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The Socratic definition of justice in the state and in the individual.

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How does Socrates define justice in Plato's Republic? I am having a hard time understanding his line of argument. How does his definition of justice of the individual relate to his argument for justice in the state?

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* In short, Socrates believes that justice in the state is only achieved when everyone does what they are best suited to do. In this way Socrates is convinced that all the needs of the people in the state will be attained in the best possible fashion.

*Socrates is certain that imagining how a utopian state (i.e. the Republic) would function - in effect, looking at how this virtuous state would be achieved - will help to shed light not only on what makes a virtuous state, but also (and some might argue, most importantly) on why justice is intrinsically important to the making of a virtuous individual.

*Socrates leads those around him in a type of 'cross-examination' in which he makes them think critically about the consequences of their own opinions on what justice is.

* Look carefully at what speakers such as Cephalus, Polemarchus, and Thrasymachus say about justice. (Book 1) They are all convinced that the question of justice is easily defined with quick, concise and short answers. How does Socrates reply? It is here that the Socratic method becomes clear. In general, Socrates' method is one that forces people to re-think their position. It is for this reason that some people described Socrates as a trouble maker.... Is that really a fair description of his approach if it leads to people critically assessing their own opinions on such important issues (i.e. what is justice?), and why it is so often considered the highest virtue of good character?

* Book 1, then, provides various opinions of what justice is, and how it can be realized.

*Since Book 1 leaves the reader (and Socrates!) feeling 'completely in the dark' about what justice is. Book 2, then, re-opens the discussion for further examination. Glaucon and Adeimantus demand that Socrates look further into the problem. In short, they ask Socrates to prove that justice is intrinsically good, not simply an extrinsic reward.

*Look closely at definitions of 'Intrinsic goods' and 'Extrinsic goods'. This is very important because it provides the foundation for Socrates' argument. If justice is merely an 'extrinsice' good ...

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