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Introduction to Plato's Republic

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Rebecca Kingston

Political Theory J Week 3: September 29 , 2010h Book I J dramatic setting, town of Pyraeus, city on outskirts of Athens, end of religious festival Socrates J wise man, friend to the old, someone whose company is sought out by the young Cephalus J preoccupied with sense of duty to the gods Polymarchus J friendship and personal loyalties are of paramount importance Glaucon J ]Loo]2L}L2KL79o}[Z}Z7Z]]7o]lZ}}} ] Thrasymachus J example of the Sophists, teachers of speech, basics of political influence hinged on ability to speak well, taught young people the art of speaking Introduction to themes of book: Book I tells us to acknowledge justice as a good (from Greek word dike J justice in a much broader sense: righteousness or goodness) - Has us thinking about the right sphere to thinking about justice - Implicit acknowledgement that in order to be fully just must be able to give a full account of justice o Knowing justice is to give a full, consistent, coherent account of what justice is Cephalus: - The defender of one particular world view, paying your debts to men and the gods, telling the truth o Fulfilling your duties and obligations as determined by human and religious laws Laws of commerce (pay your debts), laws of religion (pay your duties to the gods) - Represents an understanding of justice determined by rules and procedures o Just when do what the authority tells us and by respecting conventions - Has lack of theoretical reflection, can give no real full account of why he does what he does in any convincing way - Socrates suggests that his view has major defects o Stephanos notation (331c) o Socrates gives example of one who has given weapons to a friend who then goes insane, to return a weapon to an insane friend would not be just Objects to always repaying your debts Justice not always served by procedures and laws N Gap between demands of justice itself and rules established to promote justice
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