Thursday, July 13, 2006

Act: Dialogues concerning the definition of justiceScene: Polemarchus stops Glaucon and Socrates to talk, conversation takes place the house of Cephalus
Agent: Socrates, Cephalus, Polemarchus, Glaucon, Thrasymachus
Agency: preventing and refuting definitions
Purpose: seeking the meaning of the word justice
The dialogue starts with Glaucon and Socrates being stopped by Polemarchus who forces them to delay their return to the city so that he can talk to them. Glaucon and Socrates then go to Polemarchus’s father’s house (Cephalus’ house) where they begin a discussion about the definition of justice. Cephalus starts out by defining justice as “to speak the truth and pay your debts” (5). Cephalus is proved wrong almost instantly when Socrates gave the example that one should not give a friend back his arms if he has turned insane. Next, Polemarchus gives the definition of justice as “a friend ought always to do good to a friend and never evil” (5) which later became “give each man what is proper to him” (6). Once again Socrates refutes this definition by concluding that the “injuring of another can be in no case just” (10). Lastly, Thrasymachus tries to argue that justice is “the excellence of the soul” (29) and “imparts harmony and friendship” (26) and therefore is more profitable than injustice. If justice is what Socrates defined it as, than in a sense perfect justice would contribute to a utopian society, which can be defined as “a perfect society” (New Catholic Encyclopedia). If justice brings harmony and excellence of the soul than justice would bring perfection to society.

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