Philosophy and Justice : What is a Just Society?

When it comes to perceiving justice in the society, then we have to employ certain ideologies that will guide us in having a basis on the rightness and wrongness of deeds. Well, some things are very obvious for us, but when it comes to explaining the meaning of justice, I admit it is an overwhelming task. Different cultural orientations and backgrounds are the main reasons why justice to one society is different form another’s. However, it becomes simpler if we try to base our judgements on universal philosophies like those of Plato and Aristotle.

Beginning with Plato, it is very clear of the universe’s purpose in his arguments. He sees the universe as an entity that is shaped by aesthetic and moral precepts which are in their own nature universal. Plato believes that anything existing out of the human thought is part of the soul long since the human being that owns the soul was born. He maintains the reason behind that is because the soul beholds immoral constructs in their transparencyeven before the personification at birth. Birth being a traumatic event leads the soul into forgetting the essential truths. The individual then embarks on a journey in life to seek form the soul what it already knows. Therefore, through rediscovery, then we come to know the truth (Cooper et al., 1997).

Aristotle on the other hand begins by adopting a completely different viewpoint from that of Plato. It extends the work of Plato, but comes out with a very dissimilar view of reality.Aristotle disproves Plato’s ideology on certain grounds. Though the theory is meant to establish concrete standards for the knowledge of reality, Aristotle maintains that Plato’s ideas are apprehensive with inconsistencies and believes that the perception of reality goes further in reasoning todependupon the correlation of all forms to other elements. Plato in his own account holds that ideas, are self-contained absolutes and permanent. He asserts that they are answered to each item depending on knowledge that is accomplished in human thoughts. Most importantly,Plato’s view of ideas in terms of concrete standards, stand bythe essence by which all human endeavor can be judged. In this way, his ideology goes by the explanation that the hierarchy of all ideas finally leads to the heaviest idea which is – that of Good. In addition, his philosophy supports that the state of being is contingent upon the intermingling of various Forms of existence. These arguments lead us into adopting the idea that knowledge is objective and therefore appears more real.The arguments ends with a conclusion that, the only valid entities are processes of nature.

Aristotle on the other hand says that, Plato’s argument only lead to incongruous conclusions. For example, Aristotle maintains that Plato’s arguments make one to conclude that things (such as anything man-made) and nullification of concrete ideas may well exist – such as “non-good” in antagonism to good. Aristotle’s argument goes to in a way prove that Plato’s ideas contradict themselves. Also, Aristotle disproves Plato’s beliefs of ideas being perfect entities towards themselves and being independent of individual human experience. He claims that ideas are not generalizations on a proverbial pedestal but come out as mere duplicates of things that are continually witnessed in life (Ackrill, 1981).

Both arguments lead to us into analyzing their ideas while linking them to utilitarianism. In this manner, Plato upholds the existence of God and the idea of God being the ultimate source of good. As a theological utilitarian therefore, he views the source of pleasure on the execution of the will of God. On another platform, Aristotle believes that God is a supernatural being with a more magical existence than Plato claims as reality. Through his ideas, he supports the ideology that the good in the society is molded on human experience in life. Aristotle says that eudaimonia is the highest human good. Through human experience as discussed above then, human beings through lives experienceshave come to love what is associated with pleasure (Refer & John 1998).

Depending on the two theories, we can conclude therefore, that societal justice is molded on the ideologies of Plato and Aristotle. When the will God is done, then there is rightness in deeds. Moreover, if the societal deeds come with consequential pleasure, then they are right. For instance, helping an orphan with food and clothing usually comes with pleasure. Hence, it is right and good, not forgetting that it is the will of God. Conversely, aborting a child is against the will of God of revering and protecting life. It also comes with guilt and mental torment. So, we can conclude that the act of abortion is bad and not just.

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