By Julia Annas
This interpretive advent presents distinctive perception into Plato's Republic. Stressing Plato's wish to stimulate philosophical pondering in his readers, Julia Annas right here demonstrates the coherence of his major ethical argument at the nature of justice, and expounds comparable techniques of schooling, human motivation, wisdom and figuring out. In a transparent systematic model, this e-book indicates that smooth ethical philosophy nonetheless has a lot to profit from Plato's try to movement the focal point from questions of what acts the simply individual should practice to the extra profound questions of what kind of individual the simply individual needs to be.
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Extra info for An Introduction to Plato's Republic
As we shall see later on, the meaning most people give to 'j ustice' does not determine the content of Plato's account. So Cephalus has not mistaken the nature of the enquiry, only given an inadeq uate answer. W e cannot, then, say what j ustice is by listing a few duties like truth-telling. At this point Polem archus takes up the argument. He does not question the idea that j ustice must be characterized by the doing of certain actions ; he m erely thinks that they must be specified on a higher level of generality so as to avoid counter-examples like the ones Socrates has just given .
Is the inconsistency deep or merely superficial ? That is, are we meant to see him as holding a basically coherent position which he begins by formulating badly until he is prodded by Socrates into coming u p with a consistent formulation of i t ? Or are we meant to see him as fundamentally confused, and driven from pillar to post by Socrates' criticisms ? And if he does have a coherent view, which is it - the one he starts out with or the one he ends up with ? He claims, with a great deal of noisy rudeness, that j ustice is merely the advantage or interest of the stronger.
I f h e is a good potter, then h e uncontroversially knows how to make pots, and understands what is a good and what a bad pot, and why. In the Apology, we find that Socrates was extremely impressed by this . Craftsmen undoubtedly know what they are doing ; something that struck him as contrasting with the shakiness of people's assumption of knowledge in other spheres. In the early dialogues, Socrates often develops the idea that virtue, or a particular virtue, is or is like a skill, and what attracts him seems to be the point about knowledge.