Thursday, July 13, 2006

Burke's Pentad

Act: Debate/Conversation regarding justice
Purpose: Understanding and defining justice
Scene: Cephalus' house during the age of philosophizing
Agent(s): Socrates and company
Agency: Logical analysis

Although Burke's pentad theory seems to imply that each individual person who witnesses a "drama" take place may interpret it differently, I even see the drama in Book 1 of The Republic in many different lights, even when most of the factors of the pentad remain the same. Although the scene, the act (debating/conversing), and the agents are fairly certain, it is the purpose of the drama that I'm not sure about. This debate could be a practical approach to increasing justice in society, a speculative philosophical conversation motivated purely by curiosity, or nothing more than selfish attempts by Socrates and Thrasymachus to elevate their own egos.

The conversation between Thrasymachus and Socrates is especially interesting, because while Thrasymachus definitely raises illogical points and then nearly refuses to consent to Socrates' proofs when they logically contradict his, Socrates even admits at the end of the book that his inability to resist side-points caused him to lose track of his purpose of defining justice. If he only wanted to seek the definition of justice he might've refrained from pursuing other side-topics, but maybe his own desire to refute the points of others and raise his philosophical status was his purpose all along.

I don't believe this book represents utopia for a few reasons. Primarily, I think talking accomplishes nothing without action, and all these dudes do is talk. In a utopian society these people would be experimenting with different forms of justice instead of just speculating about its definition. Also, when I envision a utopian society I see it as devoid of individuals who could possible believe that unjust people were full of wisdom and happiness. Just my personal belief, but in my utopia I'm kicking guys like that out.


Blogger Erin said...

I totally agree about how people of a utopian society would actually do something to find what justice is and how it could improve their society. Simply sittting around discussing it with no farther action doesn't improve anything.

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