PHILO-120 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Polemarchus, Cephalus, Thrasymachus
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Intro to Philosophy
Reading: Republic 1 (Discussion of “Justice”/Virtue)
● Cephalus is a close model to “Justice” because he acquired a lot of money through hard
work, but is not obsessed with it.
● Not quite “Justice” yet because he talks about how “hope nurtures his soul and gives him
hope” Hope basically gives him hope for perhaps an afterlife not just for his sake but also
for some reward in the future.
● Polemarchus tells Socrates justice is: “Doing GOOD to friends and doing BAD to
● This argument isn’t good because it would spread more evil, and by doing evil to anyone,
it cripples the justice capacity.
● Thrasymachus believed that “Justice is the Interest of the stronger”. Whatever someone
in power does, as long as they do it for their own interests, it is justice.
○ For example, a CEO taking a maximum bonus is Just, because he’s doing it for
his own interests.
○ Socrates disarms the argument using analogy. He compares the art of governing
to medicine, among other things. The reason that an art like medicine exists is to
help the subject (the patient). It is in the best interest of medicine for the body to
■ Adds that the purpose of any art is to strengthen its subject. The subject of
the art of justice is people. It is in the best interest of justice to strengthen
people, therefore, justice cannot simply be the interest of the stronger. Arts
exists for their subjects, not for themselves.
● This argument isn’t good because a government must serve the best interests of its
people. If people under the rule are weakened and crippled, people might overthrow
government. If people are weak, the country/system will be weak. Want to strengthen all
people under rule in a just government.
● Socrates’ “Injury leads to Injustice” not always true because examples of Civil Rights
Movement and India’s Independence.
● ‘Apology’ comes from the Greek ‘apologia’, meaning ‘to speak in one’s defense.
● Plato’s Apology is Propreptic (speech designed to encourage or persuade)
● Instruct, encourage, persuade audience/readers to engage in Philosophy.
○ “For I go around doing nothing but persuading both young and old among you not
to care for your body or your wealth in preference to or as strongly as for the best
possible state of your soul, as I say to you: “Wealth does not bring about
excellence, but excellence makes wealth and everything else good for men, both
individually and collectively” (30a6-b1).
■ Why does excellence bring about wealth?
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