Plato or Hobbes: Better Justified Philosophy

Subject: Philosophy
Pages: 2
Words: 396
Reading time:
2 min

Comparing Plato’s philosophy and Hobbes’ perception of the world, the concepts presented by both are rather controversial. In particular, the most contradicting questions are the philosophers’ deliberations on the human nature and knowledge, on the definition of justice, on politics, and on the social and ethical issues.

Considering their vision of human nature, Hobbes tackles humans through the prism of their perception of the world with the help of sensitive organs. He also states that humans are predominantly guided by the fear and death as only matters limiting people’s desire to govern. With regard to the above, Hobbes identifies such qualities of a person as honor, worth, worthiness, and dignity, which are the constituent parts of power where the desire, or “appetite” serves to gain the power is the leading one for a human nature.

Like Hobbes, Plato believes that the core virtue of a human is honor and decency which, however, should be elevated over the death and fear, since “the only thing [a man] ought to consider, if he does anything, is whether he does right or wrong, whether it is what a good man does or a bad man”.

Viewing the above, Plato’s vision of human virtues is more exaggerated and optimistic rather Hobbes one whose theory considers humanity as the one subjected to natural law and animal instinct. Therefore, Plato’s theory is too idealistic and, thus, less persuasive where is Hobbes’s vision can be attained to more realistic approach.

There is also a big controversy between Plato’s and Hobbes’ definition of justice. Hence, Hobbes’ defines justice as “rule of reason by which we are forbidden to do anything destructive to our life and consequently a law of nature”. In other words, justice within the government prevents the enforcement of the laws of nature. According to Plato, justice is “whatever suits the strongest best”; “[it] is apparently wise and virtuous, and at the same time more profitable than injustice”).

In this respect, it is better to consider justice in the macrocosm but on the example of the individual. Based on the above, it should be admitted that Hobbes’s presentation of the concept of justice in more consistent and better defined. In Plato’s dialogue, Socrates failed to find an accurate definition of this term.