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By Julia Annas

ISBN-10: 0198274289

ISBN-13: 9780198274285

This interpretive advent presents distinctive perception into Plato's Republic. Stressing Plato's wish to stimulate philosophical pondering in his readers, Julia Annas right here demonstrates the coherence of his major ethical argument at the nature of justice, and expounds similar recommendations of schooling, human motivation, wisdom and realizing. In a transparent systematic model, this publication indicates that glossy ethical philosophy nonetheless has a lot to benefit from Plato's try and circulation the point of interest from questions of what acts the simply individual should practice to the extra profound questions of what kind of individual the simply individual must be.

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He suggests (34ob6-8) a way that Thrasymachus can avoid the problem of reconciling h is two formulations, ( 1 ) j ustice is the interest of the stronger, and ( 2 ) j ustice is obeying the laws. According to Cleitophon, Thrasymachus meant by 'the interest of the stronger' simply 'what the stronger thinks is in his interest' , and adds, ' this the weaker must do, and that is what he defined the j ust to be' (Grube) . Cleitophon's suggestion sounds a bit nai"ve, but we can take it as an attempt to close the gap threatening to open between Thrasymachus' two formulations in terms of the stronger and of the ruler.

That is, are we meant to see him as holding a basically coherent position which he begins by formulating badly until he is prodded by Socrates into coming u p with a consistent formulation of i t ? Or are we meant to see him as fundamentally confused, and driven from pillar to post by Socrates' criticisms ? And if he does have a coherent view, which is it - the one he starts out with or the one he ends up with ? He claims, with a great deal of noisy rudeness, that j ustice is merely the advantage or interest of the stronger.

And one would expect him to be p utting forward his own candidate for what the essence of j us tice is, since it was Socrates' failure to do this that angered him before. Further, when he expands on his brief formula, he does so in a way suggesting that his analysis is a reductive one. At 338e-339a he says : Every govern­ ment sets up laws in its own interest. A democracy sets up laws of a democratic spirit, and analogously for oligarchies, 40 Book One tyrannies, and so on. In making these laws they declare that this is just for their subj ects, namely what is in their own interests, and they punish the man who transgresses them as a lawbreaker and unjust man .

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An Introduction to Plato's Republic by Julia Annas


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