Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 90, 2016

Justice: Then and Now

Terence Sweeney
Pages 85-96

Beginning and Ending with Hestia
Finding a Home for Justice in Plato’s Political Philosophy

In my essay, I examine Plato’s understanding of justice and injustice within the home and the city. For Plato, the home, as private, must be suppressed to bring about a common polis. I critique Plato’s conclusions regarding the home and the city, especially his privative definition of justice, which loses the complexity of justice in-between persons, families, and communities. To critique Plato, I rely on his own doubts about his project, especially in his portrayal of the city of sows. The city of sows and the city of guardians both show that we need a politics guided by justice with prudence. The space of justice exists in the needs and obligations that lie between us, our homes, and our cities; it is in this space alone that political prudence can grow in the weaving together of oikos with oikos in the rich tapestry of the polis.