1. What are the five definitions of justice in Book 1 of the
Republic, and how does Socrates rebut each of them?
Book 1 five definitions of justice:
1. Cephalus: Justice is giving people what you owe them
and not telling lies. Refuted by Socrates’ proposal that
one shouldn’t give borrowed weapons back to a mad
man because that would threaten society.
2. Polemarchus: To be just is to give what seems fitting
(give help to friends and harm to enemies). Refuted by
Socrates’ proposal that one’s judgment of friends and
enemies is not infallible, one might hurt those who are
good and help those who are bad.
3. Polemarchus: Justice is to give help to friends, if friends
are those who seem and are good (a just man wouldn’t
be capable of evil) and harm to enemies. To give what
seems and is good.
4. Thrasymachus: Justice is the stronger making law to
their advantage. Refuted by the suggestion that those
who rule do not always know what is best, so the
definition is self contradictory. Justice is the advantage
of the stronger.
5. Thrasymachus: Justice of the ruled is to obey the rules
made to the advantage of the stronger
2. What reasons does Thrasymachus give for saying that
injustice is more profitable than justice?
Just behavior works to benefit other people, not
the person who is just. Justice goes against man’s
natural tendency to always desire more. It doesn’t
benefit man to be just.
3. What is the myth of Gyges ring, and what point is it
supposed to make?
The myth suggests that any man, even the most
just man, would perform unjust actions if there was no
fear of repercussion. This suggests that no man is naturally just, and that to act just is a restraint.
Disproved by “prisoner’s dilemma.” Prisoner’s dilemma:
when a criminal is given the opportunity to reduce his
sentence should he provide sell out his accomplices,
while his accomplice is given the same opportunity, the
general trend in the experiment is for both to refuse to
sell out the other, which does not benefit the self, and is
the just thing to do.
4. What is the difference between the “city of pigs” and the
The city of pigs lacks luxury, but involves a
division of labor, whereas the feverish city constantly
looks to expand and become more powerful, or in other
words, the feverish city looks to constantly obtain
further luxury. The city of pigs looks only to satisfy the
needs of the people within the city. The feverish city
evolves from the city of pigs because people have
unnecessary desires that they will ultimately pursue. A
feverish city also requires a warrior class, which causes
instability. Odysseus (known for his wisdom and good
decisions) is asked whether he would rather live in a
luxurious city or a city of sows and he picks the city of
5. How does Socrates propose to prevent the warrior-
class in his city from dominating and oppressing the rest of
Socrates proposes that the soldiers should be educated in music in gymnastics. Gymnastics will make
them fierce warriors against their enemies and music
will make them gentle and caring towards the citizens
they protect. In addition, warriors should not own any
property or have a family but should be appeased by
being housed together in a beautiful palace. Warriors
were not allowed to know who their parents are
because they are supposed to be loyal to the whole
community rather than a specific family.
6. What problems arise because of the need for social
organization / functional differentiation?
The need for social organization and vocational
differentiation calls for a warrior class to maintain the
peace within the city and to protect it from outside
threats. The problem of stability arises when the warrior
class abuses their power, should they become greedy
and want material wealth. The problem of stability
arises when the internal structure of a society becomes
a threat to its own existence.
7. What is a noble