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Simonodes (Via Polemarchus) Argues In The First Book Of "The Republic" That Justice Is Paying Back What Is Due. Defend Or Argue Against This Position

1528 words - 7 pages

Justice. A term used as means to bring light to societal and cultural norms, has been an issue of deliberation for several centuries. Philosophers have long debated over what justice is and how it should be applied. Philosophers such as Plato view justice as being a matter of knowledge; being aware of the good creates an implication to do good. Others, such as Polemarchus view justice as a system that allows for people to 'pay back' those who have done wrong to them with evil and giving good to those who deserve good and giving good to friends and evil to enemies. Such a take on justice seems to dismiss the entire concept of being just. Rather then upholding a greater good for all, this view ...view middle of the document...

This idea does in fact seems to be self-fulfilling, but rather it its unjust, in the context of injuring someone in return for an injury. By acting in this certain manner, one can be satisfied at the fact that his or her enemy suffered just as they had. However, if all of society were to adapt to this way of thinking, then everyone would be out to get one another for wrongs done against them, which in turn is not just. Spitefully taking revenge would cause a cycle of violence or retribution in which would lead to societal chaos. G.W. Leibniz identifies justice as a constant will to act, so far as possible, in such a way that no one can complain of us, if we would not complain of others in a similar case; that in a moral life, the maintenance of other's well-being is an end in itself. What he meant by this is that one should always act in such a matter that he could not complain if he were in the other person's shoes receiving his reaction. This is an improved way to look at justice because justice should be served in a reasonable and rational fashion in which every aspect of an action is evaluated, and not just done out of spite. This would most definitely keep security within society, unlike Polemarchus' view of justice where the effects of the actions taken are not considered.Secondly, The type of justice described by Polemarchus would most definitely lower morality of society in general. As Polemarchus believes, it also seems to some people that reciprocity is unconditionally just. Looking at Polemarchus' view of 'payback', it can be concluded that the notion of morality is omitted. It is lawless, immoral and unjust to take revenge on wrongs committed. In order for the repayment of ones dues to be just, it must be rational and proportional, rather than equal to the wrongdoing. This is simply because if one hurts another, it is not right to hurt them back. This idea is evident in the Biblical passage "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them". (Matthew 7:12). In other words, as the saying goes, do unto others, as you would have others do unto you. One should find other just ways to compensate for wrong done unto them. In regards to justice, Aristotle states that proportional reciprocity holds people together, for proportionate reciprocity rather than equal maintains a city. Equal reciprocity is very evident in Polemarchus' take of justice as being 'an eye for an eye' because the wrong doer receives an equal payback to what he had committed. As established before this idea is lawless and unfair, moreover immoral. However, proportional reciprocity is a more fair and reasonable way to find a solution, which in turn can be seen to be moral. In addition to this, Aristotle also states that what is just will be both what is lawful and what is fair, and is unjust will be both what is lawless and what is unfair. Therefore it can be said that Polemarchus' view of justice, in which the retribution for all...

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