Book Review About The Republic

Category: Plato Republic
Last Updated: 03 May 2023
Essay type: Book Review
Pages: 2 Views: 94

In Book I of The Republic, Socrates challenges several of his friends in a conversation which "prospects for justice." Although I find the entire dialogue confusing and circumlocutory, I think that I might have a sense of what Socrates purpose is. It is obvious that Socrates' intentions are to provoke stimulating thought as well as learn for himself what it is others think of as justice. However, it seems to me that he is also tempting the others to reflect upon their own opinions and definitions of justice in a manner which will allow them to acquire a deeper knowledge on the topic. This secondary purpose is not to raze the opinions of his companions, in an effort to prevail himself in the debate, but to proceed in a process of deduction to arrive a satisfactory definition.

Socrates initiates the conversation by telling Cephalos, a very old man, that what he enjoys the most in his conversations is talking with old men because they have "traversed a long journey through life," one which he himself will have to traverse. He engages in queries with the old men to understand what the journey will be like. Cephalos intrigued Socrates when he related "justice to the transference from this world to the next. His statement of course gave Socrates the medium he needed to engage in this philosophical discussion.

I think that the conversation starts out fairly simple, referring to a just man as one who pays back what is owed. But, Socrates' method for resolving the question of justice seems to confuse the discussion and turn the meaning of the word backwards. His method throughout his entire dialogue is to break statements down piece-by-piece and word-by-word. He assimilates many examples to the topic at hand, which tends to twist the direction of the conversation. For example, Socrates and Polemarchos are discussing the definition of justice and Socrates poses a question: "...can the just make men unjust by justice?" Polemarchos replies by saying that the scenario is impossible. Socrates rebuts with the example that heat is not to make something cold, but exactly the opposite. He uses several non-relative examples such as this one in order to disprove the theory of the other. This is the reason that the conversation was so confusing. I don't think that every scenario can relate to the topic of justice as Socrates uses them.

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This method of conversation continues throughout Book I with a few others in the room. Overall, I understood Socrates' purpose of attempting to obtain a more deducted definition of justice. I also understood his method of relating the proposed definition to varied scenarios in life and nature, but I did not entirely agree with his method. I think that a little bit of it was far fetched for the topic at hand. Nevertheless, his method prevailed in narrowing the gap in definitions of justice as well as succeeded in making a few of his friends a little on-edge and a little more ill-tempered.

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Book Review About The Republic. (2023, May 03). Retrieved from

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