on the entire society but on the two classes that further irritates and justice are mutually contradictory.
Disables: Plato in his philosophy advises that the disables and handicapped should be treated and if their disability is nor removed after a complete treatment, the should be killed for they are burden on the society. Such and attitude of such a grand philosopher himself kills his own theory of justice.
Government law: Plato denies any sort of government or artificial law for the application and maintenance of justice. But in modern states an important organ of government, the judiciary, ensures and protects justice. Plato is also unclear and and confused to say that state has no concern with justice while on the other hand he divides state for the smooth administration of justice.