The Republic, By Plato

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Around 300 BC, philosophy was just beginning to surface as a notable substance within various societies. Athens, was perhaps, the greatest nesting ground of intellectual thought, and it hosted many great minds, such as Plato. While Plato is famous for many of his works, The Republic is the most read and circulated. In the Republic, Plato lays out two philosophical questions through a character named Socrates. Both questions re-occur as the foundation of dialogue amongst other characters, such as Glaucon, Adeimantus, and Polemarchus. The first question is what is justice and the second question is why should a human being live a just life. Through this, the reader is being invited to observe a set of opinions and intense debate.

In book
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Socrates points out that as human being’s we often have poor judgement and cannot always discern who are friends or enemies. He then lays justice upon the principle of not bringing harm to people. But the conversation then pivots, as Thrasymachus give his definition. He declares, that justice is simply dominance, a control mechanism, a restraint put on natural desires by the stronger on page 337c. He aims to discredit the idea of justice entirely and now the conversation aims to prove it is worth pursuing. This draws the reader to understand that justice can not be simply defined.

At the conclusion of book one, Socrates grapples with the argument of Thrasymachus, and comes to partial agreement that justice is a virtue of the soul, and thus makes the assumption that it sustains the health of a soul. However, a complete definition has still yet to be found. Socrates and his new dialectic companions still have a flimsy standard of justice and inadequate arguments that point toward a clear reason to live a Just life. In the beginning of book two Socrate’s debate continues with Glaucon requesting a deeper query into the worth of justice. He cites The Story of Gyges and questions what people would do if consequence did not exist. This shows the reader how to use mysticism to provoke contemplation about theoreticals.
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