Essay The Between Socrates And His Friends

2224 Words Dec 5th, 2014 9 Pages
In the ancient city of Athens, Greece, there was once a discussion of great importance held between some good friends. This discussion was so important because it was the first recorded debate over the meaning of something many of us wouldn’t think to question in modern times: justice. One would not know most of the participants in the conversation by name, that is, except for one notable philosopher: Socrates. The discourse between Socrates and his friends was documented by a student of his, Plato, another well-known Athenian, in his famous book, The Republic. In The Republic the discussion began when old Cephalus offers a definition of what is “right”. Cephalus believes, as Socrates states, "doing right consists simply and solely of truthfulness and returning anything we have borrowed" (330e). Not long after this definition is presented, Socrates presents a counter statement; he poses the example of a friend who had loaned out a weapon and gone mad shortly after. Cephalus agrees with Socrates that it would be wrong to give a madman back his weapon or to “consent to tell [him] the strict truth”. Cephalus was about to let the argument die when another voice piped up: that of Polemarchus, the son of Cephalus. Polemarchus augments the argument started by Cephalus to state that, "justice is to help your friends and harm your enemies" (334b). Of course, this noble attempt is defeated by the superior logic and debate skills of Socrates. The old teacher reasons, since…

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