Essay on Socrates 's ' The Ring Of Gyges And Adeimantus Challenge Socrates '

Essay on Socrates 's ' The Ring Of Gyges And Adeimantus Challenge Socrates '

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In order to observe justice completely, Glaucon and Adeimantus challenge Socrates by saying it is better to be unjust than just. To defend himself, Socrates explains that they must look at justice in a city before they can understand justice in man. By defending justice, Socrates constructs an imaginary city, which internally happens to be a parallel to the tripartite soul, to gain a better understanding of justice as a whole.
Although Glaucon does not agree with Thrasymachus’ idea that being unjust is more advantageous than being just, he sides with this argument for Socrates to be able to come to a conclusion in the face of an opposition. Glaucon brings the tale of the ring of Gyges to Socrates attention, wagering that no man can withstand the temptations of acting unjustly when they know there are no repercussions. Glaucon wants to know how justice can be intrinsic, forcing Socrates to fight for the just man, even when it appears that the unjust man lives a better life. Analyzing justice on a larger scale, Socrates begins the task of constructing an imaginary city: the just city.
To start the city, there needs to be people to specialize in providing the necessities of life: food, shelter, and clothing. It is noted that men are unique, having special talents that would benefit the city if they only performed one task for the all the members, rather than each task for themselves. After the necessities are satisfied, the city sees major growth. Craftsmen are needed to make tools for the farmers, housebuilders, weavers, and shoemakers. The city will continue to grow to the point where commerce with others is essential, bringing forth a need of merchants to take part in these trades. These tradesmen, laborers, and mercha...


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...his lie, peace is maintained because everyone knows where they belong.
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Now that Socrates has completed his creation of the just city, he relates it to the soul. The human soul is made up of the same three characteristics the city entertains. The merchants and laborers symbolize the appetitive nature of the soul, which revolves around materialistic matters. The auxiliary, who are known for their honor and spiritedness, are associated with the spirited section of the soul. The calculative, or contemplative, part of the soul is held at the highest regards because it is relative to wisdom and knowledge. Plato emphasizes that for the soul to be intact and “perfect,” each section must work together. This is exactly how it must be in the city. When all three classes perform its part, there is harmony. This is when true justice exists in the city.

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