Justice In Plato's Republic Essay

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In Plato’s Republic, Socrates utilizes logical dialogue with his fellow Athenians to uncover the timeless and elusive ideal of justice. The dilemma begins to surface in book II through Glaucon’s challenging that justice is not inherently, but rather consequentially good. Socrates argues that justice is among the highest of virtues that are both consequentially and intrinsically good, individually defining it as the harmony of the tripartite soul: the balance between reason, appetite, and spirit (132). Upon further investigation, however, Socrates’ assertion not only fails to refute Glaucon’s argument for people’s reluctance toward justice, but he is also unsuccessful in outlining the innate worth behind the ideal. Nonetheless, Socrates’ endeavor…show more content…
Glaucon further acknowledges an additional set of goods which people “love for their own sake, and also for the sake of their consequences” (36), such as peace or intellect. Despite Socrates’ acceptance of these points, the two remain at war over how these points holistically apply to justice. Is it being just only consequentially valuable, or does it carry any instrumental benefit on its own sake? To further his argument, Glaucon performs a thought experiment – the Ring of Gygesthat – in attempt to discover the underlying motivation for acting justly. Glaucon describes a situation in which both a perfectly just person and a perfectly unjust person possess a ring that could make them invisible, thereby allowing them to act without fear of consequences (38). He states that under these circumstances, both people would act to further their own self interest. The Ring of Gyges provides the reader with an almost modern and Hobbesian commentary on human nature, suggesting that when there is no punishment or outside force, all just virtues are cast out in favor of pursuing personal agendas. Justice, as described by the interlocutors, is not a natural tendency among individuals, but rather done as a result of fearing
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