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Political Science
David Carvounas

Reading Summary By Students of POL200University of Toronto Reading summary 200 Page 1 Plato Book IDecember0711302 PMConversation between Socrates Polymarmarchus and CephalusSocrates and Cephalus discuss the burden of the old ageCephalus while these burdens are eased by wealth it is peoples character and habits that really determine whether or not their lives are hard to bearnot their age Wealth is important mostly because it reduces the likelihood that someone will be tempted into being unjust because he is poor and so lessens his fear of what will happen to him after his dies What justice is Cephalus speaking the truth and paying ones debtThrasymachus justice is the advantage of the strongerVirtueSocrates virtue is a craft of techneSocrates asking Cephalus about the old age and how it is different from being youngCephalussome complain about the old ageas they lost the pleasure of drinking parties sex and more and they get angry as if they had lived well then but are now hardly living Some moan about the abused bestowed upon themand because of these or the mentioned saying they think old age is the cause of many devils But i dont think so they blame the real cause If the old age were really the cause then i would have suffered the same way and so does everyone in my age Once someone asked the poetSophocleshow are you as far as sex goes The poet replied I am very glad to have escaped from all that like a slave who has escaped from a savage and tyrannical master Old age bring peace and freedom from all such things in all these matters the real cause is not the old age but the way people live If they are moderate and content while they are young the old age is also the same Cephalus answered to the questionmajority of people dont agree they think that you bear old age more easily not because of the way you live but because you are wealthy by acknowledging this fact and continued that there is something in what they say though not as much as they think He said the story ofThemistoclesa fifth century Athenian statesman when someone from Seriphusthe city insulted him by saying that his high reputation is was due to his city and not to himself he replied that had he been a Sriphian he wouldnt be famous but neither would the other even if he had been an Athenianthe same applies to those who are not rich and find old age hard to bear A good person would not easily bear old age if he were poor but a bad one wouldnt be at peace with himself even if he were wealthy Cephalus suggest that if one having wealth is most valuable not for every man but for a decent and orderly one Wealth can do a lot to save us from having to cheat or deceive someone against our will and from having to depart for that other place in fear because we owe sacrifice to a God or money to a person It has many other uses but benefiti would say that this is how it is most useful to a man of any understanding JusticePolymarchus insisted that definition of justice is to speak the truth and repaying what one has borrowed if needed as Simonides said Socrates suggested that it is not just to give to someone what one owes to him while that person is totally out of his mind But Polymarchus believed it is justices Simonidesa lyric poet believed that definition of justice is when you give back what you owe and tell the truth Polymarchus suggests that justice gives benefits to friends and does harm to enemies After socrates give different examples of Ship captain and doctors who are able to do good and bad for their friends and enemies andif they have patience or sailors they can do justice otherwise their justice is useless he questioned if justice is useful for getting and using in peacetime and polymarchus answered for contractsand by contracts he meant partnership So Socrates people often make mistakes about believing many people to be good and useful when they are not and making the opposite mistake about enemies And he concludes that it is not the function of a just person to harm a friend or anyone else rather is the function of his opposite an unjust personReading summary 200 Page 2 of his opposite an unjust person Thrasymachus believe that justice is the advantage of the stronger And he gave examples of cities where rulers are aristocratic tyrannical or democratic who makes their laws for their own advantage And they for their advantage are just to their subjects So he argued that it is the advantage of the establishers since the established rulers are strongerSocrates believed thatno craft man ever makes errors such as doctor or accountant if his knowledge fails him that he makes an error and in regard to that error he is no craftsman Also he suggests that no other craft seeks its own advantage for it has no further needs but the advantage of that of which it is the craft No kind of knowledge seeks or orders what is advantageous to itselfthen but what is advantageous to the weaker which is subject to it As example no doctor seeks what is advantageous to himself but what is advantageous to his patient And he concluded that no one in any position of rule in so far as he is a ruler seeks or orders what is advantageous to himself but what is advantageous to his subjects the ones of whom he is himself the craftsman It is to his subjects and what is advantageous and proper to them that he looks and everything he says and does he says and does for them No craft or rule provides for its own advantage but for its subject and aims at its advantage that of the weaker not the stronger Glaucan believe that life of just person is better and not convinced by the idea that Thrasymachus says that unjust gets more than what just person does Socrates a just person outdoes only those who are unjust but an unjust person outdo both just and unjust A just person islike clever and good and unjust person is like ignorant and bad oneFinally justice is virtue and wisdom and injustice is vice and ignoranceInjustice has the power First to make whatever it arises inwhether it is a city family army or anything else incapable of achieving anything as a unit because of the civil wars and differences it createsAnd second it makes that unit an enemy to itself and to what is in every way it is opposite namely justice Socratesby nature the very same effect of injustice is on human being as wellMake him incapable of achieving anything because he is in a state of civil war and not of one mindIt makes him his own enemy as well as the enemy of just people Socratesso since God is justice and unjust person is the enemy of God while the just person is his friend The function of each thing to which a particular function is assigned also have a virtue Such as souls virtue is to keep us alive and it will not perform its function if it is deprived of its own peculiar virtue And a bad soul rules and takes care of things badly and a good soul does all these things as well So he they agreed that justice is a souls virtues and injustice is its vice A just soul and a just man will live well while unjust one badly A just person is happy and unjust person wretched And living wretched doesnt profit anyone So injustice is never more profitable than justice Socrates at the end of Book I says i know nothingfor when I dont know what justice is I will hardly know whether it is a kind of virtue or not or whether a person who has it is happy or unhappyReading summary 200 Page 3
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