In Plato's Justice from the ``Republic,'' Thrasymachus believes justice is ``really the good of another, the advantage of the stronger and the ruler, and harmful to the one who obeys and serve (Westphal 45).'' This was because he believed that a just man doesn't profit as much as that of an unjust person. A just man follows the law and does good but he ends up being at the losing end if compared to an unjust person who in simple terms end up the one getting the guns, the gold and the glory. That is why he pointed out that the one who does injustice tend to be happiest if compared to the just one, whom he said was ``wretched.'' By this assumption, he believed that it was profitable for men to be unjust rather than be just because an unjust person gets and achieves more in life.
For Socrates, justice is in the soul or an individual, just like in a city. He said there were three parts of the soul – ``the rational part, appetitive part and the spirited part (66, 67).'' He described the rational part of the soul as the one which ``calculates;'' the irrational appetitive part which ``lusts, hungers, thirsts and gets excited by other appetitesthe companion of indulgences and pleasures,'' and the spirited part as the ``helper of the rational part (66, 67).'' The soul is just when the rational and spirited parts are able to ``govern the appetite part (68).'' ``They'll watch over it to see that doesn't become so big and strong it no longer does it own work but attempts to enslave and rule over the classes that it isn't fitted to rule, thereby overturning everyone's life (68)'', according to Socrates. His view then that justice is in the soul is far better than Thyrasymachu's own view of ``justice being for the stronger and the ruler and harmful to those who obey and serve'' because it presupposes that everyone can do just actions without paying for its consequences. You don't have to go down the road of being unjust to get the better things in life because a person with a just soul achieves this when he takes the high road in life.
For Aristotle, reciprocity is a return of the same benefits obtained and this is in essence an achievement of justice. This is in gist what he meant when he said a city is held together by proportionate reciprocity. For a city to move and function well justly or without any conflict, people should be able to ensure that the return of any exchange of item or service should be the same with the benefit they received. ``(W)hen someone has been gracious to us, we must do a service for him in return, and also ourselves take the lead in being gracious again,'' according to Aristotle (82). By saying that reciprocity is proportionate, Aristotle is saying that any item or service that would be obtained should be equalized. For he said that reciprocity ``is secured when things are equalized (82).'' And because the goal of proportionate reciprocity was to ensure exchanges are equalized, currency comes into play and becomes an ``intermediate''' in exchanges ``since it measures everything (82).
According to Martha Nussbaum, ``capability and not functioning should be the appropriate political goal'' (132) in dealing with the inequalities in life, especially for women. The goal of the capabilities approach is to ensure women's capabilities will be encouraged as they deal with life. For she said that ``to secure a capability to a person it is not sufficient to produce good internal states of readiness to act. It is necessary, as well, to prepare the material and institutional environment so that people are actually able to function (133).'' She believed the capabilities approach is better than rights-based approach or social contract-based approach and for that matter, other approaches especially when it concerns the issue of care and people's need to both receive care and give it.
There are instances when she said that care should be provided to those who need it but at the same time the caregivers (mostly women) should not be put in a disadvantaged position. ``In other words, a good society must arrange to provide care for those in a condition of extreme dependency, without exploiting women as they have traditionally been exploited, and thus depriving them of other important capabilities (134),'' she said. While human beings in a sense are regarded as animals, Nussbaum, in her discussion of a human being's function, said that ``Human beings are creatures such that, provided with the right educational and material support, they can become fully capable of these human functions (131).'' That is, it is important for human beings to be developing their capabilities through education and other support with the help of the state so as to help empower them in making decisions in their life. For she did say that the ``core idea seems to be that of the human being as a dignified free being who shapes his or her own life, rather than benign passively shaped or pushed around by the world in the manner of a flock or herd animal (130).''
Westphal, Jonathan. Justice. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 1996.