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Different interpretations of justice according to philosophies

Learn more about how these two key philosophers were related and how their teachings differed. These features represent the contributions of scholars of many generations and countries, as does the ongoing attempt to correct for corruption. Important variant readings and suggestions are commonly printed at the bottom of each page of text, forming the apparatus criticus.

In the great majority of cases only one decision is possible, but there are instances—some of crucial importance—where several courses can be adopted and where the resulting readings have widely differing import. The work of the translator imports another layer of similar judgments. Some Greek sentences admit of several fundamentally different grammatical construals with widely differing senses, and many ancient Greek words have no neat English equivalents.

Introduction: The Idea of Distributive Justice

A notable artifact of the work of translators and scholars is a device of selective capitalization sometimes employed in English. Others have employed a variant of this convention in which capitalization is used to indicate a special way in which Plato is supposed to have thought of the forms during a certain period i.

Still others do not use capital letters for any such purpose. Readers will do best to keep in mind that such devices are in any case only suggestions. In recent centuries there have been some changes in the purpose and style of English translations of ancient philosophy. The great Plato translation by Benjamin Jowett 1817—93for example, was not intended as a tool of scholarship; anyone who would undertake such a study already knew ancient Greek.

At the other extreme was a type of translation that aimed to be useful to serious students and professional philosophers who did not know Greek; its goal was to indicate as clearly as possible the philosophical potentialities of the text, however much readability suffered in consequence.

Exemplars of this style, which was much in vogue in the second half of the 20th century, are the series published by the Clarendon Press and also, in a different tradition, the translations undertaken by followers of Leo Strauss 1899—1973. Except in a few cases, however, the gains envisioned by this notion of fidelity proved to be elusive.

This is particularly true of the short, Socratic dialogues. In the case of works that are large-scale literary masterpieces, such as the Phaedrus, a translation of course cannot match the artistry of the original.

Finally, because translators of difficult technical studies such as the Parmenides and the Sophist must make basic interpretive decisions in order to render any English at all, reading their work is very far from reading Plato. In the case of these dialogues, familiarity with commentaries and other secondary literature and a knowledge of ancient Greek are highly desirable.

Yet he also different interpretations of justice according to philosophies notoriously negative remarks about the value of writing. Similarly, although he believed that at least one of the purposes—if not the main purpose—of philosophy is to enable one to live a good life, by composing dialogues rather than treatises or hortatory letters he omitted to tell his readers directly any useful truths to live by. Plato conversing with his pupils, mosaic from Pompeii, 1st century bce.

Moreover, it is a possession that each person must win for himself. The writing or conversation of others may aid philosophical progress but cannot guarantee it. Contact with a living person, however, has certain advantages over an encounter with a piece of writing. As Plato pointed out, writing is limited by its fixity: So it is only natural that Plato had limited expectations about what written works could achieve.

On the other hand, he clearly did not believe that writing has no philosophical value. His use of dramatic elements, including humour, draws the reader in. Plato is unmatched in his ability to re-create the experience of conversation. The dialogues contain, in addition to Socrates and other authority figures, huge numbers of additional characters, some of whom act as representatives of certain classes of reader as Glaucon may be a representative of talented and politically ambitious youth.

These characters function not only to carry forward particular lines of thought but also to inspire readers to do different interpretations of justice according to philosophies same—to join imaginatively in the discussion by constructing arguments and objections of their own. Spurring readers to philosophical activity is the primary purpose of the dialogues. Because Plato himself never appears in any of these works and because many of them end with the interlocutors in aporia, or at a loss, some scholars have concluded that Plato was not recommending any particular views or even that he believed that there was nothing to choose between the views he presented.

  • These portions are qualitatively identical to each other and to portions of the hot that are lost by whatever becomes less warm; they can move around the cosmos, being transferred from one composite to another, as heat may move from hot bathwater to Hector as it warms him up;
  • Interpretation seeks a unity or relation of mutual support between them.

But the circumstance that he never says anything in his own person is also compatible with the more common impression that some of the suggestions he so compellingly puts forward are his own. Rather, as in a slightly archaic English usage, it is a matter of having things go well.

Anything that has a characteristic use, function, or activity has a virtue or excellence, which is whatever disposition enables things of that kind to perform well.

  1. How about the duty not to harm or injure others?
  2. In the case of a bodily organ such as the eye, it is fairly clear wherein good functioning consists.
  3. Socrates and Euthyphro agree that what they seek is a single form, present in all things that are pious, that makes them so.
  4. To answer this question we require an interpretation that identifies some more fundamental value that underlies and fixes the value of liberty and thus can determine which concrete liberties have this value and which do not.

The excellence of a race horse is whatever enables it to run well; the excellence of a knife is whatever enables it to cut well; and the excellence of an eye is whatever enables it to see well. Human virtue, accordingly, is whatever enables human beings to live good lives.

Thus the notions of happiness and virtue are linked. In the case of a bodily organ such as the eye, it is fairly clear wherein good functioning consists. But it is far from obvious what a good life consists of, and so it is difficult to say what virtue, the condition that makes it possible, might be.

  1. Post-positivist philosophers have argued that the goals of science require interpretation and that standards of success require the best understanding of these goals. Rather, as in a slightly archaic English usage, it is a matter of having things go well.
  2. Internal skeptics draw on some moral convictions to undermine our belief in the truth or falsity of others, whereas external skeptics seek to stand outside every framework of moral convictions in order to raise doubts about all of them.
  3. Consider a person who cares about living well and has a conception of the sort of person she aspires to be, but is an abysmal failure in living up to the conception and thus lacks all appraisal respect.
  4. When people disagree concerning the application of such a concept, it is a disagreement over whether the particular in fact satisfies the criteria. Both terms can also be used in a more general sense to refer to any feature that two or more things have in common or to a kind of thing based on that feature.

Traditional Greek conceptions of the good life included the life of prosperity and the life of social position, in which case virtue would be the possession of wealth or nobility and perhaps physical beauty. The overwhelming tendency of ancient philosophy, however, was to conceive of the good life as something that is the achievement of an individual and that, once won, is hard to take away.

Socrates and Plato undertook to discover what these virtues really amount to. A truly satisfactory account of any virtue would identify what it is, show how possessing it enables one to live well, and indicate how it is best acquired. It is important to understand, however, that the definition sought for is not lexical, merely specifying what a speaker of the language would understand the term to mean as a matter of linguistic competence.

The real definition of water, for example, is H2O, though speakers in most historical eras did not know this.

Dating, editing, translation

In the encounters Plato portrays, the interlocutors typically offer an example of the virtue they are asked to define not the right kind of answer or give a general account the right kind of answer that fails to accord with their intuitions on related matters. Socrates tends to suggest that virtue is not a matter of outward behaviour but is or involves a special kind of knowledge knowledge of good and evil or knowledge of the use of other things.

The Protagoras addresses the question of whether the various commonly recognized virtues are different or really one. If pleasure is the only object of desire, it seems unintelligible what, besides simple miscalculation, could cause anyone to behave badly. Thus the whole of virtue would consist of a certain kind of wisdom. The idea that knowledge is all that one needs for a good life, and that there is no aspect of character that is not reducible to cognition and so no moral or emotional failure that is not a cognitive failureis the characteristically Socratic position.

In the Republichowever, Plato develops a view of happiness and virtue that departs from that of Socrates. According to Plato, there are three parts of the souleach with its own object of desire. Reason desires truth and the good of the whole individual, spirit is preoccupied with honour and competitive values, and appetite has the traditional low tastes for food, drink, and sex.

Because the soul is complex, erroneous calculation is not the only way it can go wrong. The three parts can pull in different directions, and the low element, in a soul in which it is overdeveloped, can win out. Correspondingly, the good condition of the soul involves more than just cognitive excellence. In the terms of the Republic, the healthy or just soul has psychic harmony—the condition in which each of the three parts does its job properly.

Thus, reason understands the Good in general and desires the actual good of the individual, and the other two parts of the soul desire what it is different interpretations of justice according to philosophies for them to desire, so that spirit and appetite are activated by things that are healthy and proper.

Thus, the political discussion is undertaken to aid the ethical one. One early hint of the existence of the three parts of the soul in the individual is the existence of three classes in the well-functioning state: The wise state is the one in which the rulers understand the good; the courageous state is that in which the guardians can retain in the heat of battle the judgments handed down by the rulers about what is to be feared; the temperate state is that in which all citizens agree about who is to rule; and the just state is that in which each of the three classes does its own work properly.

Thus, for the city to be fully virtuous, each citizen must contribute appropriately. Thus the original inquiry, whose starting point was a motivation each individual is presumed to have to learn how to live wellleads to a highly ambitious educational program. Starting with exposure only to salutary stories, poetry, and music from childhood and continuing with supervised habituation to good action and years of training in a series of mathematical disciplinesthis program—and so virtue—would be complete only in the person who was able to grasp the first principle, the Goodand to proceed on that basis to secure accounts of the other realities.

Dialectic Plato uses the term dialectic throughout his works to refer to whatever method he happens to be recommending as the vehicle of philosophy. The term, from dialegesthai, meaning to converse or talk through, gives insight into his core conception of the project. Yet it is also evident that he stresses different aspects of the conversational method in different dialogues.

The form of dialectic featured in the Socratic works became the basis of subsequent practice in the Academy—where it was taught by Aristotle —and in the teachings of the Skeptics during the Hellenistic Age. While the conversation in a Socratic dialogue unfolds naturally, it features a process by which even someone who lacks knowledge of a given subject as Socrates in these works claims to do may test the understanding of a putative expert. The testing consists of a series of questions posed in connection with a position the interlocutor is trying to uphold.

The method presupposes that one cannot have knowledge of any fact in isolation; what is known must be embedded in a larger explanatory structure. Thus, in order to know if a certain act is pious, one must know what piety is. This requirement licenses the questioner to ask the respondent about issues suitably related to his original claim.

If, in the course of this process, a contradiction emerges, the supposed expert is revealed not to command knowledge after all: Since he has fallen into contradiction, it follows that he is not an expert, but this does not automatically reveal different interpretations of justice according to philosophies the truth is.

Since this part of the dialogue is merely a programmatic sketch, however, no actual examples of the activity are provided, and indeed some readers have wondered whether it is really possible. In the later dialogue Parmenidesdialectic is introduced as an exercise that the young Socrates must undertake if he is to understand the forms properly.

The exercise, which Parmenides demonstrates in the second part of the work, is extremely laborious: The exercise challenges the reader to make a distinction associated with a sophisticated development of the theory of Platonic forms see below The theory of forms. The theory of forms Plato is both famous and infamous for his theory of forms.

Just what the theory is, and whether it was ever viable, are matters of extreme controversy. A satisfactory interpretation of the theory must rely on both historical knowledge and philosophical imagination. Plato pointing to the heavens and the realm of forms, Aristotle to the earth and the realm of things.

Because the mentalistic connotation of idea in English is misleading—the Parmenides shows that forms cannot be ideas in a mind—this translation has fallen from favour. Both terms can also be used in a more general sense to refer to any feature that two or more things have in common or to a kind of thing based on that feature. The English word form is similar. Plato uses both kinds of terms. The properties of sensible composites depend on which of their ingredients are predominant.

Change, generation, and destruction in sensible particulars are conceived in terms of shifting combinations of portions of fundamental stuffs, which themselves are eternal and unchanging and accessible to the mind but not to the senses. For Anaxagoras, having a share of something is straightforward: The hot is itself hot, and this is why different interpretations of justice according to philosophies of it account for the warmth of composites.

  • This creates a deep shift in our understanding of ethics;
  • According to Plato, there are three parts of the soul , each with its own object of desire.

In general, the fundamental stuffs posited by Anaxagoras themselves possessed the qualities they were supposed to account for in sensible particulars. These portions are qualitatively identical to each other and to portions of the hot that are lost by whatever becomes less warm; they can move around the cosmos, being transferred from one composite to another, as heat may move from hot bathwater to Hector as it warms him up. Like Anaxagoras, Plato posits fundamental entities that are eternal and unchanging and accessible to the mind but not to the senses.

This divergence has had the unfortunate effect of tending to hide from English-speaking readers that Plato is taking over a straightforward notion from his predecessor.

  • Here the observation that the sons of great men often do not turn out well leads to an examination of what courage is;
  • The discussion often includes as a core component a search for the real definition of a key term;
  • External skepticism rests on an untenable dichotomy separating meta-ethical claims about moral judgments from moral judgments themselves;
  • Furthermore, on Dworkin's interpretation, living well requires that one seeks goods -- a good life -- without resorting to deception, cheating, harming others, immoral or evil acts.