To Be Just or Not to Be Just

Jovilee-Mae Cruz

Philosophy 003
Justin   White - Section 30
26 January 2011
To Be Just or Not to Be Just
There are a lot of assumptions to what being a just person really is, many people are close in their observations and studies while others barely scratch the surface. Justice can be a very complicated or a very simple concept. According to Socrates, in Plato Republic: Book IV, justice within an individual is living in harmony with what he concludes to be the three parts of the self: desire, reason and spirit (Book IV, 439-440). Socrates is very convincing in his argument as to why these three parts must live in harmony, and I believe he has the best explanation to what justice really is.
The three parts of the self all have different purposes within the self. Socrates defines the “desire” part of the self to be basic wants for material goods of a person. While he states the “reason” is what judges a what is best for that person. Finally, the “spirit” is defined as the emotional capacity of a person (Lecture Outline II). These three parts of the self, Socrates concludes, to have virtues to each part. These virtues are what make a person just.   Not only do they comprise a just person, but it is important that these three parts are all within balance.
The virtue associated with “desire” is the virtue of moderation. As human beings we are going to want and desire things for simple happiness. This short term happiness is materialistic and involves things we only want and can live without. A modern day example would be the desire for a smart phone. The purpose of a phone is to communicate with people who are far from where you are. Nowadays people crave entertainment. Therefore instead of buying a cheaper more reasonable phone people want smart phones that come with internet that can access games, social networks, along with downloadable movies, any means of entertaining one’s self. Socrates would categorize this as people who do things to...