Is Socrates A Better Life Or Unjust?

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In Plato’s The Republic, Socrates endeavors to prove to Glaucon and Adeimantus that the life of a just man is superior to that of an unjust man, even if being just provides no reward and one is just simply for the sake of being just. By the end of The Republic, Socrates has sufficiently proved that being just does provide a better life than being unjust, however, he has done this by using the rewards that originate from being just, rather than explaining why being just is better solely for the sake of justice. First, we must know what is meant by a “better” life. Early in the book, Socrates himself does not explicitly state what he means and instead agrees implicitly with Thrasymachus in saying that a “better” or “more profitable” life is …show more content…
Socrates establishes various meanings for “justice”. Early on, justice is simply defined as “a kind of good that we would choose to have not because we desire its consequences, but because we delight in it for its own sake,” (357b). This does not define what justice is, but it brings it introduces it into the book and describes the way humans react to it. Another way is that “justice is the minding of one’s own business and not being a busybody,” (433b). He soon modifies this definition, stating that “the having and doing of one’s own and what belongs to oneself would be agreed to be justice,” (434a). This raises a slight issue; if justice is the “doing of one’s own” and one defines their “own” to be making money or living the life of a tyrant those two paths could be just, by this definition. Later on, he seems to stick closer to the definition stated in 433b, especially when he states that the just man is one who does not allow “the three classes in the soul [to] meddle with each other, but really sets his own house in good order and rules himself,” (443 d-e). This appears to be similar to “the minding of one’s own business.” By this definition, the just man has each portion of his soul in its rightful place, with the calculating part of the soul ruling over the desiring and the spirit assisting the calculating (442b). We can assume that the unjust man is one who does the opposite, and allows the three classes of his soul to be ordered incorrectly, thus creating an

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