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  • 8/7/2012

Justice Theory

Idalah in Western Thought, up to Renaissance


Second Discourse

'Idalah in Western Thought (up to Renaissance):

1.   'Idalah   in   the   political   thought   of  ancient   Greece    (from Pythagoras to Aristotle):


A- Pythagoras

In the thought of Pythagoras who was under the influence of eastern thinkers paticularly Zoroaster, ' 'idalah means consideing the competencies of individuals in observing the ights of individuals in accordance with their natural talents. Individuals acquire status on the basis of these talents.

Pythagoras maintained different ranks for his students according to their natural talents. He put the most esoteric of his wisdoms at the disposal of those who were competent to perceive them. On the one hand, consideing that Pythagoras viewed number as a noble principle, he postulated that 'idalah emerged out of equal components and defined it as preserving the equality of the components. This equality actualized by abstaining rom extremism, establishing propotion, balance or harmony among the parts. Since they maintained a desciptive state for 'idalah and compensation or equality and found them in numbers, they also argued that 'idalah was the irst square number. The government is just as long as the equality of its components exists and 'idalah signifies preserving such equality.


B-  Socrates

From the viewpoint of Socrates life signifies a desired perfection in self-control, 'idalah, courage and independence, which are attainable through knowledge and wisdom.    He considers 'idalah a type of inner balance and harmony and subordination of the person's entire existence to an equal will free from duality. For this reason, his greatest activity in life consisted of a combat against any factor tiggering disharmony in man's self and soul.

He considers just and useful action to be one and the same. He has excommunicated and accursed one who has for the irst time drawn distinction between just and useful action. '

Therefore, from his perspective, the value of everything lies in its utility and the usefulness of everything lies in it being just; being religious is a method of thinking accompanied by just action.


C- Plato

Plato, the student of Socrates, considers the basic goal of Republic to be the delineation of the concept of 'idalah and the way to attain it. Of course, in discussing 'idalah, he employs Dikaiosune's term5, which apparently includes6 a wider implication of 'idalah. From his point of view, 'idalah is a desired ideal, which only those trained in the lap of philosophy and wisdom can accomplish, and therefore is of the most beautiful type:

"I said 'idalah is of the most beautiful kind; that is, it is in the realm of wants that are desirable for the seekers of happiness both due to its own sake and on account of the results obtained thereof."

Based on Plato's viewpoint, 'idalah is a kind of harmony and balance in affairs, in the sense that if in a society each of the individuals is simply engaged in a special activity in conformity to his/her natural qualiication and talent and avoids intervention in the affairs of other individuals, 'idalah will be established in that society.


Every single individual in cities should exclusively have one job, for which one is naturally endowed with special talent ... we mentioned that we have repeatedly argued and heard that engaging with one's own job and aveting interference in the work of others is the same as 'idalah.

Plato's attitude to 'idalah is the product of consideing man's individual existence as a multi-dimensional structure, each of which commands a special function. Based on his viewpoint, 'idalah develops in individual's existence when he considers the soul to be composed of three constituents, reckoning that each constituent performs its own special function and that all the three constituents are in harmony with one another under the command of intellect. On this basis 'idalah (in individual's existence) implies health of spiit and cruelty or disharmony among the constituents its ailment. From Plato's perspective, 'idalah also signiies disposition of individuals within the community and society and is based on a type of a logical work division in conformity to individuals' temperaments. Therefore, he considers 'idalah as granting everyone's ight to himself/herself. In his opinion, 'idalah signiies that every one of the individuals in society is gratiied with the position he holds in a community, accepts it and fulills the relevant duties thoroughly.

He wites: We have said time and again that being engaged with one's own job and avoiding interference in the work of others is the same as 'idalah.

On this basis, the government in society deserves to be composed of special members of that society, that is, the luminaies, 'idalah utilizes when this group governs the society.


"Justice Theory" book by The Institute for Compilation and Publication of Imam Khomeini's Works

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