Chapter

JUSTICE AS A VIRTUE OF THE SOUL

PAUL WOODRUFF

in Virtue and Happiness

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646043
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191743368 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199646043.003.0006

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

JUSTICE AS A VIRTUE OF THE SOUL

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Platonic justice in the Republic is essentially a pragmatic notion: justice is whatever virtue is most important to the success of the city, where success is understood in terms of the growth of other virtues and the prevention of civil war. This pragmatic assumption about justice puts no direct constraints on what counts as justice in principles, in procedures, in behaviors, or in the distribution of goods. Plato instead calls attention to a matter in ethics or to the psychological character that citizens must have in a city that is successful on his terms. Plato is right about this: an adequate pragmatic account of justice must privilege ethical character over elements of justice such as principles or procedures.

Keywords: Plato; Republic; justice; virtue; character; soul; polis; stasis

Chapter.  5998 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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