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The Republic Study Guide.doc

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Boston College
ENGL 1010
Laura Sterrett

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 “feverish city”? 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 sows immediately 5. How does Socrates propose to prevent the warrior- class in his city from dominating and oppressing the rest of the city? 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
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