PHIL-250 WEEK 4 DISCUSSION RING_OF_GYGES.doc - RING OF...

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RING OF GYGES: from Plato’s REPUBLIC – Book 2They say that to do injustice is, by nature, good; to suffer injustice, evil; but that the evil is greater than the good. And so when men have both done and suffered injustice and have had experience of both, not being able [359a] 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; and that 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, [359b] but as the lesser evil, and honoured by reason of the inability ofmen to do injustice. For no man who is 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.

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