Thursday, July 13, 2006


Act: Discussing the definition of justice
Scene: The ultimate societal question
Agent: Socrates and the other philosophers
Agency: Philosophical debates and persuasion through analogy
Purpose: Desire for truth and knowledge

The dramatic situation in Book 1 of The Republic is, in my eyes, the debate taking place centering on the true definition of justice. Basically, Socrates and the other philosophers are searching for a perfect definition of justice, which they consider one of man’s most worthy pursuits. Their search for a definition of justice involves lengthy debates and extended analogies, and is fueled by their desire to further themselves intellectually.

Eventually, their debates lead to other questions regarding justice, such as “is it just to do good to our friends when they are good and harm to our enemies when they are evil,” “is justice merely the interest of the stronger,” and “do the unjust enjoy a better quality of life than the just?” While the philosophers do employ the use of “perfect” just or unjust people for their examples, I do not believe that they are referring to a utopia. The only reference that is even remotely close is when they discuss the perfectly just man. Overall, I think that Book 1 is mainly focused on justice vs. injustice and not really at all on utopia.


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