Justice in The Republic

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote “One man’s justice is another’s injustice.” This statement quite adequately describes the relation between definitions of justice presented by Polemarchus and Thrasymachus in Book I of the Republic. Polemarchus initially asserts that justice is “to give to each what is owed” (Republic 331d), a definition he picked up from Simonides. Then, through the unrelenting questioning of Socrates, Polemarchus’ definition evolves into “doing good to friends and harm to …

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…his greatest sacrifice my have been time spent with his family, the fact he never sought wealth or power (both at which with his intellectual capacity could have been easily gained) further adds to my belief he lived a community-serving way of life. The greatest testimony in favor of Socrates living for a common good is the fact that, thousands of years after his death he still inspires thought on what is the “good life”.