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On his way home, Socrates strikes up a dialogue with Adeimantus, Polemarchus, and Cephalus, about the definition of justice and why one should pursue justice for its own sake. Socrates attempts to define justice against the ideas of the Sophists, especially those put forth by Thrasymachus.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 1.
Glaucon interjects and, using the legend of the ring of Gyges, asks Socrates to expound on why justice is both desirable and good. Gluacon’s brother, Adeimantus, further presses Socrates to show why justice is desirable for its own sake and not for the benefit of reaping rewards.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 2, Part 1.
Socrates tackles the challenge of showing how justice is favorable in and of itself by building up a hypothetical city from the ground up, beginning with the idea he terms the principle of specialization. From this initial principle comes the formation of the healthy city followed by the luxurious city, afterwards, Socrates explores a class of warriors designed to protect the peace that he terms guardians and goes on to describe their nature and necessary education. Socrates ends Book 2 by discussing the kinds of stories about the gods that are permissible in the city.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 2, Part 2 (halfway down the page).
Socrates proceeds to discuss the content of stories regarding to men and heroes, the arts, the love between men and boys and its relation to education, physical training, and medical training in relation to a just city.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 3, Part 1.
Rulers, the third and final class in a just society, are introduced in Socrates scheme for a just city. Socrates, also, goes on to use the idea of the myth of metals to ensure that there is no conflict over whom should rule. Book 3 ends with a discussion of private property and the housing that the city should provide for the guardians.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 3, Part 2 (halfway down the page).
Socrates establishes the four most important virtues that make up a just city: wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice. Socrates suggests that justice in relation to the city is complete, now the only thing left to determine is justice in relation to the individual.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 4, Part 1.
The question of what the individual desires in their soul is Socrates’s next task, and thus, he breaks up the soul into three parts, the rational, the spirited, and the appetitive. By comparing the individual sense of justice to the city-wide sense, Socrates’s claims have achieved his first goal in determining a just society and has justice can be an end unto itself. The health of the soul is utmost to Socrates’s project, and this is where Book 4 ends.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 4, Part 2 (halfway down the page).
Polemarchus and Adeimantus implore Socrates to explore gender roles in a just society.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 5, Part 1.
Socrates proceeds to discuss and define the nature and role of the philosopher in society. In this regard, Plato’s Theory of Forms is put into play and the explanation of what they mean is fleshed out, in particular the Form of the Beautiful.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 5, Part 2 (halfway down the page).
Socrates continues to explore the nature of the philosopher before ending with the introduction of the concept of the philosopher-king as the ideal subject to carry out the ideals of society.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 6, Part 1.
Socrates further explicates the relation between the philosopher-king and the form of the good as their one, true, defining, trait.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 6, Part 2 (halfway down the page).
Socrates explains the Allegory of the Cave in relation to education.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 7, Part 1.
Now that Socrates has described the relationship of the philosopher-king to their ideal education, Socrates explicates on the realm of the visible realm and the intelligible realms, while also discussing mathematics and dialectics as an educational form in society.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 7, Part 2 (halfway down the page).
In this section, Socrates outlines the pitfalls of timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 8.
The first part of Book 9 focuses on the follies of the tyrannical man and his relationship to laws and desires.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 9, Part 1.
Socrates describes three sets of people in the world, truth-loving, honor-loving, and profit-loving, and their relationship to ideas of pleasure and justice. Socrates then goes on to describe another set of threes in relation to a person’s internal nature, the multi-headed beast, the lion, and the human, and their own relationship to vices, and why divine reason is best for any just life.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 9, Part 2 (halfway down the page).
Finally, Socrates discusses poetry, the poets, and their relationship to the city, and the dangers that they might impose on a just society and city. Socrates then uses the myth of Er to discuss the afterlife and how it would lead one to the best outcome not just in life but in the afterlife as well.
Read a full Summary & Analysis of Book 10.
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Republic!