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Frontiers of Philosophy in China

Front Phil Chin    2011, Vol. 6 Issue (2) : 258-272
“Justice Is Happiness”?— An Analysis of Plato’s Strategies in Response to Challenges from the Sophists
BAO Limin()
Philosophy Department, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310028, China
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The challenge from the sophists with whom Plato is confronted is: Who can prove that the just man without power is happy whereas the unjust man with power is not? This challenge concerns the basic issue of politics: the relationship between justice and happiness. Will the unjust man gain the exceptional “happiness of the strong” by abusing his power and by injustice? The gist of Plato’s reply is to speak not of “justice” but of “intrinsic justice,” i.e., the strength of virtue which, in his account, is the fundamental good of man. Nevertheless, many contend that intrinsic justice is actually injustice, for the division of power in the state is undemocratic while in the soul, the suppression of desire by the reason. Plato’s advocacy of hierarchical, elite political system has enraged democrats, while his idea of “philosopher king” has enraged the aristocrats as well. So, who will appreciate Plato’s effort?

Keywords justice      happiness      politics of the strong     
Corresponding Author(s): BAO Limin,   
Issue Date: 05 June 2011
 Cite this article:   
BAO Limin. “Justice Is Happiness”?— An Analysis of Plato’s Strategies in Response to Challenges from the Sophists[J]. Front Phil Chin, 2011, 6(2): 258-272.
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