The Debate Of Justice In Plato's Republic

1062 Words 5 Pages
he Republic is known to be one of Plato’s most popular philosophical written works, and is widely taught. Plato’s Republic isn’t a sort of novel, or even an essay, it is simply a drawn-out conversation and debate led by Socrates and his infinite interrogative questioning of the topic of justice. Socrates, Glaucon, Cephalus, Polemarchus, who is Cephalus’ son, and Thrasymachus are all involved in this rather lengthy conversation. It all takes place on their way home after a prayer to the goddess, and a festival procession. Socrates initiates the debate following a discussion with Cephalus, a well-known and well-respected elder. It is during this discussion when Socrates inquires about what Cephalus has learned in his life. Socrates expresses …show more content…
Thrasymachus demands that Socrates provide his own response on the topic at hand, rather than just asking interrogative questions about and dissecting the responses of the others. Socrates insists that he is interested in the same goals as the other men, which is to establish a clear definition of justice. He goes on to add, that by questioning the others, he is merely trying to understand their point of view. After some back and forth, Thrasymachus finally offers up his opinion on …show more content…
Socrates then demonstrates that if a ruler passes a law and forces a subject to do something that is unjust, thinking it was just and to his advantage, then it would follow that something unjust can possibly be just only because of the fact that a ruler ordered it. Socrates follows with the argument, and asserts, that a rulers supreme and elemental interest should always be the interests of his subjects. After hearing Thrasymachus' definition of a ruler, Socrates states that according to his explanation, a subject doesn't actually look to its own benefit. He illustrated his point of view using a physician, and by stating that a good physician doesn't do what is in his best interest, but rather what is in the best interest of his patients. Socrates concludes that Thrasymachus' description of a ruler must be blemished, and inaccurate. Thrasymachus then presents Socrates with this rebuttal: that if he truly believes that a shepherd is merely concerned with his sheep, and not with the food of clothing that those sheep can potentially provide the shepherd and his family? Thrasymachus then goes on to edit his claim, and states that justice is something that is to the benefit of others, while being unjust is something that is to a persons own benefit or advantage.

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