Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Justice, Free Will, and Choice
(H3) After reading a synopsis of Plato's Republic, I began to question certain aspects of his dialogue. For example, my own definition of justice. I had never given much thought to defining a word that I use so often and freely. In fact, in other cases where I had to define words that I used on a regular basis, I usually drew a blank. It's hard to explain to a third grader something that you have had ingrained in you for so long you truly don't know how to define it without using the word itself. This failing has come up in my general biology course recently, in which we, the class, were asked to define concepts we have been taught forever, for example photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Not one student could not give a comprehensive definition of these seemingly easy-to-grasp concepts. Back to the definition of justice, my mother has a saying in her class, she is a third grade teacher, fair but not equal. In her class, this means everyone does the same work, fair, but not everyone needs the same amount of help, therefore, her time is not allotted evenly, not equal. In terms of justice, in my opinion, there must be both fairness and equality, a combination that has stumped many over the ages. Another idea came to mind when reading Plato's description of a utopian society. Plato's ideas resembled a society I read about in grade-school, dreamed up by Lois Lowry, The Giver. A society in which no one knows who is genetically related to who and in which jobs are chosen by a select few are just some of the similarities. I think the greatest turn-off of these societies is the loss of free will, choice. While the benefits may seem to outweigh the consequences, it all means very little if you are not involved in charting your own course.