Plato on Punishment Ehsan Poshtmashhadi

Document Type : Scientific-research


Associate Professor of philosophy at University of Tehran


The concept of punishment is one of the most important concepts of Plato´s philosophy, which is achievable through dialectic, using the ordinary concept of punishment. By denying the basis of revenge view of punishment in his own time, Plato establishes his philosophy of punishment on basis of rehabilitation of the criminal. The criminal, Plato says, is primarily a man who is ignorant of the good and the evil and a sick man who suffers from instability of his rational faculty, i.e. his reason cannot take his anger and his lust under its control. Thus the punishment must make the criminal aware of the true good and the true evil, and like a painful treatment endues him the ability to control his anger and lust. So, logically, there are two possibilities: we must either fortify the superior power, i.e. the reason, or we must debilitate the inferior power i.e. anger and lust. Consequently, the Platonic punishment would be executed in two ways: on is to fortify the reason by means of education; the other is to lower the power of the inferior desires. The first is containing the wide realm of education, while the second includes the wide range of weakness; Therefore, Platonic punishment includes a range, from education to weakness, containing practical exercises, restriction, coercion and even murder. Finally, with categorizing and character recognition of the criminal, Plato determines the rehabilitative method and goal of the punishment.


Main Subjects

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کلی، جان (1382)، تاریخ مختصر تئوری حقوق در غرب، ترجمۀ محمد راسخ، تهران: طرح نو.
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