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Ethics in Book IV of Platos Republic - Essay Example

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This paper helps to provide an insight into few questions that may raise themselves like whether or not the sole purpose of an individual should be to make their souls ‘perfect’ or to work on their outward characteristics towards other people living within society…
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Ethics in Book IV of Platos Republic
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Download file to see previous pages Book IV of Plato’s Republic presents an excellent selection of ideas with respect to morality and behaviour of a human being with regard to his soul. Through Plato’s dialogues, the idea of justice has been presented very well as justice has been written as “A political arrangement in which each person plays the appropriate role.” Every man within society has been given a role or a part to play as per what he can do best. Each individual has a duty to serve society and he has been given the role of doing so in the best manner possible by way of the contribution that he can make.

Doing good deeds is the moral birthright of each and every person residing within society. This is because each man is dependent on others around him and is able to live because of the relationships that he creates. However, there are certain actions that each man must be able to carry out like keeping a good and sound moral character. According to a number of philosophers, it has been pointed out that it does not only pay enough to have a moral or sound character on the outside; in fact it is very important to have a clean and pure soul. Many people tend to be ‘good’ on the outside and forget what is true to them within themselves.

Certain terms like justice, morality and soundness are very important for people to exist in coherence and peace with each other within society. Sometimes, having an “outward behaviour” in order to portray a moral character is not plausible because it might turn people against an individual. In Plato’s Republic, justice has been spoken about in various aspects. ‘Civic courage’ is one term that has been talked about that the various auxiliaries possess. Justice has been depicted as a set of actions that must be carried out. “Mankind censure injustice fearing that they may be the victims of it, and not because they shrink from committing it.” Each person must be able to carry out actions that lead the rest of the city to believe that he is just and morally sound and is well equipped to be able to protect his kinsmen. Through the actions and thoughts of Socrates justice has further been depicted as parts of the soul and not just of outward character that a man might possess. He has termed them as sources of desire namely, ‘a rational part of the soul lusting after truth, a spirited portion of the soul seeking honour and an appetitive part of the soul that searches for everything else after these two objects of desire have been met, like food, drink, shelter, sex and wealth in terms of financial and monetary terms. According to him all these three aspects must be fulfilled for a man to be truly satiated from within his soul and to help him understand that he has achieved all his desires. Socrates thus has been successful in identifying the kind of desires that each man wants to have within himself. However, the question still remains, is it enough for a man to fulfil such soul related desires or pleasures? Socrates claims that justice is actually not just a set of actions but an imprint of what the soul of a man is like, and if he is able to gather and satiate himself with respect to the above mentioned three desires, then the same will reflect on his notions of justice on the outside and help others see the man as an honest and honourable man. Socrates finally mentions how it is healthy for a person’s soul to be just and how justice amounts to health. By attaining this stature, a man will never cheat, lie or steal for according to Socrates, he has been able to feel the love and affection of his own soul and has been able to comprehend the need to live a just lifestyle with respect to the society that he lives in. It thus pays to be just because it helps to keep a man healthy, and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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