Summary Of Justice In Plato's The Republic

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In The Republic, Plato, speaking through his teacher Socrates, answers two questions. What is justice? Why should we be just? Book I sets up these challenges. While among of both friends and enemies, Socrates launch this question, “What is justice?” He disagrees with every suggestion offered, showing how it has hidden contradictions. But he never offers a definition of his own, and the discussion ends in a deadlock, where no further progress is possible and the interlocutors don’t feel sure of their beliefs anymore. When Book I opens, Socrates is returning home from a religious festival with his young friend, when Polemarchus, tell them to take a visit to his house. There they join Polemarchus’s aging father and others. Socrates and the aging…show more content…
At first, the only challenge was to define justice; now justice must be defined and proven to be worthwhile. Socrates has three arguments to launch against Thrasymachus’ claim. First, he makes him admit that the view he is advancing defines injustice as a virtue. In this view, life is seen as a continual competition to get more (more money, more power, ..), and whoever is most successful in the competition has the greatest virtue At this point, Cephalus excuses himself, and his son Polemarchus takes over the argument for him. He launches a new definition of justice: justice means that you owe friends help, and you owe enemies harm. Socrates shows many contradictions in this view. He declares that, because our judgment concerning friends and enemies is fallible, this will lead us to harm the good and help the bad. Socrates points out that there is some contradictions in the idea of harming people through justice. Socrates then conclude that injustice cannot be a virtue because it is contrary to wisdom, which is a virtue. It’s contrary to wisdom because the wise man, the man who is skilled in some art, never seeks to beat out those who possess the same art. The mathematician, for instance, is not in competition with other
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