Pondering The Policy And Its Principle

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Ben Spalding GOVT 303: The Ancient Tradition Professor Lombardini Due October 5, 2014 at 5:00 PM Pondering the Policy and its Principle Book II of Plato’s Republic focuses on a debate between Glaucon, Adimantus, and Socrates about whether justice is beneficial for “the sake of whatever is to be got from it in terms of pay-off” (p.43) or if it is to be “valued both for its own sake and for what it gives rise to” (p.43). Glaucon, arguing this first point, relies on the assumption that humans are primarily driven by greed. As a result, humans believe that “doing injustice is naturally a good thing and being a victim of it is a bad thing” (p.44) but that “the badness of having [injustice] done to one outweighs the goodness of doing [injustice]” (p.44). This fear of being wronged leads to the conception of justice through the creation of “a contract – to ban the doing of injustice, and so being the victim of it as well” (p.45). Justice, by this formulation, is therefore an acquiesced construct, providing an ataraxic average that one “is content to live with” (p.45) only because it is an alternative to the dichotomy of good and bad that human nature is apt to follow. Furthering his argument against there being an inherent value to acting justly, Glaucon points out that within this described structure, the life of the most unjust person would be preferable to that of the most just person. In order for the most unjust person to survive he would have to be clever enough not to get
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