By Julia Annas
This interpretive creation offers special perception into Plato's Republic. Stressing Plato's wish to stimulate philosophical pondering in his readers, Julia Annas the following demonstrates the coherence of his major ethical argument at the nature of justice, and expounds similar innovations of schooling, human motivation, wisdom and knowing. In a transparent systematic model, this ebook indicates that smooth ethical philosophy nonetheless has a lot to profit from Plato's try to circulate the point of interest from questions of what acts the simply individual should practice to the extra profound questions of what kind of individual the simply individual must be.
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Additional resources for An Introduction to Plato's Republic
This, Plato thinks, can be met by a fairly short argument, and Socrates therefore counters it with the claim that money making is a separate skill and not part of any skill like ruling, so that rulers do not (qua rulers as Thrasymachus insisted ) rule 48 Book One in their own interests . This is all that is required to refu te the claim that j ustice is the interest of the stronger, and Socrates can now get down to dealing with the revealing formulation of Thrasymachus' view : j ustice is something in the interests of others, and therefore a mug's game.
The demand to get clear about what X is before d isc ussing various facts about X is one that is common in some ot her dialogues . In the Meno Socrates lays particular weight on this, and says that he cannot really tell whether virtue can be taught un til he knows what virtue is. But although Socrates is made to repeat the poin t dutifully about j ustice in the Republic, it doesn't seem to correspond to anything that he actually does . We could say that Books 2-4 are one long attempt to define j ustice or say what i t is ; but they are i ntroduced by Glaucon's demand that Socrates show that j ustice is something that we should want to have ; and at the end of Book 4 we are told that once you know what j ustice is, you can see that i t is something that you would want to have .
Similarly, Cephalus, whom most people think a j ust man, characterizes j ustice as performing a few basic duties like telling the truth , not deceiving people, and not keeping what is not you rs. The trouble in these cases is always the same : Socrates comes up with circumstances in which the supposed case of X is a case of the opposite, or else a case in which X is displayed in a radically opposed kind of situation. Euthyphro's action is pious for the reasons he gives ; but it is also impious because prosecuting your father is, in a strongly patriarcnal society like fifth-century Athens, impious.