Simonodes (via Polemarchus) argues in the first book of "The Republic" that justice is paying back what is due. Defend or argue against this position.

Essay by renren January 2004

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Justice. A term used as means to bring light to societal and cultural norms, has been an issue of deliberation for several centuries. Philosophers have long debated over what justice is and how it should be applied. Philosophers such as Plato view justice as being a matter of knowledge; being aware of the good creates an implication to do good. Others, such as Polemarchus view justice as a system that allows for people to 'pay back' those who have done wrong to them with evil and giving good to those who deserve good and giving good to friends and evil to enemies. Such a take on justice seems to dismiss the entire concept of being just. Rather then upholding a greater good for all, this view of justice focuses on a more vindictive aspect of justice. Justice is not meant to serve as revenge, but rather should be implemented as a means to prevent wrong doings and to uphold a civil society.

By resorting to the idea of 'eye for an eye' the notion of maintaining a just society quickly disintegrates into a community in which people are simply out to get one another. This paper will outline Polemarchus' view on justice and contrast them with the opposing views upheld by various philosophers, who see justice as a means to preserve good among society. In looking at Polemarchus' take on justice, I find that his views seem to lack focus with respect to bringing society security, would reduce morality of society to a much lower level and does not preserve goodness within society.

First off, Polemarchus' idea of justice would seem to somewhat jeopardize society security. What this means is that Polemarchus' beliefs lean more towards an Old Testament view, in which it advocates, "thou shall...