PLATO achieves justice by controlling individuals and

PLATO achieves justice by controlling individuals and

PLATO AND CONFUCIUSBy Brent Monroe PergramPlatos ideal regime achieves justice by controlling individuals and their desires by setting down a compact to not tolerate injustice or suffering. By setting down laws and compacts and to name what the law commands lawful and just.(Bloom,359a)Plato believed that even individuals who practice justice are forced to do it from the inability to do injustice due to fears of punishment. Plato felt that a democracy or rule of the people gave each man, both just and unjust, license to do whatever they wanted. While he felt that the law of a strong form of government would force men to honor the laws equally. Plato believed that justice was the advantage of the stronger, which to him was the control of the ruling body of the city by being master over the people and punishing any who broke the laws set down by the regime.(Bloom,338e-339a) Plato to believed that education and rearing of the ruler of the city or regime would create a perfect and just man.

And he felt that the ruler must be older, while the ruled younger. Age is something that gives his perfect regime more control than one based on wisdom. Hethought that the philosopher should be seen as the father, over the younger people of the city. He also feels that old men are afraid of death, and therefore less likely to risk torment in the afterlife by having selfish desires, such as for money. He believed that men would obey the laws in hopes of rewards and fear of punishment in this life and the next.

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He believed that the ruling regime must be most skilled at guarding the city with the interest of the city in their convictions. Plato believed that the regime once started, will roll on like a circle in its growth because of sound rearing and education producing good and sound natured offspring to carry on the order.(424a) He wanted a city ruled by philosophic class. He believed that when a ruler sets down the laws and practices that citizens would follow them. He felt that the regime could command people who would follow because they knew what their role in the ordered society was, such as a farmers job to farm and a soldiers job to protect the city for the common good. Plato saw job of philosophers to compel the best natures to study to see the good and ascent up in intellect, to know what injustice is and never want to do it. What he meant by best natures is simply the educated who have experienced truth and are the best to rule.

(519c) Plato believed that healthy souls came from the knowledge of justice. He believed that just men, who were the pupils of the philosopher would not disobey them but join in the labors of the city.(520d) To him justice is not ones own good, but the common good of the Republic. Plato believed that order was the most important responsibility of a regime and that his ideal one was most suited for this, unlike that of a democracy, which gave to much free will or liberty to men to do whatever he wants.

He felt that the poor, uneducated citizen neither understoodorder, or knew the truth. Saw the citizen as a prisioner in a cave, that still did not have the knowledge of what the truth really was. Plato therefore believed that the intellegent educated philosopher knew the truth and therefore would be just. Plato believed that the philosopher hadattained the truth after years of searching for it by way of education and age. He likewise felt that it was the philosopher class that would lead a city not for personal gain, which would cause anger among the common people, but one of harmony was the goal of his ideal regime. Platos regime is based on reason of an educated man, that was not corrupt, but one that had knowledge of what was just, working side by side, improving from one generation to the next. And those who were leaders of the cities were ones that showed the highest abilities in intellect, while those least in ability of knowledge, would be of the lower class, such as farmers and merchants.

To Plato only the philosophyclass would have the knowledge to rule all equally and harmoniously. He felt that people would honor the ruling class, like parents who had taught their kids what was just and fair, and so obeyed them as rulers.(538c) Felt that the philosophers that should rule, was those that for all their lives hadgained knowledge, and was only interested in the good of the city, coming into politics for the necessary reason that he was needed.(540b) Plato certainly thought that when true philosophers came to power, they would put what was right and honorable above all and being just and equal to all. Plato certainly felt that everyone should be equal, including women believing that education could foster a common bond between all people. He thought that soldiers should live in simular houses, all being paid the same.

He wanted a city where all the people was equal, and where eachperson had a role to play in making the city function in harmony. Plato thought that his regime would get rid of the problems of injustice, by getting rid of corrupt rulers only interested in personal gain, not in the interest of the city as a whole. Plato certainly feel that it is impossible for a democracy to achieve justice because citizens would have free will to do unjust acts that benefit one at the harm of another.

He wanted a regime based on order and reason, noton the passions of people that he felt a democracy permitted its people to do. Plato saw the oligarchic, democratic, and tyrannic regimes as each being unjust, the last being the worst, while the philosophic regime to him has a type of man that is both good and just. Plato believes that it is unjust for the poor to establish a democracy by killing others andcreating a regime that lets people do what they want in organizing their lives. Plato feels that democracy means freedom of the people to choose their actions, some have the freedom to not obey laws. He felt that democracy may be sweet for moment, but not the order and reasoned city he wanted under his ideal regime. Plato feels that personal desires of democratic man is one of passion and self interest of money and personal gain, going from one personal desire to another, such as drinking, money making, and neglecting education. Plato felt that men would change their minds on politics as often as they choose and that there was neither order nor necessity in life, but calling life sweet and free.

(561e) Plato say this democratic man as having many dispositions, with many patterns of regimes and characters.(561e) Plato certainly believes that democracy leads to injustice because people are free to indulge in their own selfish individual desires, not in theharmony of a ordered society ruled by a educated reasoned philosopher class that understood the truth and justice. Confucius concern with benevolence can be applied to government, just as Platos concern with justice could, because both believed that if the common people was ruled over justly or with dignity that they would be reverent and obey the government.(Wills, Jr.p.22) Confucius believed thatthe ruler should set an example for his officials to follow and promote men of talent. He believed that the selection of good officials, and the setting of good moral examples would be enough to keep order.

Confucius believed that any educated moral man should be involved in government. It was Confucius that insisted that anyone, not just those withhereditary right to office could aspire to be gentlemen, who sought education, moral growth, and involvement in governing.(Wills, Jr.pp.24-5)Confucius believed in the Way, for man to be fully human, to live in peace and harmony with nature and their fellow human beings.(Wills, Jr.p.

26) Confucius believed in benevolence (ren) that is composed of the characters of man and two. It meant manly or handsome in early Zhou texts, but it represents the highest realization of man in desire to dogood and to treat others with kindness. Plato talked about justice, while Confucius used the term benevolence as the sum of all virtues. Plato saw justice as being just, which is a moral virtue, but Confucius benevolence covers all virtue and requires a person to be selfless. In order to bebenevolent depends on oneself alone and not on others. Wills says that the Zhong yong (Doctrine of the Mean) showed benevolence as the sum of all the virtues, the fullest realization of what it is to be a human being, but also went beyond this to an ideal of sincerity (cheng), or perfectharmony of word and actuality, in which this moral sincerity opened the way to a harmony with the cosmos.

(31) Plato believed that justice as emerging from the stable and harmonious relations among the three classes. Plato believed that people was either born to be leaders or to be ruled, and that the classes could not advance. Confucius wanted an ideal society in which everyone would faithfully discharge the duty proper to his or her calling and in proper order,including not only sons obedient to their fathers, but all obedient to their rulers, living in peace and harmony. Plato wanted an ideal state that was a perfect system of fixed classes of men, with elite philosophers guided by pure reason and ruling justly at the top, protected by a soldiery class, and workers at the bottom forced to obey laws.

(Bronstein.p.141) Confucius believed that anyone through education and living a moral life could attain success in life, which included the chance for an individualto be in government. Confucius did not believe that the classes were forever fixed based on the fact that he had been in and out of power, traveling and looking for jobs in government to help the people to be ruled justly and promote a moral example of how everyone should live inpeace and harmony. Both believed in justice, but only Confucius had faith in the people that they are moral and ethical, and obey the law not for fear of force, but because they are treated justly and benevolently by those in power, and therefore would want peace and harmony that was maintained by a moral, ethical, benevolent ruler who was at peace with nature.BIBLIOGRAPHYBloom, Allan.

The Republic Of Plato.2nd ed. Basic Books.1968Bronstein, Daniel J. et al. Basic Problems of Philosophy,3rd Edition.Prentice-Hall, Inc.

1964.p.141.Wills, Jr.

, John E. Mountain of Fame: Portraits in ChineseHistory. Princeton University Press.1996.pp.11-32

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