In the book, Plato Republic, Socrates had a discussion with Thrasymachus and Glaucon about justice and unjustice. In this essay, I shall argue that Plato’s solution of the temptation of the ring is successful in a few ways. I will describe Thrasymachus and Glaucon’s idea about justice, and how Socrates discuss with them in terms of the justice of the city, justice of individual soul, his theory of forms and the importance of the knowledge of the good, and the sun analogy and the allegory of the cave.
While Socrates discuss with Glaucon about just and unjust, Glaucon told a story about the ring of the Gyges. The story is a about a man named Gyges, he was a shepherd in Lydia. One day there was earthquake, and it broke open the ground and created a chasm. Gyges went into the cave, and he discovered there was a corpse, who wore a golden ring. Gyes took the ring, later he discovered the ring has the power to let him became invisible by adjusting it. He then became one of the messengers who sent report to the king. After discovered the power, he used his power to seduce the queen and with the help of the queen, he murdered the king, and became the king of Lydia himself.
Before Glaucon told the story, Socrates was discussing the problem with Thrasymachus. Which Thyrasymachus held an opinion of justice is advantageous for the stronger. He gave an example of the rulers that “each rulers declares that what is just for its subjects is what is advantageous for itself- the ruler- and it punishes anyone who deviates from this as lawless and unjust”(Public338e). After he stated his view, Socrates asked him if just is subjects must obey whatever laws the rulers make, and what if rulers made mistakes? And they order their subjects to do things that are disadvantageous to them. So in another words, in Thrasymachus opinion, “what is advantageous for the stronger is no more just than what is not advantageous”(Public340b). While everyone was questioning Thrasymachus, he said that he think injustice is more masterful than justice. And Socrates asked him if he thinks unjust people is wise and good, Thrasymachus thought injustice is being prudent, and it has benefits in someway. And Socrates kept examining him, by the end Thrasymachus conflicted himself and agreed to Socrates that just people are good and wise, on the contrary, unjust people are ignorant and bad. And they kept discuss is just better than unjust. Socrates said that unjust people would never be able to work together, because they will harm each other by doing all kinds of the unjust. A city can okly become stronger by justice not injustice. After all, Socrates did not figure out what is just and what is unjust, he still tried to find out whether just is wisdom or ignorance.
As for Glaucon, the reason he told the ring of Gyges story is because he had a point of view that people practice just is because it is something necessary but not something good. Even though some one is being just, that person could be justice only for the honors and rewards. It is hard to tell whether a person is being justice for the sake of justice or for the sake of honor and rewards. And Glaucon believed that life of the unjust people is much better than those who are just. Glaucon stated, “Suppose we grant to the just and the unjust person the freedom to do whatever they like. And we will catch the just person red-handed, traveling the same road as the unjust one. The reason for this is the desire to do better than others”(Republic 369c). Glaucon believed that everyone will done unjust things with impunity, because everyone know injustice is more profitable than justice. Because an unjust person has no scruples about doing unjust, they could gain benefits from whatever they do. As a result they become wealthy. While being just is difficult and onerous, but being unjust is sweet and easy to acuire, why should not everyone want to be unjust? Also, Glaucon claimed “As for what people say,...
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