Notes on The Republic Book 1

Notes on The Republic Book 1 - Plato, The Republic. (427...

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Plato, The Republic . (427 – 347 BC ) Book I 327a – 328a Socrates, accompanied by Glaucon, is returning to Athens from the Piraeus where he had witnessed a newly created religious festival. As he returns, Adeimaintus, Polemarchus, and several others overtake him and Glaucon. They “persuade” Socrates to stay the night at Polemarchus’s house in the Piraeus. (Nota Bene: both Glaucon and Adeimantus are Plato’s older brothers .) 328c-d Cephalus, Polemarchus’s father, is seated in the courtyard when they arrive . He and Socrates strike up a conversation. Cephalus enjoins Socrates to come more often to visit, and Socrates replies that he would enjoy conversing with an older man such as Cephalus because he could thus obtain good advice about “the road to be traveled.” 329a-d Cephalus describes his own and others’ impressions of old age. Some bemoan the loss of pleasures; others complain about the loss of privilege and distinction in the household . But Cephalus agrees with an opinion he has heard Sophocles, the great playwright, express: old age brings release from the many mad masters of the passions. Cephalus adds that moderation is the necessary attribute to have if one is to fare well in life regardless of one’s age . 329e Socrates raises the objection that Cephalus only enjoys old age because he has wealth . 330a In his response, Cephalus points out that wealth is helpful but not the entire cause of contentment in old age . 330c Socrates, noting that Cephalus is not a self-made man, conjectures that most men who inherit wealth have the more sensible attitude toward money that Cephalus exhibits, but men who make their own fortune tend to be much more attached to money. 330d Socrates asks Cephalus what advantage he gains by his wealth . 330e – 331b Cephalus on justice Cephalus answers that the main and most important advantage gained from wealth is that it allows one to pay debts and makes occasions of other sins, such as neglecting the gods or deception, less likely . 331c Socrates finds Cephalus’s response enticing not only in the manner in which it was spoken, but also for the general issue which it raises: is δικαισυνη( or δικαια29 simply paying back debts and speaking the truth or is righteousness/justice something broader? Socrates mentions the difficulty of returning to another his weapons if he asks for them when drunk. 1
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331d Cephalus agrees that paying one’s debts and telling the truth are not the entirety of justice and, therefore, not a definition of justice. But Polemarchus , Cephalus’s son, interjects in order to defend such a definition of justice according to the views of Simonides. 331e
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Notes on The Republic Book 1 - Plato, The Republic. (427...

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