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Plato’s Theory on the Relationship Between Justice and Happiness Discussed in EMU

Plato’s Theory on the Relationship Between Justice and Happiness Discussed in EMU
Published Date: Wednesday, 15 May 2019

The Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Cyprus Policy Center, in collaboration with the Department of Political Science and International Affairs, organised a seminar titled "The Defense of Justice in Plato's Republic". At the beginning of the seminar, EMU Political Science and International Relations Department academic staff member Assist. Prof. Dr. Umut Bozkurt delivered an opening speech and introduced Mehmet M. Erginel, a Professor of Ancient Greek Philosophy, to the participants.

Mehmet M. Erginel completed his undergraduate studies at Duke University with a major in Economics. He received his M.A. and Ph.D in Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in ancient Greek philosophy. After completing his graduate studies in 2004, he returned to Cyprus, and has been working at Eastern Mediterranean University since then. Erginel's articles have appeared in the leading journals in the field, including Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, The Classical Quarterly, and the British Journal for the History of Philosophy. He was a Visiting Research Fellow at Princeton University and a Visiting Scholar at the University of St Andrews. He also taught at Boğaziçi University Department of Philosophy as Visiting Faculty.

Erginel's main research interests are Platonic moral psychology, Platonic epistemology, Aristotelian moral psychology and Aristotelian metaphysics. During his presentation, Erginel stated that alongside with the aforesaid subjects, the issues of education and political philosophy are also discussed in Plato's famous work 'The Republic'. Erginel also added that the common theme uniting all these views is justice. Erginel went on to state that the theory of 'a just man being happier than unjust man' is the major theme of Plato's work 'The Republic'.

During his presentation, Erginel also touched upon Plato's views on despotic leaders. According to Plato, they are the most unhappy and lonely ones; such political figures have no friends; they constantly worry about who would kill them or betray them; they are afraid to interact with the people they rule without an army protecting them; and they are worried that even those who protect them could betray them at any time. According to Plato, philosophers who possess all virtues, including justice, have a harmonious spirit and philosophical pleasures are the most supreme pleasures and that's why the philosophers are happier. Erginel went on to state that Plato is defined as the first feminist as he claimed that women, as well as men, have the potential to become ideal candidates for governing or administrative positions in state.