Soul and Justice in the works of Plato, Aristotle and Epicurus - Essay Example

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This paper is being carried out to compare and contrast the definitions of soul and justice in the works of Plato, Aristotle, and Epicurus. This paper purports to examine each philosopher chronologically to possibly reveal evolution of views between them. …
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Soul and Justice in the works of Plato, Aristotle and Epicurus
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Download file to see previous pages This essay discusses that Plato (428-347 BC) defined the soul’s parts as appetite, spirit, and reason. A just society would also have this structure: the productive (worker) class (appetite part of the soul); the protective (warrior) class (spirit part of the soul); and the governing (ruling) class (reason part of the soul). Individual justice would consist of the appetite part of the soul obeying the reason part, with the aid of the spirit part of the soul. Any deviation from this order would result in an unjust individual or society. Justice to Plato meant harmony with each fulfilling his role. Plato’s ideal city was meant as a model for an individual to set up the government of their soul. Aristotle (384-322 BC), a student of Plato, presents his theory of the soul in “De Anima”. Soul is the incorporeal essence or life-force of a living thing, inseparable from the body and existing as the cause of the body’s movement and of its end. Souls have different parts that different kinds of souls may contain. Plants have souls providing them with nourishment and reproduction. Animals have souls that also enable motion and differing numbers of senses. Humans have all this plus rational soul, which has two parts: the possible intellect, holding all the possible thoughts; and the agent intellect, bringing actual thoughts into act. The mind (agent intellect part of the soul) is immaterial and cannot be corrupted; therefore the mind is immortal. Justice to Aristotle was a character trait or virtue (Aristotle, trans. 1934, Book V). Just people are those who seek their fair share and follow the law. Aristotle distinguished between two types of justice: distributive justice, where resources must be distributed equally; and rectificatory justice, where personal transactions must be fair and equal. Whereas Plato based his ideas of justice on the ideal city and good, Aristotle viewed justice more practically as being equality in transactions. Plato offered us one ideal vision of a perfect city and justice; in contrast, Aristotle thought some rules of justice were ordained by nature, but those made by men varied between places. Both Aristotle and Plato viewed justice as harmony in societal interactions. Epicurus (341-270 BC) takes the soul and everything except the void to be made of atoms moving in an infinite universe. His “Letter to Herodotus” (Epicurus, trans. 1996) explains mental function as a result of movement of specialized neural atoms. The soul is corporeal; nothing is incorporeal except empty space. Epicurus taught that the soul ends with death of the body and no longer has sentience. To Epicurus, justice is an agreement to neither harm nor be harmed, an agreement that people deem useful. Usefulness, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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