Glaucon's Challenge and Plato's Theory of Justice in Plato's Republic

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Plato’s Republic focuses on one particular question: is it better to be just or unjust? Thrasymachus introduces this question in book I by suggesting that justice is established as an advantage to the stronger, who may act unjustly, so that the weak will “act justly” by serving in their interests. Therefore, he claims that justice is “stronger, freer, and more masterly than justice” (Plato, Republic 344c). Plato begins to argue that injustice is never more profitable to a person than justice and Thrasymachus withdraws from the argument, granting Plato’s response. Glaucon, however, is not satisfied and proposes a challenge to Plato to prove that justice is intrinsically valuable and that living a just life is always superior. This …show more content…
Justice is a mean between these two extremes” (Plato, Republic 359a). Therefore, it is common nature to come to an agreement neither to commit nor suffer injustice and laws are created accordingly. His second case is made in the story of the ring of Gyges, which illustrates a situation where a man has a ring that makes him invisible. He realizes that when he is invisible, he can act unjustly with no fear of negative consequences, so he kills the king to rule the kingdom. Glaucon claims that even the most just man would behave unjustly with this ring. People are only just because of their fear of punishment for unjust acts. Glaucon presents his third case by comparing the lives of the most unjust man and the most just man. If a man is to be fully unjust, his actions of injustice will go unnoticed due to persuasion and force, and he will be believed to be just. Therefore, he will have a reputation for justice while doing great injustice. The just man would be stripped of a reputation of justice because that would bring him positive consequences, and he will be left with justice alone. Therefore, he will have a reputation for injustice while committing no injustice. Glaucon decides that the happiness of both men must be compared. The just man will be punished for his reputation and unjust man will gain many benefits from his just reputation, which will ultimately

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