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How Is Justice Best

  • Date Submitted: 10/10/2011 06:42 PM
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Explain how Socrates proves that justice is best.

In Plato’s, “The Republic” book II-IV Socrates attempts to show what justice is and why it is best. In the beginning of Book II, Glaucon is left dissatisfied with the explanation of why justice is best and requests that Socrates provides an infinite definition of justice. Glaucon begins by giving the general view of justice; he says that being unjust can be advantageous, although people fear suffering injustice. He said that persons who practice justice do so unwillingly due to lack of power to do injustice. If one could be unjust without suffering any consequences they would. He shows this with an example of two men with an invisible ring, the men knowing that there is no threat of getting caught will fulfill all their immoral urges. Glaucon shows that being unjust is more advantageous; the man who appears to be just while attaining the benefits of injustice is often rewarded with wealth and a good reputation, unlike the man who is truly just (Book II 359a-360b). Glaucon and Adeimantus want Socrates to prove that justice is best in itself, and injustice is equally wrong.
Socrates suggests that they have been trying to find justice in a man, but perhaps if they search in a city which is larger it will be easier to discern and see if it exists in a similar form in the individual. To find justice he decides to build an ideal city from scratch and see how justice comes into existence. Socrates first introduces the needs of people needs such as; clothing, shelter and food. he says that people unite to form a city because the human body is not self-sufficient and so we rely on each other to fulfill mutual, the community comes together to provide each other with necessities. Specialization is brought up so that every man has a task which is best suited for him; he proposes a division of labor. After he has found the basic principle of the city he begins to build. Socrates begins with stage one of the search where the...


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