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Comparison of Plato's and John Rawls' Just Society

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Socrate's position on the soul can be said to be a refutation of Thrasymachus position from the beginning of the dialogue where he argues that the just society is the one ruled by the “ stronger” . Socrates defines this relation, using, for example, the compulsion to “ drink” extending from the appetites or the “ irrational” part of the soul. “ Doesn’ t that which forbids in such cases come into play – if it comes into play at all – as a result of rational calculation, while what drives and drags them to drink is a result of feelings and diseases?

Apparently” [Plato, 1992, p. Although the surface appearance, suggests that there is a complete opposition between the appetites on the one hand, or, desire, impulse, etc. ., and on the other hand, the rational component of the soul, it is as though there is a harmony of opposites which Socrates is arguing here. What is implied by this, is as follows? Even though reason and irrationality are opposed, they are united in the very functioning of the soul. While the appetites are controlled through the “ spirit” or the will [Plato, 1992, p.

440a], it is a reason which makes the decision concerning how much control, or when to control the appetites. Again, it is important that we have appetites, and that they are necessary for survival, which reason is aware of, for the same reasoning, that is, for the sake of surviving or health, they must also be controlled. In keeping with Socrates example of drinking, it is often the case that an alcoholic, who is overcome by their appetites, may end up dying or being sick at the very least.

Thus, the relationship between the parts of the soul can be described as creating harmony between opposites, but for the sake of the ‘ whole’ , and for the sake of maintaining health through moderating the components of the soul. In this regard, he argues that “ physical training” , and the study of “ music” and “ poetry” [Plato, 1992, p. 441e] are all necessary for cultivating or educating the soul into a condition of balance or harmony.  

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