Socrates Vs Cepachus Analysis

1036 Words 5 Pages
This paper will analyze the debate in book 1 between Socrates, Cephalus and Polemarchus over the true definition of justice. In doing so, a summary of both Cephalus’s and Polemarchus’s arguments will be given as well as Socrates’s objections. Additionally, I will state why I believe Socrates’s objection was convincing. Finally, the question “what is Cephalus like as a character? What are his limitations?” will be answered through an examination of his old-fashioned, traditional Greek methodology. After interpreting Cephalus’s and Polemarchus’s definitions of justice, it is clear that Socrates possesses the superior mindset related to justice and that Cephalus’s and Polemarchus’s views are too rigid, and therefore difficult to apply in the real …show more content…
Cephalus says he embraces old age and that he views the departure of his former vigour as a “freedom”. Cephalus concludes his take on aging with the words “if they are orderly and content with themselves, even old age is only moderately troublesome; if they are not, then both age, Socrates, and youth alike turn out to be hard for that sort.” This critical analysis of old age from Cephalus shows he feels people misattribute unhappiness onto aging, when in fact it’s just a defect of their personality. Socrates rebuttals this notion by that arguing Cephalus is very wealthy, and therefore, has less reason to be unhappy compared to the average citizen. The discussion quickly moves onto the topic of justice, and its true meaning. Cephulas puts forth a rather simplistic definition, that justice involves nothing more than telling the truth and repaying one’s debt. Socrates quickly dispatches this argument with a well-crafted rebuttal. He points out that in certain instances, following these rules could have a negative impact. Socrates uses the example of returning a weapon to an insane person when …show more content…
His refutation of Cephulas’s claim was less convincing than Polemarchus’s in my opinion because he only used one isolated example as opposed to Polemarchus’s claim where a serious societal point was made. Socrates’s example of an insane man asking you to return his weapon was a convincing rebuttle of Cephulas’s definition of justice that one must tell the truth and repay one’s debts. Personally, I would have found this objection more convincing had Socrates backed it up with a more detailed discussion because by just using this very specific example it seems as though he doesn’t really have much of an opinion and is just trying to be difficult. Even if it was a very convenient example, it was convincing nonetheless because it highlights the rigidness of Cephalus’s argument. I found Socrates’s objection to Polemarchus’s definition more convincing because he questions a common belief among many people that to be just you must help your friends and harm your enemies no matter what. I agree with Socrates because you shouldn’t help your friend if they are doing something wrong just because they’re your friend, you must recognize for yourself in individual circumstances what the just act is. Cephalus’s definition speaks quite a bit to his character, I’ll talk about that

Related Documents