Plato’s Republic Books I-IV: An Analysis Essay

Forms of Justice in the Cities

Explain how the justice of the “City of Pigs” differs from that of the city containing both auxiliaries and complete guardians.

……In Socrates’ next iteration of the city, he concedes the fact that human beings, if their basic needs are satisfied, are prone to a want of luxuries and so, the luxurious city is born (Book 2, 372e).  The luxurious city also has the addition of guardians born by a need to conquer new lands and defend the city’s borders in order to keep up with the new demands of an enriched city (Book 2, 374a). Then, in the city’s next and final iteration, we come to the complete city where the guardians are split further into auxiliaries and rulers. Those who are auxiliaries remain to be warriors while the rulers undergo extensive training to see if they are of fit character and soul to rule and to rule only in the best interest of the city (Book 3, 412a-e). The city is then established in its entirety. In its earliest form, the City of Pigs exhibits a form of justice when everyone does the job they are best suited for. In this completed city, justice appears in much the same way but in a much more complete form. To explain that, Socrates first needs to look at the four virtues of the city: wisdom, moderation, courage and justice. By figuring out where the other three are in the city and through the process of elimination, the place of justice within the city can then be revealed (Book 4, 427e). A city is wise by virtue of its rulers being able to make good decisions so wisdom resides in the rulers (Book 4, 428d). A city has courage when the city is able to preserve itself against its enemies despite fear and other things that may cause one to abandon the city and can be found in the guardians (Book 4, 430a-b). A city possesses moderation when the ruled submit to the rulers and exist in the willingness of the city’s denizens to follow the counsel and legislation of the wiser rulers (Book 4, 430e-432a). As for justice, Socrates explains that justice is what allows the other virtues to exist in the city precisely because everyone is performing the job they are most suited for. Rulers are able to focus on ruling because the auxiliaries and craftspeople are performing their job serving other functions of the city and so on and so forth. Therefore, justice exists in the city when one is entirely devoted to one’s task and allows others to do the same by minding one’s own business (Book 4, 434b-c). As a result, the justice in the final city is a more complete form than the justice in the City of Pigs as the complete city has developed the capacity to exhibit the other three virtues in order for the city to be able to portray justice to its fullest extent beyond satisfying just the basic needs of the people.

Advertisements