Cephalus Definition Of Justice In Plato's The Republic

607 Words3 Pages
Considering how the Piraeus, Athens’ port area, contains individuals hailing from various locations, it would that such a place would be where Socrates encounters different definitions of justice. In Book One of Plato’s The Republic, Socrates challenges Cephalus’ belief that justice is simply being honest and paying back the dues that one owes to the gods and to his fellow men. By providing examples of where it would be unjust to repay one’s debts, Socrates refutes Cephalus’ definition of justice. In these scenarios, paying back those debts would pose a risk of harm to innocent people, which would be unjust since justice does not involve harming others.
Since Cephalus is a religious patriarch, his idea of justice results from his fear of what
…show more content…
To prove this, Socrates describes how “everyone would surely say that if a man takes weapons from a friend when the latter is of sound mind, and the friend demands them back when he is mad, one shouldn’t give back such things, and the man who gave them back would not be just” (331c). Even though the man who gave back the weapons did it to repay his debt, it would be unjust since the weapons could be used to harm other people, leaving the man with the guilt of knowing that any casualties were the consequences of their actions.
Additionally, if someone was to follow Cephalus’ definition of justice and be completely honest with his friend who was of an unsound mind, it might result in the friend lashing out. Because the friend is not completely rational at that current moment in time, they would not completely understand the logical truth. As a result, they would become enraged and act violently. Such a reason is why Socrates also describes how “moreover, one should not be willing to tell someone in this state the whole truth” (331c), to prevent further risk of harm to other people, which would prevent an injustice from
Open Document