In Book II, Glaucon tries to reinforce the challenge to justice that Socrates must meet in the remainder of the book. He argues that justice is the sort of good that is only desired for its consequences, not for its own sake. Justice, he claims, is a necessary evil that human beings endure out of fear and weakness. Given the chance to escape reprisals, though, any human being would choose to be unjust rather than just.
In order to illustrate this point, Glaucon appeals to the Ring of Gyges. According to mythology, this ring has the special power to make its possessor invisible. If such a man were able to behave unjustly with impunity—as he could if he were invisible—then he would do so. Glaucon himself does not believe that justice is a necessary evil; he thinks that it is the highest form of good, the sort that is desired both for its own sake and for its consequences.
His wish is that Socrates provide a compelling argument to this effect. Why does Plato go to such lengths to prove that there are three distinct parts to the human soul? Explain both why he needs three aspects to the soul, and also why these aspects need to be distinct and independent from one another. Plato defines political justice as being inherently structural. A society consists of three main classes of people—the producers, the auxiliaries, and the guardians; the just society consists in the right and fixed relationships between these three classes.
Each of these groups must do the job appropriate to it, and only that job, and each must be in the right position of power and influence in relation to the others. Since its first appearance, the Republic has traditionally been published in ten books, probably from its having been so divided into ten "books" in its manuscript form. In order to clarify its argument, this Note further subdivides those ten books in its discussion. Socrates' method of engaging conversations with his fellow citizens has come to be known in history as the Socratic Dialectic or the Socratic Method , and its method of pursuing a given truth is still adopted by many university and public school teachers to the present day.
It is the method that Plato adopted for the Republic and for all of his Dialogues conversations. Socrates' and Plato's method of opening a dialogue is in almost every instance to pose a question of meaning to ask for a definition of a term or terms for the sake of forming up a logical argument.
For example, Socrates might ask at the outset of a dialogue: And then Socrates might ask for examples of courageous, or virtuous, or honest behavior; or he might ask for analogues things similar to those things.
Thus Socrates conversed with the young men of Athens, young men who were apparently disenchanted with their teachers whom their parents had hired and who apparently did not know as much as Socrates knew. But Socrates, who some claimed to be the wisest man, claimed to know nothing except that every person should carefully determine what he thinks he knows.
He said that the unexamined life is not worth living. He taught that men claimed to come to wisdom through poetry and argument and music, when it was plain that they did not even know what they were doing. And he also taught that politicians claimed to serve justice and to sit in judgment on their fellow citizens when at the same time those same politicians and "leaders" of the state could not even define justice and might, in fact, be said to be culpable guilty of certain injustices perpetrated against their fellow citizens.
Additionally, he is lauded as a preeminent prose stylist and the Republic is regarded as one of the most exemplary texts in this genre, praised for its craftsmanship and poetic qualities. A citizen of Athens, Plato was born in approximately b. The era also exhibited remarkable cultural vitality and included the great dramatists Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, of whom Plato was a younger contemporary. Plato was descended from a distinguished family of statesmen; his mother's cousin Critias and his maternal uncle Charmides, both portrayed in eponymous dialogues, belonged to the Thirty Tyrants, the oligarchs who ruled Athens in cooperation with Sparta after the Peloponnesian War.
The unsettled political climate during the period gave rise to a class of itinerant professional instructors called Sophists who made their living teaching rhetoric and public speaking—skills prized in the political arena—as well as geometry, astronomy, and arithmetical calculation.
Socrates—whom the young Plato met while the elder Athenian discoursed in the streets and homes of the city on topics related to the virtuous life—objected to the aims of the Sophists, asserting that they manipulated language for their own ends, obfuscating and confusing in order to succeed in argumentation, rather than elucidating and searching for truth.
Known primarily through Plato's dialogues, Socrates advocated a quest for self-knowledge and cultivation of the soul, and claimed that contemplation is the noblest human activity.
Plato's own career as a writer spanned the greater part of his life. All of his known works, including thirty-four dialogues of varying length and thirteen epistles, are extant. Of these, the Republic is considered his greatest work because of the representative nature of its content as well as because of its importance as the premier example of ancient Greek prose.
Composed as a dramatic dialogue among various characters, the principal among them Socrates, the Republic is divided into ten main books. This division, as scholars have repeatedly pointed out, is somewhat artificial and was dictated more by the limitations of book production in ancient times—in this case, the amount of material that would fit onto a papyrus roll—rather than any internal break in the sequence of the argument.
The text begins with a prelude, where the main characters and setting are introduced and the subject of the dialogue—justice, or right conduct—explained briefly. In addition to Socrates, who is the main narrator of the dialogue, other characters include Glaucon and Adeimantus, elder brothers of Plato, and Polemarchus, a resident of Athens at whose house the conversation takes place.
Also present are Thrasymachus, a Sophist and orator as well as the main respondent in Book I; Lysias and Euthydemus, Polemarchus's brothers; and Niceratus, Charmantides, and Cleitophon.
Ostensibly a discussion about the nature of justice, expounded on first by Thrasymachus, who states the Sophist position that justice and its related conventions are rules that were imposed on society by those in power, the rest of the dialogue is mainly a response from Socrates to this statement. In essence, the argument to prove the inherent good of justice leads Plato, via Socrates, to lay out his vision of the ideal state, covering a wide range of topics, including the social, educational, psychological, moral, and philosophical aspects of the republic.
The main intention of the Republic is to define the principles that govern an ideal society. In doing so, Plato touches upon many important ideas about education, ethics, politics, and morality in this text. Scholars have pointed out that the main argument of the Republic is partly a response to the political unrest and instability Plato witnessed in contemporary Athenian society.
Following the end of the Peloponnesian War, Athens became a democracy of sorts, led mostly by laymen, who, in Plato's view, tended to implement policies based more on popular demand rather than necessity or principle. In the context of this premise, Plato touches upon several major issues, focusing the most significant discussions on the nature and definition of ethics, education, and the organization of society and politics, as well as religion and philosophy.
Plato employs his famous allegory of the cave to illustrate how mankind learns and can be mislead by the manner in which he learns. Plato's preferred educational system strictly controls the upbringing of the ruling class in order to help them differentiate between appearance and reality and form correct views.
He advocates the study of mathematics and abstract ideas rather than art, music, or literature because the latter deal with representation of ideas, not ideas themselves; he even goes so far as to advocate censorship of art, when necessary, in the service of proper education.
Another powerful focus in the Republic is the discussion of justice. Responding primarily to the Sophists' position, that morality is important only because of the social and personal consequences that follow, Plato contends that morality and justice are key components of an ideal society and that they must underlie all areas of human interaction.
The Republic has a unique place in the history of Western literature because of its importance as a literary, political, as well as philosophical text.
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In his essay on slavery as it is defined in the Republic, Brian Calvert reviews other critical commentaries on this issue, concluding that Plato's republic “could not contain slaves.”.
The Republic Plato The Republic literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Republic. Free Essay: Plato creates a seemingly invincible philosopher in The Republic. Socrates is able to refute all arguments presented before him with ease. The.
Free Essays from Bartleby | In the Republic of Plato, the philosopher Socrates lays out his notion of the good, and draws the conclusion that virtue must be. Free Essay: In Plato's Republic, Socrates goes to great lengths to explain and differentiate between the ideas of opinion and knowledge. Throughout society.