Socrates Definition Of Justice Essay

2618 Words 11 Pages
Book 1 of Plato’s Republic is concerned with justice. Although Plato doesn’t give his own definition of justice, he does consider and eventually refute the suggestions offered by some of the characters we encounter. These characters include Cephalus, Polemarchus, and Thrasymachus, who have different perspectives on morality. In this paper, I will be giving my own interpretation of this text, which will include a description of the three characters as well as an account of Socrates’ interaction with them. The focus of this paper will be on the moral ideas and the main arguments of the dialogue. In addition, I will be evaluating Socrates’ counterargument to Thrasymachus’ second argument. I will also be presenting another counterargument on behalf of Thrasymachus, as a reply to Socrates’ counterargument. …show more content…
Cephalus is a rich, old man who represents tradition and the old way of thinking about morality. He is a traditionalist who relies mainly on inherited values and beliefs. Although he identifies himself with the few, Cephalus is, in a sense, the voice of the many, and, for the many, morality is a luxury of rich, old men. This is because people who are in need can’t afford morality and people who are young have too many desires to consider morality. However, Cephalus points out that money is a necessary but not sufficient condition for his morality. [1]

Subsequently, Cephalus defines justice as telling the truth and returning what is owed. Socrates refutes both parts of this definition by providing counterexamples. The first example involves returning a weapon to a mad man. While you do owe the mad man his weapon, it would be unjust to return the weapon since it could be used to harm others. Furthermore, it would be unjust to be completely honest with this mad man, because doing so could lead to undesirable

Related Documents