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Philosophers in the "Republic"Plato's Two Paradigms$
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Roslyn Weiss

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449741

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449741.001.0001

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Socratic Piety

Socratic Piety

The Fifth Cardinal Virtue

(p.129) 4 Socratic Piety
Philosophers in the "Republic"

Roslyn Weiss

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on Socrates' virtue of piety. It argues that his justice reaches the very highest level, that of piety, a virtue as conspicuously absent from Rep. 4's list of four cardinal virtues as Socrates is from the four philosophic types specified in Rep. 6. The kind of justice Socrates embodies goes beyond not harming others (the level of justice Book 7's philosophers reach); it even goes beyond helping others when conditions are right (the level attained by the philosophers of Book 6). Socrates fosters justice in others even at his own peril, and so is indeed in a class by himself. He thus represents a third paradigm—but one that lies outside the confines of the Republic:: none of the philosophers described in the Republic can meet his standard.

Keywords:   Socrates, Plato, Republic, philosophers, piety, justice

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