Plato: The Republic – Book 1 Summary and Analysis

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Summary and analysis of Book 1 of Plato’s Republic.

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Plato wrote the Republic in 380 BC. The first book of Plato’s Republic is concerned with justice. What is justice and why should one behave justly are two questions which Socrates and his interlocutors attempt to answer. The first definition of justice is proposed by Cephalus. Cephalus is an old, wise, and very wealthy man. He provides tremendous insight about old age. He says that as one grows older, the passions relax and one feels as if he has escaped from a mad and furious monster, and that one experiences a sense of calm and freedom. He also asserts that the greatest benefit his wealth has conferred upon him is that he never needed to intentionally or unintentionally deceive another man; for when a man nears the end of his life, and considers his past transgressions, he begins to fear the potential punishment he will suffer in the afterlife. Cephalus concludes that justice is paying debts and telling the truth.

Socrates refutes Cephalus’ definition of justice by positing several instances in which it is not just to tell the truth or to pay one’s debts. For example, it is not just to return weapons, entrusted to your care, to a friend who is not in his right senses. Furthermore, if a friend who is not in his right senses approaches you and enquires where another man is so that he may kill him, then it is not just to tell him where that man is.

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Helena van der Werff says:

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emily dyson says:

Thanks for the upload. Helpful indeed!!! Much apreesh'.

josh salas says:

These videos are fantastic. I always watch them before I read for understanding.

Serena Gillian says:

This was awesome! Thank you so much, The Republic is a tough read at times.

Chrisna 1311 says:

HEH. Teachers wouldn't expect me to copy a summary here in youtube. THANKS!

Arja Sadhukhan says:

This was very helpful!

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真 Truthfulness
善 Compassion
忍 Forbearance

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Nick Panayotakos says:

Thanks for the summary, was really helpful. The only point I would make, is that it sounds like you're pronouncing Thrasymachus' name as "ThrasymArchus" (toned at the "A"), which is incorrect (not trying to be judgmental, just pointing it out). It should be pronounced as "ThrasYmachus" (toned at the "Y", and without the R) coming from the name "Θρασύμαχος".

Thanks again.

mayar hassan says:

thanks for your great effort, its really perfect.

LuistheGenius says:

Thank you so much for the detailed summary! You're a lifesaver 🙂

Neo Pelagian says:

Very clear, covering the topic very well in such a short space of time!

tim acquistapace says:

This was very well composed and presented, thank you for all your effort.

Matthew63604 says:

good explanation help me out alot

HappyFace says:

thank you¦ this was very well said

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