Philosophy of Punishment

Topics: Punishment, Justice, Ethics Pages: 4 (1240 words) Published: April 16, 2013
In Plato’s The Republic, Socrates has many conversations with people in order to further understand concepts such as justice and the way things are ideally supposed to be done. When I think about justice the definition that comes to mind is: the administration of a just action because of an unjust or immoral act being done by a human or group of humans. The issue of proper punishment has also been discussed in those conversations with Socrates and his peers. There must be a punishment for immoral or unjust actions committed by any human otherwise everything in our world would turn into complete chaos.

In Socrates’s time people believed heavily in the afterlife and that his or her actions on Earth determined the quality of that life. The gods played a huge role in deciding the fates of everyone depending on how one lived while one was alive. If one lived an unjust and reckless life then it will show because the gods in one’s afterlife will punish him or her. Socrates states, “…bad people are wretched because they are in need of punishment, and that in paying the penalty they are benefited by that god.” There is a problem with waiting until the afterlife for people to be punished because then there would be no order in society. Bad people who are actually bad can get away with living well in the afterlife because during their Earthly life they gained enough wealth to pay the gods to give them a good afterlife. Meanwhile the good people of the world who did a bad thing maybe once or twice will be wrongly punished in the afterlife. In order for everyone to get what he or she deserves, they need to be punished while they are still alive. The way the societies keep everything in line is by appointing government personnel and juries. The appointed officials are given the task of creating fair and reasonable laws that are possible for all to follow. If those laws are broken, it is at that point when the perpetrator is given a punishment that correlates...

Cited: Plato. Republic. Translated by C.D.C. Reeve. Indianapolis: Hackett 2004.

[ 1 ]. Plato, Republic, trans. C.D.C. Reeves (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2004) 61.
[ 2 ]. Plato, Republic, 11.
[ 3 ]. Plato, Republic, 12.
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