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Classics & Ancient History   >   Plato: Republic

Why should we be just?

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Plato: Republic

In this course, Nakul Krishna (University of Oxford) considers some of the key philosophical problems in Plato's Republic. In the first module, he examines the fundamental question that the Republic is trying to answer: "Why should we be just?". In this second module, he discusses the creation of an ideal city from scratch, while after that he discusses one of the most ingenious arguments in the Republic in the context of the so-called city-soul analogy. In the fourth module, he discussed Plato's theory of knowledge, looking in particular at one of the most well-known parts of the Republic: the allegory of the cave. And finally, he considers Plato's philosophy of art, asking why it is that Plato chooses to ban artistic representation from his ideal city, and what possible responses we may have to Plato's arguments.

Why should we be just?

In this module, we examine the fundamental question of Plato's Republic: "Why should we be just?" The module begins with a brief outline of the historical context of the Republic as well as introducing the key interlocutors: Socrates, Glaucon and Adeimantus. We then look at Glaucon's challenge to Socrates; is it better to (actually) be just, or simply to appear to be just (while in fact being unjust)? The challenge is encapsulated in two thought-experiments: the story of Gyges, the man who discovers a ring of invisibility and uses it to get away with murder (literally) and the story of the innocent man who is being punished for a crime he did not commit. The final part of the module considers how Socrates might respond to Glaucon's challenge.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Krishna, N. (2018, August 15). Plato: Republic - Why should we be just? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Krishna, N. "Plato: Republic – Why should we be just?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,


Dr Nakul Krishna

Dr Nakul Krishna

University of Cambridge