Glaucon's Challenge and Plato's Theory of Justice in Plato's Republic Essay

Glaucon's Challenge and Plato's Theory of Justice in Plato's Republic Essay

Length: 1807 words (5.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Plato’s Republic focuses on one particular question: is it better to be just or unjust? Thrasymachus introduces this question in book I by suggesting that justice is established as an advantage to the stronger, who may act unjustly, so that the weak will “act justly” by serving in their interests. Therefore, he claims that justice is “stronger, freer, and more masterly than justice” (Plato, Republic 344c). Plato begins to argue that injustice is never more profitable to a person than justice and Thrasymachus withdraws from the argument, granting Plato’s response. Glaucon, however, is not satisfied and proposes a challenge to Plato to prove that justice is intrinsically valuable and that living a just life is always superior. This paper will explain Glaucon’s challenge to Plato regarding the value of justice, followed by Plato’s response in which he argues that his theory of justice, explained by three parts of the soul, proves the intrinsic value of justice and that a just life is preeminent. Finally, it will be shown that Plato’s response succeeds in answering Glaucon’s challenge.
Glaucon begins his argument to Plato by separating goods into three classes. The first class is composed of intrinsic goods that we welcome for our own sake, stripped of their consequences, such as happiness. The second class is the type of good that we like for our own sake as well as its consequences, such as health and knowledge. The third class is an extrinsic good that we desire only for their consequences, such as physical training and medical treatment. Plato believes that justice belongs in the second class of goods that we like because of itself and its consequences, while Glaucon suggests that it belongs in the third class of...


... middle of paper ...


...cting unjustly. Therefore, justice is determined to be intrinsically valuable from the negative intrinsic value of injustice that was demonstrated, as well as from parts of the soul working together correctly. Glaucon also wants Plato to show that a just life is better than an unjust life. It has been shown that when the soul is in harmony, it only acts justly. It is in a person’s best interests to have a healthy soul, which is a just soul, so that the person can be truly happy. This means that by showing justice has an intrinsic value, it can also be concluded that it is better to live a just life opposed to an unjust life. The conclusion that I have drawn is that Plato’s argument against the intrinsic value of injustice is sufficient to prove that the just life is superior, even if the unjust life may be more profitable.


Works Cited

Plato. Republic.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Republic Of Plato : A Life Of Justice Essay

- ... Thrasymachus finally yields his argument once Socrates comes to the conclusion that, because justice is a virtue of the soul, and any soul stripped of one of its core virtues could not possibly lead a happy life, then it is undoubtedly better to lead a just life. Because of this, "injustice, my dear Thrasymachus," says Socrates, "can never pay better than justice," (p. 39). The next challenge Socrates faces are those of Glaucon and Adeimantus. Glaucon presents his challenge first. He is a man who believes in justice, but he is not convinced that it is a virtue, rather that it is a necessary hardship that men impose on themselves....   [tags: Soul, Plato, Justice, Ethics]

Powerful Essays
2040 words (5.8 pages)

The On The Terms Of Goods And How Glaucon 's Definition Of Virtue Places It At The Lowest Category

- ... The account of justice that Glaucon describes is as a sort of social contract that people enter into. He explains that since the suffering experienced when someone acts unjustly exceeds the benefit that the one acting unjustly receives, they agree that neither will act unjustly. As a result, “people love [justice], not because it is a good thing, but because they are too weak to do injustice with impunity (Plato 359).” It naturally follows that if one had the power to do injustice with impunity, that person would not enter into the social contract....   [tags: Virtue, Ethics, Plato, Meaning of life]

Powerful Essays
1564 words (4.5 pages)

Plato's Republic Essay

- In reading the Republic, there is no reason to search for arguments which show that Platonic justice ('inner justice' or 'psychic harmony') entails ordinary justice. The relationship between inner justice and ordinary justice is of no importance in Plato's Republic. We note that Plato tries to argue from the very first book that the true source of normativity lies in knowledge attained by philosophical reason. What is crucial, then, is the relationship between inner justice and acts which brings about a just polis....   [tags: Philosophy Justice Plato Papers]

Powerful Essays
4423 words (12.6 pages)

Essay about Analysis of "Republic"

- Philosophy is a Greek word meaning "love of wisdom." Throughout Plato's Republic, wisdom plays an important role. According to Plato, education is wisdom and all of our knowledge is not acquiring information, but remembering it from the past. He felt that wisdom is a skill that comes to us naturally as we are just removing the veil of ignorance. His search for the true meaning of justice leads to a discussion with his peers of education and what part it should play in the ideal state that they have developed....   [tags: World Literature]

Powerful Essays
1362 words (3.9 pages)

Plato 's View Of Justice Essay

- ... Three parts of the city are connected with a virtue. Guardians have the virtue of wisdom, auxiliaries have the virtue of bravery, and workers have the virtue of moderation. Hence, a harmonious city. Thus, the three parts of the city correspond to the parts of the soul the rational, spirited and appetitive part. Aristotle gives credence to the concept that all arts aim at some good even if desired for the sake of something else. There is an ultimate result that we want for its own sake rather as means to an end; the highest good....   [tags: Ethics, Virtue, Plato, Nicomachean Ethics]

Powerful Essays
952 words (2.7 pages)

The Republic Essay

- 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....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
1916 words (5.5 pages)

The Republic of Plato Essay

- In Book one of the Republic of Plato, several definitions of justice versus injustice are explored. Cephalus, Polemarchus, Glaucon and Thracymicus all share their opinions and ideas on what actions they believe to be just, while Socrates questions various aspects of the definitions. In book one, Socrates is challenged by Thracymicus, who believes that injustice is advantageous, but eventually convinces him that his definition is invalid. Cephalus speaks about honesty and issues of legality, Polemarchus explores ideas regarding giving to one what is owed, Glaucon views justice as actions committed for their consequences, and Socrates argues that justice does not involve harming anybody....   [tags: Cephalus, Polemarchus, Glaucon]

Powerful Essays
1279 words (3.7 pages)

Justice In Plato's The Republic Essay

- Justice In Plato's The Republic Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote “One man’s justice is another’s injustice.” This statement quite adequately describes the relation between definitions of justice presented by Polemarchus and Thrasymachus in Book I of the Republic. Polemarchus initially asserts that justice is “to give to each what is owed” (Republic 331d), a definition he picked up from Simonides. Then, through the unrelenting questioning of Socrates, Polemarchus’ definition evolves into “doing good to friends and harm to enemies” (Republic 332d), but this definition proves insufficient to Socrates also....   [tags: Plato Republic Justice Philosophy Essays]

Powerful Essays
999 words (2.9 pages)

Justice in Plato's Republic Essays

- Justice in Plato's Republic Justice. What is justice. In this world where many people look out only for themselves, justice can be considered the happiness of oneself. But because selfish men do not always decide our standards in society, to find a definition, society should look at the opinions of many. Just as in the modern society to which we live, where everyone feels justice has a different meaning, the society of Plato also struggled with the same problem. In this paper, I will look into the Republic, one of the books of Plato that resides heavily on defining an answer to the meaning of Justice, and try to find an absolute definition....   [tags: Papers Justice Plato Republic Essays]

Free Essays
971 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Plato's Republic

- Plato's Republic In Plato’s Republic, Glaucon is introduced to the reader as a man who loves honor, sex, and luxury. As The Republic progresses through books and Socrates’ arguments of how and why these flaws make the soul unhappy began to piece together, Glaucon relates some of these cases to his own life, and begins to see how Socrates’ line of reasoning makes more sense than his own. Once Glaucon comes to this realization, he embarks on a path of change on his outlook of what happiness is, and this change is evidenced by the way he responds during he and Socrates’ discourse....   [tags: Plato Republic Glaucon Essays]

Powerful Essays
1033 words (3 pages)