1 The Ring of Gyges - The Republic By Plato Written 360...

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The Republic By Plato Written 360 B.C.E Translated by Benjamin Jowett The above is a selection from Plato's Republic . The speaker in the passage above is not Socrates but Glaucon, a person who argues that moral standards and moral motivation are entirely social. In part his claim is that human beings do not naturally uphold moral standards and will not do so if they can get away with it. Your reading throughout the course should be focused. Look for material in the readings that will allow you to answer the questions that are provided for all the texts in this course. So, come to class on Friday prepared to discuss the following 2 questions: 1) What, exactly, is Glaucon's argument? That is, what message does he want us to accept, and what material does he provide to support his message? 2) Do you agree with Glaucon? What would have to be true for Glaucon's argument to be correct? If it is not correct, what would then need to be true?
experience of both, not being able to avoid the one and obtain the other, they think that they had better agree among themselves to have neither; hence there arise laws and mutual covenants; andthat which is ordained by law is termed by them lawful and just. This they affirm to be the origin and nature of justice; --it is a mean or compromise, between the best of all, which is to do injustice and not be punished, and the worst of all, which is to suffer injustice without the power of retaliation; and justice, being at a middle point between the two, is tolerated not as a good, but as the lesser evil, and honoured by reason of the inability of men to do injustice. For no man whois worthy to be called a man would ever submit to such an agreement if he were able to resist; he would be mad if he did. Such is the received account, Socrates, of the nature and origin of justice. Now that those who practise justice do so involuntarily and because they have not the power to be unjust will best appear if we imagine something of this kind: having given both to the just andthe unjust power to do what they will, let us watch and see whither desire will lead them; then weshall discover in the very act the just and unjust man to be proceeding along the same road, following their interest, which all natures deem to be their good, and are only diverted into the path of justice by the force of law. The liberty which we are supposing may be most completely given to them in the form of such a power as is said to have been possessed by Gyges the ancestor of Croesus the Lydian. According to the tradition, Gyges was a shepherd in the service of the king of Lydia; there was a great storm, and an earthquake made an opening in the earth at the place where he was feeding his flock. Amazed at the sight, he descended into the opening,

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