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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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Justice as Moderation

Justice as Moderation

(p.164) 5 Justice as Moderation
Philosophers in the "Republic"

Roslyn Weiss

Cornell University Press

This chapter shows how Socrates skillfully reduces justice to moderation. It is left to Plato's readers, to those who watch this subterfuge unfold, to raise the question: If the healthy and harmonious condition of the soul is moderation, what is justice? Since Socrates insists that justice is a fourth virtue distinct from the other three, one that even “rivals” them (433d), it is up to us, Plato's readers, to recognize that it is justice's unselfishness, the fact that it is concerned for others, that makes it the primary virtue—the “power” that anchors all the others, both producing and preserving them (4.433b-c). It may be salutary for Glaucon and Adeimantus to confuse justice with moderation, but it is not good for us. We must see that there is beauty—nobility—in being concerned for others. It is indeed when one strives to protect the interests of others, and in the best case even to further everyone's most important interest, personal virtue, that one lives well and fares well.

Keywords:   Socrates, Plato, Republic, justice, moderation, virtue

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