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
Glaucon states that all goods can be divided into three classes: things that we desire for their consequences; goods that we desire for their own sake and things we desire both for their own sake and for their beneficial consequences. Socrates believes that justice is in the latter group. Glaucon asks Socrates to prove justice is in the last group and begins defending unjust actions in the strongest way possible (Plato, 2008).
In this post it is my goal to analyze Plato’s The Apology showing that Socrates statement of “an unexamined life is not worth living” stands as Socrates statement of his own worth, wisdom, and place in Athenian society.
In Book II of the Plato’s Republic, Glaucon and Adeimantus challenge Socrates’ claim that justice belongs in the class of goods which are valued for their own sake as well as for the sake of what comes from them (Rep. 357 b- 358 a). Unconvinced by Socrates’ refutation of Thrasymachus, Glaucon renews Thrasymachus’ argument that the life of the unjust person is better than that of the just person. As part of his case, Glaucon states what he claims most people consider the nature of justice to be and what its origins are. He proceeds to present a version of the social contract theory:
To begin with, a discourse about the nature of justice arises between Glaucon and Socrates. As expressed in book 2 of the Republic, Glaucon begins a step by step process of reasoning, first attempting to identify justice as either an intrinsic or extrinsic good, or possibly both. To expand, Glaucon first describes intrinsic goods as welcoming for their own sake, regardless of outcome, causing pleasure and delight in the heat of the moment (Pg. 497). Inversely, Glaucon then describes extrinsic goods as desirable for their own results, as, for example, gymnastics and care of the sick, and in the case of justice, the reputation of being just, not actually being just (Pg 498). Consequently, Socrates responds by placing justice in the highest class of goods, believing that one pursues justice for its intrinsic rewards, since it's the ethical thing to do, while also seeking it for the extrinsic rewards, such as a promotion for ones just behavior.
This paper argues that Socrates makes a plausible case for justice. Socrates raised two main questions in the first two books of Plato’s Republic, what is justice? And why should we act justly? Thrasymachus and Glaucon both have different and more negative views of justice than Socrates. Throughout books one and two, Socrates, Glaucon and Thrasymachus go back and forth discussing the definition and application of justice in society. He starts his discussions with Glaucon and Thrasymachus by stating simply, “What is justice?”
In the Greek society, there was enough wine and spirits for Socrates and his buddies to philosophize on the world around them, beginning the conversation of what is just and not. Ideas transform throughout the conversations of Socrates, Adeimantus, and Glaucon in the Republic forming what justice is in the opinion of Socrates. This opinion, the city in speech, is challenged by Adeimantus and Glaucon but Socrates eloquently responds to their challenges. Socrates’ answers with his city of speech are effective against the challenges of Adeimantus and Glaucon because every human has a soul with decency that is almost impossible to deny.
In book IV Adeimantus wonders that except guardians who have the most power everyone seems happy in the city. According to Socrates in the city there is not such a duty to make rulers or guardians happy in fact their job is to provide justice and make citizen happy and do any necessary thing in order to live in honour and justice.
At first, Socrates is hesitant to respond to the challenge of Glaucon. After some time, Socrates reciprocates to Glaucon’s argument. He states that there are two kinds of justice: political justice, and
The Republic by Plato examines many aspects of the human condition. In this piece of writing Plato reveals the sentiments of Socrates as they define how humans function and interact with one another. He even more closely Socrates looks at morality and the values individuals hold most important. One value looked at by Socrates and his colleagues is the principle of justice. Multiple definitions of justice are given and Socrates analyzes the merit of each. As the group defines justice they show how self-interest shapes the progression of their arguments and contributes to the definition of justice.
Socrates describes virtue of the body (through gymnastics and medicine) as well as of the soul (through temperance and justice). Interestingly, Socrates's response here smacks of rhetoric and oration more than of dialogue, and his tone takes on a passion and urgency unusual even for him. This intense passion suggests the vital significance for him (and thus for Plato) of the topics in focus. The mythology of death Socrates relates at the dialogue's conclusion illustrates the importance of virtue both in this world and beyond.
Socrates, which recognizes that justice is an attribute of the good person, still sees Cephalus’ view as only possible with sufficient material wealth. Cephalus is not a reflective person, it is obviously suggested when he states that a person can satisfy the requirements of a just and good life by possessing the right disposition and equipped with adequate wealth. But that is all that his life experiences have shown him and unlike Socrates, Cephalus is not a man for whom unexamined life is not worth living. Therefore Socrates’ response to Cephalus is not a direct confrontation. Socrates comments that the value of talking to old men is that they may teach us something about the life they have traversed. They may tell us the benefits of old age, however, Plato exploits Cephalus’ account of old age to suggest that old age is not a source of wisdom. The wisdom and goodness which enables Cephalus to see his age as a beneficial state need not come with old age. To most men, as Cephalus recognizes, old age is a source of misery and resentment. Only those who have order and peace with themselves can “accept old age with equanimity.”
The position Thrasymachus takes on the definition of justice, as well as its importance in society, is one far differing from the opinions of the other interlocutors in the first book of Plato’s Republic. Embracing his role as a Sophist in Athenian society, Thrasymachus sets out to aggressively dispute Socrates’ opinion that justice is a beneficial and valuable aspect of life and the ideal society. Throughout the course of the dialogue, Thrasymachus formulates three major assertions regarding justice. These claims include his opinion that “justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger,” “it is just to obey the rulers,” and “justice is really the good of another […] and harmful to the one who obeys and serves.” Socrates
Socrates makes a few very strong refutes, which will be discussed later, and seems to dishearten the argumentative spirit of Thrasymachus. The argument begins to fall apart when he is forced to restate his main point. The restatement is that "ordinary morality is simply the behavior imposed by exploiter on exploited, and thus is 'someone else's interest' " (342 e). In this version of his original point, he also touches on a very important fact that, in everyday life, the pursuit of self-interest is natural and just. Thrasymachus depicts this point by undeniable fact that in a professional sense no one wants to work for free, and that they expect some benefits in their own interest for their efforts. After showing dissatisfaction with Socrates' refutation, Thrasymachus gives way to Glaucon who begins to argue for the benefits of injustice in everyday life.
Glaucon attempted to prove that injustice is preferable to justice. At first, Glacon agreed with Socrates that justice is a good thing, but implored on the nature of its goodness? He listed three types of “good”; that which is good for its own sake (such as playing games), that which is good is good in itself and has useful consequences (such as reading), and that which is painful but has good consequences (such as surgery). Socrates replied that justice "belongs in the fairest class, that which a man who is to be happy must love both for its own sake and for the results." (45d) Glaucon then reaffirmed Thrasymachus’s position that unjust people lead a better life than just people. He started that being just is