The Value Of Justice In Plato's Republic

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In Plato’s Republic, a portrayal of the longing quest to determine the most suitable conception of justice makes practical use between Socrates and fellow Athenians to examine the many aspects of the complex conception, especially justice’s value. Through Glaucon and Adeimantus’ challenge towards Socrates, the question of whether justice is good only for its consequences or worthy in itself is raised. In this essay, I offer an account on what Socrates means by justice and whether it’s good in itself, drawing on Plato’s “Republic” where Socrates praises the intrinsic value of justice despite counterarguments from Glaucon, and Adeimantus. Although, when analyzed, Socrates’ health analogy consists of a weak reasoning and unproven premise therefore, …show more content…
Glaucon claims that people act justly unwillingly and when comparing perfectly just and perfectly unjust individuals, he concluded that those who live unjustly live better. Glaucon presents a quite compelling case on the exclusively instrumental value of justice, based on necessity and relative profitability. He argues that those “who practice justice do so unwillingly as something compulsory”(359), for they lack the ability to do the opposite with impunity. He goes against Socrates’ theory that humans act justly as a sacred notion apart of the human soul and characterizes it as an acceptance within individuals to avoid the suffering and consequences of injustice. Glaucon supports his theory out of his analogy of the Rings of Gyges where those who practiced justice only did so out of fear and as soon as the barrier was lifted, they started to commit bad deeds. Acting justly simply makes their lives more secure and convenient rather than their spirits aligning with reason. Glaucon concludes his argument by adding a statement by Adeimantus who claims that justice is praised only for its consequences, it holds a reputation with winning, such as within political campaigns or successful marriages. Ultimately, both philosophers challenge Socrates to prove whether or not justice can be justified as a good in …show more content…
Even though Socrates provides the definition of justice -- each component functioning properly in order to maintain the balance of the whole -- in an attempt to demonstrate how it’s a good state for the soul, he fails to construct a strong argument on why humans seem naturally reluctant towards justice, as stated by Glaucon. At the least, Socrates was able to imply that those who inherently sway towards injustice, have imbalanced souls, yet even this claim is barely mentioned in his reply. Socrates’ analogy between health and justice, to which he takes the intrinsic goodness as a given, failed his intentions of proving his argument. He continued to argue on an unproven premise that health is inherently valuable since it’s a natural state (133). However, Socrates does not manage to explain how if a virtue makes it “natural”, it is automatically “intrinsically good”. His failure to efficiently demonstrate the truth of this proposition drastically weakens his argument, since he claims justice is the “health” of the soul to prove why it’s good in itself. While claiming his analogy of the weak connection between justice and health, he believes that justice is not only good for itself but good for other things as well, stating that justice results

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