philosophy republic essay

  1. Argumentative Essay (Defend a position): Who won the argument: Socrates or Thrasymachus? [800-900 words]

      • Thesis: Which position will you defend and why?
      • What kind of good is justice?
        • Is justice intrinsically good? Or is justice an instrumental good (Book II)
      • Create a strong analogy (Links to an external site.) to frame your argument
        • Analogies are comparisons between two objects that share some obvious properties, and based on these initial similarities, you infer that they probably share other properties as well.
          • For example: Justice is like math—they both function like universal standards of fairness/harmony. Saying that justice is an instrumental good is like saying all answers are correct in math class. You might be able to manipulate people with your opinions, but that doesn’t make your math results correct.
        • Evaluate how Socrates and Thrasymachus define justice
          • Analyze the reasons for their views—why do you find these reasons accurate/inaccurate?
            • See Thrasymachus’ definition/speech (Book I)
            • See Socrates’ definition (Book IV)
            • Which life is best—the just or unjust? Why? How do you know?
      • Explain how this debate is still relevant in the 21st century
        • These topics are among the most crucial for understanding Plato’s views about justice in the Republic
          1. Individualism VS collectivism (forced social restrictions)
          2. Can we reach justice without mass deception? (noble lies)
          3. Social stratification (guardians, auxiliaries, producers)
          4. What is education for? How should it be structured?
          5. What are the qualities and qualifications of a good ruler?
          6. Censorship (immoral art/speech)
        • Select three of the topics above and explain why they are important to this discussion by highlighting relevant real-world examples.
          • For example, one might say that the government’s positive outlook on the economy is a noble lie. Numerous economic and health experts are warning us about a second stock market crash, and that it could be a long time before the workforce and economy recover. If you agree with Plato, then this might be a necessary noble lie to tell during a time of crisis when people are highly emotional and irrational. This would highlight the need for mass deception to promote rational behavior (following the laws and norms of society). Without this noble lie, people might lose trust in the government’s ability to protect its people from harm and revolt! Thus, since most people are unable to recognize that justice is intrinsically good, noble lies are necessary for promoting the ideal form of justice.

Topic 1 Guidelines:

  • 800-900 words
  • MLA format: 12-point font, Times New Roman, double-spaced, 1-inch margins
  • This is not a research project—no outside sources—only the class text is allowed
  • Don’t cite from my PowerPoint slides
  • Avoid long quotes to fill space
  • Cite Plato using the line numbers + in-text citations –> (Plato 347a).


Canvas only accepts the following file formats: doc, docx, pdf, txt, and rtf (Google docs and Pages files won’t work). Also, Canvas will not process file names that include special characters or dashes. If Canvas doesn’t accept your file, then I can’t grade it.

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY: Submitting this assignment to Canvas will check for plagiarism and originality through Don’t plagiarize or buy essays online—it’s not worth it. I report all instances of plagiarism to the Honor Council.

If you’re struggling to complete the assignment, then please please please come to office hours so we talk it over. We might clarify confusing things from class, make an outline to get you started, and I’m also open to reasonable deadline extensions.


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