Plato's Republic: the Virtues

Topics: Virtue, Ethics, Justice Pages: 4 (1357 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Plato's Republic: THe Virtues

I. The Virtues

In Robin Waterfield's translation of The Republic,Socrates attempts to give a definition of justice. At the end of Book II he began a detailed description of the construction of a good city. The good city is a relation to the human soul, and its four virtues. In the following paper I will discuss the virtues, what they are and where they are found. Also discussed will be the foundation, arrangement, and the interconnectedness with each one. Next discussed would be the 3 "H's" and the understanding Aristotle has on the role of happiness in the moral life. Lastly, I will discuss the experience that I had that related to Leonitus.

The four virtues used by Plato are prudence, courage, temperance, and justice. Plato relates the virtues to a community, which is made up of the rulers, army, and workers. Now the base line is the workers, and they do not try to blend with the army as the army doesn't blend with the rulers. When all of these do their own job, the community becomes one.

The first virtue to be discussed is prudence. Prudence, also known as wisdom, is found in the rulers. "The people who have it are those rulers…" (428d) In order to have wisdom one must be resourceful, in which he/she has obtained knowledge. Plato says, "… resourcefulness is obviously a kind of knowledge… it's not ignorance which makes people resourceful; it's knowledge." (428b)

The second virtue is courage, which is found in the military section of the community. Courage is not the virtue of standing in front of a tank and say it will not hurt me, that is stupidity. Courage is the ability to apply what you have been taught: what is to be feared and what is not to be feared. Plato relates retention to courage, "I'm saying courage is a sort of retention…the retention of notion." (429c) The ability for one to retain what one has learned is courage. "Ability to retain under all circumstances a true...
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