Social justice and happiness in the Republic: Plato's two principles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the Republic, Socrates says that social justice is 'doing one's own', i.e. 'everyone must practice one of the occupations in the city for which he is naturally best suited'. One would ordinarily suppose social justice to concern not only the allocation of duties but also the distribution of benefits. I argue that this expectation is fulfilled not by Plato's conception of social justice, but by the normative basis for it, Plato's requirement of aiming at the happiness of all the citizens. I argue that Plato treats social justice as a necessary but not sufficient means to happiness that guarantees only the production of the greatest goods; ensuring that these goods are distributed so as to maximize the happiness of the whole city requires a direct application of Plato's happiness principle, which I interpret individualistically and then use to explain women's equality in work and education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHistory of Political Thought
Volume22
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2001
Externally publishedYes

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Plato
happiness
social justice
republic
Socrates
equality
guarantee
occupation
citizen
Plato's Republic
Social Justice
Happiness
education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Social justice and happiness in the Republic : Plato's two principles. / Kamtekar, Rachana -.

In: History of Political Thought, Vol. 22, No. 2, 06.2001.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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