The Republic written by Plato examines many things. It mainly is about the Good Life. Plato seems to believe that the perfect life is led only under perfect conditions which is the perfect society. Within the perfect society, there would have to be justice. In the Republic, it seems that justice is defined in many different ways. In this paper, I am going to discuss a few. First I am going to discuss the reason why Glaucon and Adeimantus see justice as being a bad thing and it is better to live an unjust life.
Plato’s elder brother Glaucon argues that the just man is only just because of the fear that he will get caught and punished or the fear of having bad reputations. He explains this decision in the story of the two magic rings. The rings of magic would make a man invisible whenever he turns it on his finger. He believed that each man would act in the same manner.
They would both break into houses unseen, and help themselves to whatever they wanted. The just man would no longer feel the need to be just. He would have two lifestyles one, being just in front of the eyes of the society and two being the unjust man invisible unable to get caught. Glaucon says this proves that people are just only because they find it necessary.
Adeimantus another philosopher and Socrates elder brother brought up the fact that we should take a look at the kinds of things people actually say when they get praised justice and condemn injustice. Adeimantus explains by saying that fathers tell their sons to be just because of the good reputations and social prestige that attaches to justice.
So it is not justice itself that is recommended, but rather, the respectability that it brings with it. He believes that the son will realize to be just is only worth it if you can get a good reputation. Unless you are truly just the gods will punish you but as we have learned from the poets the gods can be bribed so if you live an unjust life you can bribe the gods to not punish you.
If an unjust person fakes a good reputation then he can have a wonderful life. He says to live a wonderful life because the unjust man is said to live a better life because he could cheat and live well but a just man has to live with what he has or earn his wealth honestly.
Glaucon’s points of justice as I see them are fake and unclear. He says that if a just person were to have a magic ring then he would act as a true unjust person because there is no fear of punishment. If he was truly a just person then he would not be unjust even if there was no fear of punishment. I define a truly just man on his spirit and intentions if he is only being just because of fear of punishment then he is not just nor if he is only being just if he desires a good reputation.
A man to be truly just must desire and get his pleasure on living with what he has earned fairly and helped others around him. Glaucon keeps arguing that the unjust man lives a better life because he has the power and the wealth to boss the just man around and bribe the gods so he does not get punished by them.
Socrates goes on to say that life and surroundings are what make up a just person. A just person should be educated and trained on what is right and wrong. The quality of justice is to be found in society.
If a society is unjust there cannot be a just man coming out of the society because all he is taught is to be unjust. I agree that a just man must be educated and trained to tell what is right and wrong. I disagree with Socrates’ point that a just man is solely educated by the society around him. I believe that a just man is not educated solely by society but rather educated by his parents and family and only barely influenced by society.
Therefore a just man can come out of a unjust city and live to learn the honest life
Adeimantus point of the father telling the son to be just only because it will give you a good reputation cannot be true you cannot be just for those reasons they do not match up with the points Socrates points out when he said the quality of a just man is learned by the society.
Since a just man is influenced by his parents the parents must be just. If they are telling their son to only be just because of the fact it will give you a good reputation then the parents are not just therefore the boy cannot be truly just. Socrates’ point of the quality of the just is brought up in this story Adeimantus gives.
The poets told us that we can bribe the gods so it does not matter if we are just or unjust as long as we have the wealth to bribe our way out of punishment. This is the bad education taught by the poets it represents all that the just state is against. We should not have the option to bribe the gods with our wealth to not be just that makes a false city.
The Republic is a book that showed views of justice and questions of justice. Justice is the better way to live your life. The just life is the most fulfilling life because it is spiritually happy with yourself. It is also the closeness with God and the feeling that helping others is all you need for pleasure in your life.
So to give my final conclusion you must learn from your parents the ways to make your decision in your life and test what you have learned out on the society.