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Plato and Justice

In The Republic, Plato’s greatest dialogue, a search for the definition of justice occupies a prominent place in the discussion that gives the world the Theory of Forms, the Allegory of the Cave, and the idea of Philosopher Kings (giving hints to the biases of Plato).  Plato and JusticeAs in other Platonic dialogues, Socrates poses a question that he does not seem to know the answer for, but hopes to discover through conversation with the learned men around him. The Republic manages what many other Platonic dialogues fail to do: answer the question.  Too often Socrates discourses at length in search of an answer only to say: “I don’t know.”  While this often causes great distress for the modern student, answering questions is not always the goal of philosophy.  It is the journey, the voyage of self-discovery that reveals more about the question at hand.  Therefore, The Republic calls on a writer of a research paper to ask: What is the true nature of the soul?  What about death?  What is justice?

The Republic by Plato research paper seeks to answer the question of justice as a springboard to a larger concept: Plato’s ideas about politics, life and the soul.  Justice is an individual trait that gives us internal balance and allows us to lead a good life. The prime mover to following the path to “a good life” is the soul. In other words, the soul is what produces motion, both of itself and of other objects. Since this happens only in living things, it must be their basic principle, so that the soul comes before the body and the feelings of the soul before the material qualities of the body. Ethical qualities —those that determine conduct—therefore spring from the soul. This holds not only for positive ethical qualities but also for their opposites; evil, as much as good, has its origins in the soul.

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