CSS Solved Political Science Past Papers 2001, 2006 I Explain Plato’s Theory of Justice. How he tries to implement it through the Education System?.
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In this question, the examiner has asked to explain Plato’s theory of justice. So, first of all, you will give a brief introduction. Next, you will elaborate on his theory of justice in detail. Then you will shed light on Plato’s education system. After that, you will explain how Plato implements Justice through the education system followed by a critical analysis and conclusion. By following this approach, you will be scoring the highest marks. Usually, aspirants start writing answers without breaking the topic into its asked segments. So, let me write the answer for you to understand how to attempt a Political Science question to score the maximum.
2- Plato’s Idea of Justice
- ✓ Arrangement of the human soul
- ✓ Division of labour
- Ruler class
- Guardian class
- Working class
3- Education system of Plato
- ✓ Elementary education
- ✓ Higher education
4- The implication of justice through education
- ✓ Education is a tool to achieve justice
5- Critical Analysis
Answer to the question
In Plato’s philosophy, the idea of justice holds a very significant place. He considered justice to be one of the four virtues essential for the perfect functioning of a state. Justice, in his notion, is doing one’s natural job without interfering with others. For Plato, the foundation of the state is to be built on the principle of justice. Moreover, to Plato, Justice is a public and a private virtue. It is the performance of duty and not the enjoyment of rights. it requires an individual to perform its function for which one is fit by nature to serve one’s own and common good. Furthermore, Plato tries to implement justice in the state through education. For the realization of justice in the state, Plato’s scheme of education is regarded as a spiritual remedy. Besides, Plato maintains that education is a way to justice.
“Justice is the hinge of Plato’s thoughts.”Dr. Barker
Plato’s theory of justice
Plato rejected the prevailing concepts of Justice and put forth his own. For him, justice must exist, both at an individual and societal level. In his view, justice, in the state, exists in a very noticeable and bigger form, so he put forward his theory of justice in relation with the state. For Plato, justice is a human virtue and the bond, which links individuals together in the state. It is the harmonious strength of the soul.
Moreover, In view of Plato, cities, and states emerge out of two reasons; aptitude differences in individuals and mutual needs. He asserted that an individual is an organic entity, an integral part of the establishment.
✓ Arrangement of the human soul
According to Plato, the human soul is tripartite in nature. It possesses three constituents; Reason, Spirit, and Appetite.
- Reason is the desire for knowledge
- Spirit is quality or attitude
- Appetite is the desire of the body.
Plato believed that an individual is just when reason is dominant over spirit and appetite. Thus, when all three constituents agree that reason should rule alone, there will be justice within the individuals. This is the proper arrangement of the human soul.
✓ Division of labour
There are three social classes, corresponding to the above three constituents of the human soul.
- Ruling class or philosopher: This class represents the reason.
- Guardian or warrior class: This class represents spirit.
- Working class: This class consists of workers, farmers, and artisans. And they also represent appetite.
Each soul is predominated by one of the three qualities. Individuals who are predominately rational, form the ruling class, and wisdom is the virtue of such a soul. Likewise, warriors are those whose predominant quality is spirit, and their virtue is courage. However, Individuals with appetitive souls exhibit a fondness for material possessions. These are from the working class.
Conclusively, justice for Plato is the will to focus on one’s own domain of obligation and not to meddle with the domain of others.
✓ Important features of Plato’s idea of justice
- Functional specialization
Based on the dominant character of the soul, the state is divided into three classes. Every individual in the state will only perform assigned duty. It is the founding principle of the state that each individual, in the state, should practice only one thing, and that thing should be the one to which the individual’s nature is best adapted
- Mutual non-interference
Moreover, these three classes should not interfere with each other’s functions. For Plato, the principle of true justice is non-interference. He views the state as a perfect whole. In which each individual component functions not for its own sake, but for the well-being of the whole.
- Communal harmony
The preceding two conditions contribute to the creation of a harmonious atmosphere in society. The implication of Plato’s justice theory is precisely this harmony.
Plato’s education system
Plato’s education system is divided into two levels;
- Elementary Education
- Higher Education.
1- Elementary education
Plato asserts that there should be predominantly physical education during the first ten years. Apart from physical education music, history, science, and mathematics should be taught at this level.
According to Plato, at the age of 20 children must take an examination that would determine whether or not to pursue higher education. Those who fail the examinations will join the working class of society.
2- Higher education
However, those who pass the exam will pursue higher education for another 10 years. During this period, geometry, astronomy, arithmetic, and dialectic should be taught. Then, at the age of 30, there would be another exam, and people who fail it will join the guardian class of society.
On the other hand, those who pass the exam will take another 20 years of education in dialectics. Finally, at the age of 50 qualifiers will form the ruler class of society
✓ Implication of justice through the education system
To Plato, education is an agency to achieve justice, both at social and individual levels. Individual justice, according to Plato, can be attained when each individual maximizes his ability. So, justice implies excellence. According to Plato, excellence is virtue and virtue is knowledge. Hence, knowledge is a prerequisite for justice. Furthermore, he maintains that virtue can be attained through three stages of knowledge development: self-knowledge, knowledge regarding the idea of good, and knowledge of one’s job.
In addition to that, Plato asserts that social justice is possible when all social classes within a society, including rulers, worriers, and workers, live in harmony. Plato believes that, if society provides people equal educational opportunities to compete fairly with one another from an early age, they can co-exist in harmony. However, an unjust society will emerge, without equal educational opportunity, as the political system will be run by unqualified individuals.
Hence, Plato’s education system play’s a very crucial role in the implication of justice in society. Because it is through education that individuals get to know their abilities and then work in their specialized domain. Moreover, education helps individuals learn about social consciousness and enlightens individuals to fulfill their appointed functions. Education teaches individuals how and in what manner they will perform their specialized functions to ensure justice in the state.
Furthermore, Plato maintains that education is the tool for the operation of justice in the ideal state. He believes that the root of vice is primarily ignorance, and one can only be converted into a virtuous man, through proper education.
In the critical diagnosis, Plato’s theory of justice is not concerned with legality but with social morality. It is, therefore, neither a subject of law nor a subject of individual ethics, it is rather a harmony of the two. It studies the means by which collective good can be achieved in society. Hence, justice in the state is a principle of functional specialization and Plato’s education system is the tool for the implementation of justice in the ideal state
In the nutshell, Plato’s justice is a principle of non-interference that keeps various members of each class, various classes of society, and various elements in the soul of an individual within proper boundaries. Therefore, justice in the state is a principle of functional specialization, and the specialization of functions leads to efficiency. Furthermore, Plato’s education system is designed to establish a society that operates at the pinnacle of efficiency, where every individual is specialized in their function, contributing to the greater good of the state. Within this framework, justice is the ultimate goal – a principle that aligns perfectly with functional specialization, as it ensures that every member of society is equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to perform their role to the best of their ability. Conclusively, Plato’s education system leads to justice in the ideal state.
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