Political Justice: Plato and Aristotle

Essay by ashleygreyCollege, Undergraduate November 2008

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Plato and Aristotle had different ideas of politics and political justice. In The Republic, Plato creates the ideal city, which is needed to guarantee justice. He aims to create a peaceful united city that will lead to the greater good of the community and individuals. Unlike Plato who imagines the ideal city, Aristotle looks at actual cities in The Politics. He doesn't want to create the ideal city; he aims to improve the existing city. While their ideas about politics and justice were different, they both strived to find a better way of life for society and hoped to achieve political justice.

In order to define justice, Socrates attempts to create an ideal city, one that is healthy and just. Socrates begins by "investigating what justice looks like in the cities" in order to "go on to consider it in individuals" (Plato, 45). He believes that it is through speech that one will see the way in which both justice and injustice come into being.

Socrates argues that people come together as partners and form cities based on mutual needs because "each [person] isn't self-sufficient but is in need of much": food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities (Plato, 46). It is in the need that the men have of one another in a healthy city that justice can be found (Plato, 49). In the Republic, Plato argues that justice is social, structural, and peaceful. He also believes that people function best doing one thing well.

According to Socrates, people naturally differ in nature; "different men are apt for the accomplishment of different jobs" (Plato, 46). Socrates argues for specialization by saying, "one man, one art" (Plato, 47). He argues that this concept of specialization is the only way to make certain that each job is done well. Socrates...