John Vlahos
Professor Ryan McElhaney
Philosophy 102
May 10, 2017
Republic 1 takes pl ace in the ancient city of Pirae us , where Socrates and his friend Glaukon went to observe the celebration devoted to the Gods . After the celebration ended, Socrates and his friend started to heed towards Athens. Then Polemarchos made them to further stay and accept his hospitality. Once at his house, a dialogue began , initially with Pomarchos's father and then with P olemarchos itself , where they tried to establish a definition of justice. Polemarchos adopts his father definition of justice; namely justice is to be truthful always and to return everything that is owed to someone else. This definition accordin g to Polemarchos comes from a very wise and respectable person called Simonidis, and he agrees with this entirely. Then Socrates starts to argue against this definition of justice with an example. He asks Polemarcho s, if he believes to be just for a person to return lent weapons to a friend that has lost self-control. Polemarchos believes that it would be unjust to do so.
Polemarchos, nonetheless, is not convinced that this definition of justice is wrong, but that it was meant under specific pretexts. He believes that it is just to help friends and just to not help enemies. Socrates then asks if it is just to inflict harm on enemies and just to benefit friends. Polemarchos answers that it is indeed what he believes to be justice and asks what Socrates believes about this definition of justice. Socrates replies by asking back , who or what should be benefited from the application of medicine. Polemarchos believes that humans should be benefited from medicine. Socrates then asks what or whom does the supposed craft of justice should benefit. Polemarchos replies the same way again, by replying that the craft of justice should bene fit friends and punish enemies, and that it is appropriate to do so. Then Socrates switches his focus from the craft itself to the person that exercises such craft. For example, he asks to whom the doctor is useful, the appropriate answer would be to the sick person . This questioning and answering was applied to other types of craftsmen in the dialogue . The point being that each type of craftsman was useful to the people that needed his specific skills. Then Socrates asks about the usefulness of the just person. Polemarchos answers that the just person is useful in times of war, to honor allies and punish enemies. Socrates does not agree with this and asks if the just person is only useful at times of war and not in times of peace. Polemarchos seems that he too believes that justi ce is useful at times of piece. Then Socrates asks what should be the purpose of justice in times of piece . Polemarchos replies that the just person would be better to honor contracts. But Socrates disagrees once again by showing that craftsmen are once again better suited to perform their c ontracts. He argues for example that a builder would be better in fulfilling a construction contrast than a miner. So , in the same manner some types of people are better to perform tasks than others. For Polemarchos the just person is best suited to handle monetary exchanges; To safely keep and protect the money of others. Socrates believes that if this is the case, then justice is only useful when money is not to be spent, but to remain without use. This creates a disparity, that justice is only commonly useful when it is to safekeep and protect items, but not when these items are to be used. Socrates goes even further, to say that a good safekeeper is familiar with the practices and thinking processes of a thief; Thus, making the just person able to both safekeep and steal money. Socrates the concludes the definition of justice that Polemarchos seems to agree with, which is the craft of stealing that benefits friends and punishes enemies.
Then the dialogue takes another turn, when Polemarchos does not agree that justice is the craft of stealing, but he insists that justice is to benefit