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Totalitarian justice: an appreciation of Karl Popper's analysis of the concept of justice in the Republic

Codex: Revista de Estudos Clássicos. 2018;6(2):53-70 DOI 10.25187/codex.v6i2.17122


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Codex: Revista de Estudos Clássicos

ISSN: 2176-1779 (Online)

Publisher: Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Society/Institution: Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

LCC Subject Category: History (General) and history of Europe: History (General): Ancient history | Language and Literature: Greek language and literature. Latin language and literature

Country of publisher: Brazil

Language of fulltext: Portuguese

Full-text formats available: PDF



Rodrigo de Miranda (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 8 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

For the philosopher of science Karl Popper, The Republic is perhaps the most careful monograph that has ever been written about justice. In it, Plato works several understandings about the concept, especially in the first book, where we are presented to the false ideas of justice. Plato avoids or neglects to mention the notion that was current in his time, that is, that of equality before the law (ἰσονομία). According to Popper, this neglect is explicable by the fact that the ideal state represents what would become the totalitarian state. However, through close scrutiny of the book Open Society and its enemies, we may realize that Popper's main interest may not lie in the notion of equality, but rather in Plato's presumed criticism of what he calls "altruistic individualism ". The present article therefore aims to analyze the relevance of Popper's interpretation of the concept of justice in Plato from the first book of The Republic.