Socrates Idea Of Justice In Plato's The Republic

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Early on in Republic, it is clear that Socrates cares deeply about the idea of justice. However, he and his company cannot seem to agree on a proper definition of the word. They do, however, agree on various examples of what is not just. One such example is Socrates’ statement that “human beings who have been harmed necessarily become more unjust.” However, this statement implies that the only way to be just is to do what is best for society as a whole, rather than accounting for each individual’s idea of justice. This Socratic statement comes from Book 1 of The Republic, when Socrates is debating with Polemarchus about his definition of justice. Polemarchus is the second character Socrates discusses justice with, and is meant to show an inherited sense of justice from his father Cephalus, the first person Socrates debates with. At first, Polemarchus states that justice is “to give to each what is owed to him (331e).” Socrates takes issue with this …show more content…
Rather than being entirely false, this statement is just not complete yet. A more accurate statement would instead be “those who are harmed become unjust in the eyes of those who harm them.” This statement keeps the idea the harming others cannot benefit them; however, it also takes into account the idea that justice is an incredibly biased concept. Throughout Republic, Socrates makes an attempt to give one truly accurate definition of what justice is. While this is an incredibly noble attempt, he fails to take into account a few undeniable truths of the human race. It will never be possible for every single human being on Earth to agree to a definition of good and bad. People will also always believe that they are just in their actions. Based on these facts, Socrates’ definitions would never work in the modern world, and would need heavy editing and rethinking in order to properly reflect society as a

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