In Book I of Plato’s Republic (“What is Right Conduct,” pp 2-18) four different accounts of justice are proposed by Socrates’ interlocutors. Explain each account, as well as the response Socrates offers against each one. Which account, in your view, can be most effectively defended against Socrates’ response. Provide such a defense.
In this essay I will discuss four different classifications of justice that are proposed by Socrates’ interlocutors, Cephalus, Polemarchus, and Thrasymachus, as well as his rebuttal to each of their proclamations. A final section of this paper will be dedicated to how Polermachus’s outlook on justice, which is doing good to one’s friends and harm to one’s enemies, can most effectively be defended against Socrates’s response that it is unjust to harm anyone. This is because of Socrates’s inadequate dismissal of Polemarchus’s claim. Socrates offers an unclear definition of what causing harm is. Therefore, it can be presumed that specific types of harm such as constructive criticism and disciplinary punishment are deemed unjust when they actually can be efficient instruments in the formation of a just human being.
Book I of Plato’s Republic commences with the first account of justice which is proposed by Cephalus. Cephalus claims that the greatest good an elderly man can possess is a just consciousness(3).However, he offers an unclear understanding of justice, but through further clarification by Socrates, Cephalus’s outlook on justice becomes defined as being truthful and giving back what is owed (3). Before Cephalus can even ratify Socrates’s allegation of justice, he is interrupted by Polemarchus who claims he agrees with Cephalus’s assertion.
Socrates dismisses this argument by offering an insightful refutation. He evokes a hypothetical scenario, in which weapons are owed to a man who has gone insane (4). According to Cephalus’s presumed position on rightful conduct this act would be deemed just, but through the...