Socrates traveling with glaucon (platos brother)
Stopped by Adeimantus (platoes brother) go to Polemarchus’ house
Cephalus (Polemarchus father)
justice is living up to your legal obligations and being honest.
Socrates: returning a weapon to a madman. You owe the madman his weapon in
some sense if it belongs to him legally, and yet this would be an unjust act, since it would
jeopardize the lives of others. So it cannot be the case that justice is nothing more than
honoring legal obligations and being honest.
Polemarchus says justice means that you owe friends help, and you owe enemies harm.
(similar to Cephalus rendering to each what is due and of giving to each what is
Socrates: judgment concerning friends and enemies is fallible, this credo will lead
us to harm the good and help the bad. Incoherencies in harming people through justice.
Thrasymachus: Justice, he says, is nothing more than the advantage of the stronger. Just behavior
works to the advantage of other people, not to the person who behaves justly. Justice is a
convention imposed on us, and it does not benefit us to adhere to it
Socrates has three arguments to employ against Thrasymachus’ claim. First, he makes
Thrasymachus admit that the view he is advancing promotes injustice as a virtue. In this view,
life is seen as a continual competition to get more (more money, more power, etc.), and whoever
is most successful in the competition has the greatest virtue. injustice cannot be a virtue because
it is contrary to wisdom, which is a virtue. Injustice is contrary to wisdom because the wise man,
the man who is skilled in some art, never seeks to beat out those who possess the same art. The
mathematician, for instance, is not in competition with other mathematicians.
Understanding justice now as the adherence to certain rules which enable a group to act
in common, Socrates points out that in order to reach any of the goals Thrasymachus earlier
praised as desirable one needs to be at least moderately just in the sense of adhering to this set of
rules. (justice among theives
agreed that justice is a virtue of the soul, and virtue of the soul means health of the soul,
justice is desirable because it means health of the soul. Book II
Glaucon states that all goods can be divided into three classes:
1. things that we desire only for their consequences, such as physical training
and medical treatment;
2. things that we desire only for their own sake, such as joy;
3. highest class, things we desire both for their own sake and for what we get
from them, such as knowledge, sight, and health.
He says most people view justice as a necessary evil, Since we can all suffer from each other’s
injustices, we make a social contract agreeing to be just to one another. We only suffer under the
burden of justice because we know we would suffer worse without it. ring of gyges
The perfectly unjust life, he argues, is more pleasant than the perfectly just life. In making this
claim, he draws two detailed portraits of the just and unjust man. The completely unjust man,
who indulges all his urges, is honored and rewarded with wealth. The completely just man, on
the other hand, is scorned and wretched.
Adeimantus, breaks in and bolsters Glaucon’s arguments by claiming that no one praises
justice for its own sake, but only for the rewards it allows you to reap in both this life and the
afterlife. He reiterates Glaucon’s request that Socrates show justice to be desirable in the absence
of any external rewards: that justice is desirable for its own sake, like joy, health, and knowledge.
olitical justice—the justice belonging to a city or state—and individual—the justice of a
particular man. Since a city is bigger than a man, he will proceed upon the assumption that it is
easier to first look for justice at the political level and later inquire as to whether there is any
analogous virtue to be found in the individual.
foundational principle of human society: the principle of specialization. The principle of
specialization states that each person must perform the role for which he is naturally best suited
and that he must not meddle in any other business.
Socrates calls this city the “healthy city” because it is governed only by necessary desires. In the
healthy city, there are only producers, and these producers only produce what is absolutely
necessary for life. Glaucon looks less kindly on this city, calling it a “city of pigs.” He points out
that such a city is impossible: people have unnecessary desires as well as these necessary ones.
They yearn for rich food, luxurious surroundings, and art.
The next stage is to transform this city into the luxurious city, or the “city with a fever.” Once
luxuries are in demand, positions like merchant, actor, poet, tutor, and beautician are created. All of this wealth will necessarily lead to wars, and so a class of warriors is needed to keep the peace
within the city and to protect it from outside forces.
warriors, whom he calls “guardians.” It is crucial that guardians develop the right balance
between gentleness and toughness. They must not be thugs, nor can they be wimpy and
ineffective. Members of this class must be carefully selected—people with the correct nature or
innate psychology. Uses dog example its gentle to those it knows and harsh to those it doesn’t
First, the gods must always be represented as wholly good and as responsible only for what is
good in the world. If the gods are presented otherwise (as the warring, conniving, murderous
characters that the traditional poetry depicts them to be), children will inevitably grow up
believing that such behavior is permissible, even admirable. Second, the gods cannot be
represented as sorcerers who change themselves into different forms or as liars.
Adeimantus interrupts Socrates to point out that being a ruler sounds unpleasant. Since the ruler
has no private wealth, he can never take a trip, keep a mistress, or do the things that people think
make them happy. Socrates responds by reminding his friends that their goal in building this city
is not to make any one group happy at the expense of any other group, but to make the city as a
whole as happy as it can be. We cannot provide the guardians with the sort of happiness that
would make them something other than guardians. He compares this case to the building of a
statue. The most beautiful color in the world, he states matteroffactly, is purple. So if our
intention were to make the statue’s eyes as beautiful as possible, we would paint them purple.
Since no human being actually has purple eyes this would detract from the beauty of the statue as
a whole, so we do not paint the eyes purple.
lifestyle of the guardians. He tells the moneyloving Adeimantus that there will be no wealth or
poverty at all in the city since there will be no mone
without money cannot defend itself against invaders, but Socrates reminds Adeimantus that our
city will have the best warriors and points out that any neighboring city would be happy to come
to our aid if we promised them all the spoils of war.
We find wisdom first. Wisdom lies with the guardians because of their knowledge of how the
city should be run. If the guardians were not ruling, if it were a democracy, say, their virtue
would not translate into the virtue of the city. But since they are in charge, their wisdom becomes the city’s virtue. Courage lies with the auxiliaries. It is only their courage that counts as a virtue
of the city because they are the ones who must fight for the city. Moderation and justice, in
contrast to wisdom and courage, are spread out over the whole city. Moderation is identified with
the agreement over who should rule the city, and justice, finally, is its complement—the principle
of specialization, the law that all do the job to which they are best suited.