Philosophy 101 – the Republic
3 kinds of good
Intrinsically- desired for their own sakes, such as joy or harmless pleasure
Instrumentally and intrinsically good- they are both useful and desired for their own sakes, such
as knowledge and health
Instrumentally- not chosen for their own sakes, but because it’s necessary, such as medical
Glaucon believes that justice is strictly instrumentally good because he believes that all who
practice justice do so unwillingly.
Contract argument: injustice is good for one but bad for the other. Each person wants to do
injustice to another but does not want to suffer injustices. We create laws and the obedience to
these laws are called justice. This is called mutual restraint, which deters people from seeking
an advantage over their neighbour. Glaucon believes that restraining oneself is cause enough to
be considered a burden because humans naturally want to out-do their neighbour, if we had the
ability to do injustice to somebody without punishment, they would do it. We avoid breaking the
laws in order to not be punished and receive a bad reputation.
Ring of gyges: nobody would act justly if they had the ability to do injustice without punishment.
Nobody is willing to do justice, they are just compelled to do so.
Education and training of the guardians
Physical traits: keen senses, speed and strength
Psychological traits: courageous and spirited
Traditional views: people would study physical exercise for a sound boy, stud poetry, law and
music for a sound mind. Children were forced to memorize poems from Homer including the
Iliad’s and the Odyssey. Plato believed that this was the elementary way of teaching and offered
a new way:
Plato’s goal of correct education
The guardians should have an inculcation of moral values of piety, courage, temperance and
endurance. He believes that children are impressionable and the teachings must be supervised
in order to expunge pernicious passages
False theology: god’s are portrayed as hateful, criminal and deceitful beings who bring harm to
humans. Plato believes that the God’s should be portrayed in a positive way. To expunge stories
such as Oedipus Rex because it would give more incent to worship.
Issues of Role-models: God’s are virtuous and should only be portrayed in that way. Stories that
show gods as vicious or pernicious should be expunged. Stories that see God’s manifestation of
virtues should be expunged, like Achilles showing hatred when his cousin was killed. Depictions of the after-life: Plato believes that stories that portray death as a bad thing should
be expunged. People believe in Hades and the terrors of the underworld, rather they should
expunge these stories in order to make their guardians fearless in battle. These stories would
make the guardians malleable, causing them to fear death in battle.
Gold: the rulers of the city. They are 50 and older, studied in math and philosophy, and have
temperance. Rulers are the leaders of the society and are responsible for advancing the society
as a whole, not one part at the expense of another.
Silver/ auxiliaries: police and army personnel
Bronze/ iron: economic community and regular citizens
Principle of specialization: they believed that in order to build the perfect society, each person
should be an expert of their field. People would be distributed into classes based on talents.
Each person would have one job to practice for their life. People are naturally better at
something that they focus on solely rather than having a number of different jobs. The people