Analysis of law and justice in ancient greece


In Crito Socrates takes his time to analyze the concept of justice, and injustice. From his argument, it is note right to use injustice to pay injustices. Even with the complexity of the issue, did not find it right to escape the prison in the phase of unjust accusations. The main bone of contention is that justice should be allowed to prevail as is prescribed by the established law of the land. Irrespective a persons standing in the society, bias or favoritism should not be allowed because this will trigger a series of injustices that would be used in future precedences. Even in the ancient Greece, judicial precedence was a very important source of law. If Socrates, agreed to escape prison because of wrongful conviction, the future court ruling (Lee & lane 12-16).

Morality in law and justice

Any unjust accusations can now be paid with injustices because it is both immoral and unethical. Socrates teaches that toe society must remain good by what taking an action that is morally right ad does not contravene the laws of the land. When it comes to law, ethics and morality, it is important to give primary to the established laws. Socrates argues that the only opinions that mattered are those opinions of the people with knowledge. Because it is not what the people in general thinks about an individual that matters but how the individual stands with the experts in right or wrong. In law and justice, the authority that represents the actual truth should be given more considerations. Offenders culpable for escaping justice should not escape, they should act righteously (Rossides 23-34).

Finally, escaping punishment is not just as the offender disobeys the rules and this is unjust. For example, disobeying the rules destroys the actual laws and what the laws stand for. It is the duty of the law to hold together the state if the law falls into disarray, the state collapse and this is the main reason why law my be upheld at what cost. No level of wealth and social achievement can make the state relax the law in favor of an individual. Therefore, allegiance to the state should be given priority over allegiance on ones family or his wellbeing (Ruffo-Fiore 95-102)

Law as a social contract

Socrates argues that laws are passed under rigorous vetting processes making them the most just rules. However, even though laws are just, they can be used unjustly by people to meet the self interest. Law is a social compact just as it is a social contract. By living in any state, one demonstrates their agreement to obey the law of the state without which they should leave the state. The state is a direct consequence s of the peoples will. Therefore, people agree to live under the same law in any state.

Aristotle says justice consists in what is lawful and fair, with fairness involving equitable distributions and the correction of what is inequitable (Rossides 23-34). For Aquinas, justice is that rational mean between opposite sorts of injustice, involving proportional distributions and reciprocal transactions. Hobbes believed justice is an artificial virtue, necessary for civil society, a function of the voluntary agreements of the social contract; for Hume, justice essentially serves public utility by protecting property (broadly understood).

Platos concept of law and justice

According to Plato, citizens and the law make an agreement to live in the same state and obey the laws. Therefore, the laws are an entity in and of it. This makes law an abstract idea. The great Laws are however, purer than the laws. The great laws are just never the less despite the differences, all citizens are subject of the law and thus must uphold the law and justice. The state is built upon law and justices, therefore, failure to uphold the laws and justice lead to thru destruction of all the ideas, the truths as well as the forms dear to the community members (Sabine 107)

According to Aristotle, any civilized society must have in places laws that guide the acts, and intentions of its subjects. Justice is a virtue that requires men to place aside the irrational desires to satisfy their selfish needs out of every object. Justice requires the subjects to discharge their duties for the general benefits. This is also I n line with the overall ethical framework of utilitarianism where the common good s the driving factors. The collapse of the Athenian democracy would have meant Socrates death. However, justice saved Athens from decay and ruin. Lack of law and justice would have resulted into self-satisfaction, and excessive individualism. Injustice is what contributed to the general division of the rich and the poor.


Platos book The Republic argues that justice is defined to hold the society together, while, Socrates argument in Crito states that one cannot respond to injustice with injustice but should obey the laws of the land. In conclusion, it is important to ensure that laws are upheld as they prescribe to justice, morality, and ethics. Justice requires that individuals be given what is due to them


Ruffo-Fiore, Silvia. Niccolo Machiavelli. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990. Print.

Rossides, Daniel W. Social Theory. Dix Hills, N.Y.: General Hall, 1998. Print.

Sabine, George, A History Of political Theory, Dryden press a subsidiary Of Holt, Rinehart and Winston, inc, New York, London. 1972. Print

Desmond lee & Melissa lane(1974), Plato, The Republic, The Penguin Group Ltd, Strand, London


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s