Course Content (Syllabus)
The argument of Plato’s Republic is the idea of justice. Justice of the republic is defined in exact correspondence with justice of the soul. Justice is founded in a person when each part of the soul fulfills its own particular function in relation to “ruling” (“archein”) and “being ruled” (“archesthai”) (443 b 1-2). Consequently, the correct distribution of the functions of the soul is that which gives birth to the real substance of the soul’s own justice. It is the same substance which is also expressed in the “external” justice of the threefold division of the state (classes), and which is considered by Socrates as a representation of justice. However, justice as a whole is the One, which is knowable in as far as it is reflected “within” (“entos” 443 c 10 – d 1) and “without” (443 c 10), i.e. in the soul and in the state. As the real One, justice
unites the separate many as if they where three tones of the gamut– the lowest, the highest and the middle one. Through this integration, man and the state become one of many (443 e 1-2).
Only the dialectical idea of Good is higher than justice. This idea constitutes for Plato the real foundation of the integration of all the separate parts of the state. The Good is the proportion of unity and duality (analogy), it is the knowledge which unfolds its own proper form and at the same time produces the content of its own self. This absolute quality of political reciprocity is to be found between every external reference and internal meaning. As a transparent meaning and as an entity which relates to the politically active person it constitutes all the fundamental virtues of political life : wisdom as the knowledge of human and political affairs, political
bravery as the intelligible power which opposes every threat against the republic, whether of an external kind or, even more, of the kind which corrodes the accepted principles of political morality from within, prudence as the internal order and abstinence from pleasures and desires, and finally justice as political oikeiopragia and elimination of versatility.