The concept of justice has been the subject of many philosophical inquiries. The question of why and how justice is to be attained in the life of the individual and in the management of society have yielded many answers. Plato's Republic and St. Augustine's City of God are two related views on these answers.
In Republic, Plato theorizes that humans possess a tripartite soul. The soul consists of three parts. The appetitive soul represents the desire for material goods and earthly pleasures. The spirited soul represents the emotions of the individual. The rational soul represents the human ability to reason. Each of these souls has a corresponding virtue that controls and perfects it. The virtue that perfects the appetitive soul is temperance. The virtue that perfects the spirited soul is courage. Finally, the virtue that perfects the rational soul is wisdom.
Finding the ideal balance between the natural tendencies of the soul attains the perfection of the individual aspects of the soul. For example, attaining a balance between the desire to eat and the nutritional needs of the body would further perfection of the appetitive soul. The only virtue that can recognize these balances or ideals is the rational soul. Thus, justice may only be attained when the rational soul and the virtue of wisdom guide the virtues of the appetitive and spirited souls.
Plato believed justice should be sought because being unjust is a form of ignorance. Since injustice would be allowing base appetites and emotions affect life unchecked, it damages those who follow it. Justice is the only way to bring order and happiness to life.
Augustine believed that happiness is the final goal of all human beings. He rejected, however, the idea that true happiness are found in the mortal life. He proposed that all virtue and pleasure in the mortal life is subject to be stripped away from humans by the ordinary miseries of life. Wisdom may be taken from a…


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