Ethics Essay

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Short-writing assignment
Please respond the following prompt in 2 double-spaced pages:
Define what justice means to you, and explain how your view corresponds to and differs from at least one of the views of justice presented by Cephalus, Polemarchus, Thrasymachus, or Socrates in the Book 1 of the Republic.
(Choose only one view)
Please use the book as a source
the book is Republic / Edition 2 by Plato, G. M. A. Grube (Translator).


Comparing my Views on Justice to those Presented by Thrasymachus in The Republic of Plato, Book 1

Justice to me is the pursuit of virtue. It is the pursuit of humanitarianism and that which is good for humankind. When people act in a heroic and charitable manner in the face of adversity, they contribute to the creation of a world in which there is justice. Whenever a person is wronged by another, it takes the course of justice for both parties to get what they deserve. The person who is responsible for the mistake or wrongdoing must take responsibility for his actions through a fine, jail sentence, or simply a reprimand. On the other hand, the person who was wronged deserves an apology, compensation, or even to see punishment being meted against the perpetrator as a way of discouraging him as well as like-minded people from engaging in unvirtuous acts against a human being in future.

In my view, the law plays an important role in promoting justice. It provides a framework through which an action is judged to be either right or wrong. Justice can only be said to have been served when such judgment is pegged on virtue. This means that the judiciary is a very important custodian of virtues in society. On the one hand, it should protect those who are targeted through wrongdoing and atrocities by seeking compensation and retribution on their behalf. On the other hand, it should protect perpetrators from excessive punishment or wrongful conviction. Whenever perpetrators escape without punishment or they are handed a punishment that is too harsh compared to their unlawful actions, a miscarriage of justice is said to have occurred.

This view of justice is radically different from that of Thrasymachus. In Book 1 of The Republic, Thrasymachus argues that justice is simply whatever is beneficial to the person who is stronger in society (Glube 1). In other words, it is the advantage that accrues to those who weird most strength in society. According to Thrasymachus, justice varies from one political regime to the other. It varies depending on the various laws that different regimes end up establishing (Glube 14). These laws are normally enacted to serve the strong people’s interests. In Thrasymachus’ view, the strong people in this case are those who belong to the ruling class.

In my view, justice is said to have taken its course whenever a poor person gets redress in court after falling victim to an unvirtuous act by another person, strong or weak. However, Thrasymachus seems to express a different view. In his opinion, a poor person only gets justice after a strong person make mistakes regarding what works to his advantage. In this regard, Thrasymachus seems to express the view that for weak people to get justice, they must first seek strength, meaning that one’s ascendency to the ruling class earns him or her greater access to justice. This means that to Thrasymachus, justice is not about the pursuit of virtue. If this was the case, it would cater for the interests of the rich and the poor alike.

Whereas I see justice as the pursuit of virtue, Thrasymachus sees it as the pursuit of happiness. This means that to Thrasymachus, a person who commits an injustice and goes undetected is always happier than the person who is just. However, since this very mention of the concept of injustice by Thrasymachus presupposes the perpetuation of an unvirtuous act, it goes without saying that he shares my views regarding the role of virtues in the pursuit of justice.

Works Cited

Glube, G. The Republic of Plato, Second Edition (Translated by G.M.A. Grube). Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, 1991. Print.

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