>Who really knows what justice is?

>Plato said that only philosophers know what justice is, and that as such philosophers should rule. Clearly this is far from the case today. But I’ve heard people espouse the same view (ironically people who dabble in philosophy…).

Is the fact that Plato’s view is seen as silly today a mark that it is wrong? Or is the fact that it’s still talked about, and promoted by the few, a mark that there is some logic in the idea? After all if philosophers don’t know what justice is then who does?

One comment

  • >I don't believe Plato was wrong precisely. The error he makes is in my opinion akin to the errors made in defining the 'Forms' as fundamental aspects of reality that are essentially beyond questioning. He neglects subjectivities i.e. people's ability to disagree and still both be right. A philosopher may well have a developed and thought out notion of what justice is. But that does not mean it won't be a radical notion/view. It doesn't even mean it will accord with empirical data. This is in fact one reason why the idea is viewed as silly today, for since the enlightenment and the age of science empirical data has become far more important. The legal system is thus no longer solely about ensuring justice. It is also about reducing recidivism (re-offending rates), deterring offences, etc. And philosophers are arguably less well suited to deal with such practical problems than those who speak to people of many different professions all the time and have a direct involvement in the legal system.So who knows what justice is? No one does, and everyone does. The question itself is flawed, since there is no one definition of justice that can be accepted by all.

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