Socrates’ Examination of the City-State in Plato's Republic Essay

Socrates’ Examination of the City-State in Plato's Republic Essay

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Despite having no written works, Socrates remains one of the greatest and influential philosophers of all time. In Plato Republic, Socrates’ account for the origin of the city-state is a main concept. On a broad scale, Socrates views justice as the main relationship between the individual and the state. Moreover, Socrates also examines the nature of injustice in the city-state, which serves to explain his concern about the early moral education of the potential guardians. In Book II of Plato Republic, Socrates concern for the good of the souls of the potential guardians correlates to his argument for censorship in Books II and III. Undoubtedly, Socrates focus on the nature of injustice in the city-state, explains his understanding of the origin of the luxurious state. Overall, Socrates’ examination of the city-state in Plato Republic serves as the basis of his additional theoretical perspectives.

In Book II of Plato Republic, Socrates accounts the origin of the city-state. The rationale behind the conception of the city-state is to figure out how justice and injustice came to be. “If we could watch a city coming to be in theory, wouldn’t we also see its justice coming to be and its injustice as well” (Plato, 369). In doing so, Socrates hopes to construct a completely good, or ideal, polis or community. According to him, there are two kinds of political justice- the justice a city or state and justice of an individual. As, city is bigger than an individual, it is easier to define the justice of the former than latter. That way it is easier to look for political justice for a city, and then, later, look for similar virtues in the individuals of that city. To quote Socrates: “Since we aren’t clever people, we should adopt the meth...


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...tate their qualities in the future. He states that as guardians’ souls need tender care and nurturing, the desired results could only be achieved through censorship, which explains his statement about the censorship of Book II and III.

To put it in a nutshell, Socrates’s teaching, though debatable, still hold true. Even today, we are still unsure about many aspects of justice and injustice. Taking a closer look at Socrates’s theory on justice and how it could be empowered, can help us understand our laws and lives well. Through this essay, I have tried to understand some of the aspects of Socrates’s views on justice and injustice, and his idea of a model city which led to the formation of luxurious city. I believe that this kind of close analysis will help the readers to gain better understanding on political justice and its implications on citizens of the state.


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