Justice and Free Will

Class Forums Government 2017-2018 Assignment 1 Justice and Free Will

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    • #1157

      nathaniel
      Participant

      In the book The Republic of Plato, Socrates deliberates with many young men who have a passion for philosophy. Socrates often takes an opposing idealogical stance to the young men he speaks to. This, coupled with the fact that most of the young men are willing to argue their worldview, has led to some very interesting conversations. One of these conversations, specifically the ones about justice. One can easily tell that justice is very important to Plato, as most of the book is comprised about conversations about justice. What is justice? It is, according to Plato, it is when we do the best we can depending on our situation. It is also, according to Plato when the state does the best it can for the people they rule over. He describes free will as completely relying on what our knowledge was at the time of our actions. Wether or not we knew the consequences of what we were doing. However, some people who disagree with Plato would say that all of our actions our predetermined, and people only do bad or good things based on the things that happen around them. Can you achieve justice in a universe where everyones actions are determined by things that have happened to them? Plato’s definition of justice conflicts with the idea of predetermined actions, because Plato’s definition requires you to accept that people do have a choice, because what they do can be either just or unjust based on what they know. For example; If somebody throws a rock at people passing by his house, and he knows what he is doing is wrong, he is unjust. However if he thought what he was doing was a good things (for whatever reason) than what he is doing is not good, but he does not know that, therefore he is not being unjust. Therefore, something can only be just or unjust depending on wether or not they have knowledge of wether or not they know something is good or bad. In a deterministic universe, Justice can not occur because everyone’s actions are determined by the natural world, every thief is just a kleptomaniac, every murderer just had a bad childhood, and so on. Therefore, accoridng to Plato’s definition of justice could never occur in a deterministic reality.

    • #1198

      michael
      Participant

      I am choosing to disagree with Nathaniel’s assertion that those with which Socrates spoke do not believe in free will. The question of predetermination does not show up anywhere in the Republic. Cephalus believed he could achieve justice by doing good; Polemarchus believed that justice is giving to each what is due; Thrasymachus argued that justice was the will of the powerful. None of these question whether justice is possible; thus free will is a part of their assumption. Glaucon and Adiemantus say that justice could be a natural thing created by man for each person’s own good. Their argument differs from Nathaniel’s argument, justice is impossible because people have no free will, in that people choose to do what is best for themselves.

    • #1220

      luke
      Participant

      I am disagreeing with nathaniel, as he has concluded that to be just is to be doing something that you believe to be right and good. he says in his essay “For example; If somebody throws a rock at people passing by his house, and he knows what he is doing is wrong, he is unjust. However if he thought what he was doing was a good things (for whatever reason) than what he is doing is not good, but he does not know that, therefore he is not being unjust.” we see countless examples throughout history of people believing to do whats right but really they were in the wrong. One of the most famous is Adolf Hitler as he led his people to believe what they were doing was just and right, we see the same from stalin as well. Justice is doing whats right. Not what you “believe” is right but what you know is right through your conscience and if a christian then through the bible

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