Justice: Plato vs. Aristotle

1042 words 5 pages
Plato and Aristotle, arguably the most important philosophers of their time, both made attempts to define justice. Being that Aristotle was a student of Plato, their ideas share many similarities. Both viewed justice as the harmonious interaction of people in a society. However, Plato defined his ideal of justice with more usage of metaphysics, invoking his Form of the Good, while Aristotle took a more practical approach, speaking in terms of money and balance. Although Aristotle's ideal of justice may seem superior, upon further inspection, Plato's ideal of justice is the stronger.
Plato defines justice in terms of two types, group and individual. Group justice is a type of political justice and Plato identifies political justice as
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In the case of the theft of an item of significant sentimental value, the victim loses much more than the thief gains. In trying to resolve the situation, how does a judge restore balance to both parties equally? What if the item in question is lost or destroyed? How is restoration supposed to be achieved? Simply requiring the thief to pay back an equal monetary value of the item unjustly stolen would put the thief back in balance, but the victim would be severely treated unjustly by such a depraved indifference to their feelings. By taking the middle road and averaging the victim's loss with that of the thief's gain, both parties lose – the thief must pay more than he stole and the victim can never be returned enough value to compensate for their loss. An equal restoration of balance would be difficult, if not impossible, in this scenario. In regards to safety, it is not always the case that one's gain is equal to another's loss as well. For example, the situation may occur where a gapping hole in a sidewalk may come into existence. How the hole came to be could be another example of injustice that is out of the scope of our discussion here. If someone removes a sign warning passersby of the impending doom they will face if they were to walk into such a hole, the remover of said sign's safety is not increased by an equal amount of the loss of safety felt by anyone who happens to walk by if even in fact that person's


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