Review Questions On The Republic Book II

1. What three classes or types of goods does Glaucon delineate? In which category does Socrates place justice? Into which category does Glaucon suggest that “the many” place justice?

2. Glaucon begins his view by describing the “natural” origins of justice. Summarize this account in your own words. Do you agree or disagree with it? Why or why not?

3. In the course of developing the position that those who behave justly do so unwillingly, Glaucon tells the tale of the Ring of Gyges. Briefly recount this tale. How does it support Glaucon’s position that those who behave justly do so only unwillingly?

4. The Ring of Gyges is one of the most famous thought experiments in all of philosophy. Imagine that in addition to making one invisible, the ring concealed all evidence of a persons’ presence, down to the microbiological level. Do you think that such a device could be used at all for any just purpose? What do you think you would do with such a ring? Consider your answer to these questions and then consider whether or not you think that the Ring of Gyges case proves what Glaucon thinks it proves?

5. Glaucon next compares the life of the perfectly just man with that of the perfectly unjust. What kinds of lives does he believe each will have? Do you agree? Why or why not?

6. Glaucon’s brother Adeimantus joins the discussion and makes several important additions to the position Glaucon has been sketching. How, according to Adeimantus, does religion approach the question of why people should or should not be just? How, given the opinion “of gods and men”, does Adeimantus think that an intelligent person will answer the question he attributes to the poet Pindar?

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