Comparing Glaucon 's And Socrates ' Arguments

1789 Words Sep 28th, 2014 8 Pages
In Republic II, Glaucon and Socrates pose the question of whether justice is intrinsically good, or instrumentally good. Further, the two men wish to discover which life is best - the just life or the unjust one. While Glaucon argues that the unjust life is best, Socrates argues that the just life is truly better. In this paper, I will summarize both Glaucon’s and Socrates’ arguments, and provide a critical analysis of the opposing views.
Glaucon begins Republic II by describing different types of goods and by placing them into categories beginning with those that are valued for their own sake (Plato 399). In this category what is good is not sought after for its ability to achieve something, but only for its inherent worth as an end in itself. For Glaucon, joy is an intrinsically valuable good that we appreciate merely because it is joyful to have joy. Glaucon describes the next category of goods as those that not only have intrinsic value, but also those that provide an additional service such as health (Plato 399). Lastly, Glaucon describes a category of goods that are valued only for their instrumental ability, and are worthless upon losing said ability. To elaborate on this last category of goods, a hammer is valued not because it is a hammer, but because it can hammer and once it can no longer hammer it is no longer valued. Following this separation of goods, Socrates adopts Glaucon’s view and adds to it a new dynamic by ranking the groups, and placing justice where…
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