The Republic

Powerful Essays
Most normal individuals in the modern world would assume that all books written, not published, by man are based on either a portion of the author’s imagination, an event (biased or non-biased) in either history or during the life of the author, a straight-out autobiography, or a generalized biography of another person they once knew. However, this philosophical novel fits none of the descriptions above. The book is actually an in-depth recording of a philosophy contest between Plato’s teacher Socrates and several other great philosophers. What is significant about this contest is that, in it, Socrates describes his personal view of a “perfect world,” and why justice is so important in the process of creating a civilized world.The novel was completed in 370 B.C., and it describes a strong debate between Socrates and five other speakers.

The two main arguments that he illustrates in this novel are that a ruler cannot obtain more power than the state, and that a philosopher is best suited to rule a nation since he has the ability to maintain this balance. Also, Socrates claims that only the philosopher has traveled beyond the “cave” of worldly desires and temptations to discover what justice really is. Socrates’ first major argument is with Thrasymachus in Book I. The current debate lies on the pure definition of justice. Thrasymachus claims that there is only one principle of justice: the interest of the more dominant force. Socrates counters this argument by using the phrase “the stronger.” He claims that the ruler of a nation will not be aided, but harmed, by an unintentional command, in the long run.

Socrates then builds his argument gradually by stating that the good and just man looks out for the interest of the weaker, and not for himself. Thrasymachus tries to counter Socrates’s argument by vaguely proclaiming that injustice is more gainful than justice.However, Socrates bravely explains that the just man will live happily because he has a just soul, and the man with the unjust soul lives in poverty; therefore, injustice can never be greater than justice. At this point in the novel I saw Thrasymachus’s flaw and also the reason why Socrates has silenced Thrasymachus. Injustice, in my opinion, may be better as a short-term plan for pleasure, but in the long run the unjust man will be condemned by just men of his evil deeds, thus leading to his downf...

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...nally, Socrates points out that, in his perfect State, philosophers will always have the advantage over other types of rulers because they have wisdom and knowledge, which gives them the ability to govern justly and wisely. In my opinion, Socrates’s perfect State sounded plenty like the scenario progressing in the debate. Socrates, since he is a great philosopher, had the advantage over everyone because he was wise and intelligent in his arguments; therefore he obviously knew more about justice than anyone else. So, in conclusion, Socrates won the debate on the definition of justice.

The reason for this is because Socrates, as stated before, had the wisdom and knowledge to analyze, in the most descriptive way, what justice really is. Glaucon and the others lacked what Socrates had, and so they could not support their arguments as well as Socrates could. I really liked this novel a lot because I am a lover of philosophy and understanding. However, I must admit that some of Socrates’s arguments were redundant and besides the point. But other than this crucial flaw, the book showed great insight, and Socrates created a vivid description about what justice means to the modern world.
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