Notes on Money, Markets, and Economics
What I've Been Reading


Aristotle's Social Science. Salkever. Read Here..

The Goal Of Evolutionary And Neoclassical Economics As A Consequence Of The Changes In Concepts Of Human Nature, Anna Horodecka. Read Here..

Islam and the Economic Challenge, Umer Chapra. Read Here..

An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science, Lionel Robbins. Read Here..

Retrospectives: On the Definition of Economics, Backhouse and Medema. Read Here..

Welfare and Welfare Economics: The Early Contribution of Alfred Marshall. Caldari and Nishizawa. Read Here..

Economics Controversies. Rothbard. Read Here..

Economics and its Ethical Assumptions. Long. Read Here..

The Economic Point of View. Kirzner. Read Here..

The Philosophy of Economics. Bowman. Read Here..



A summary of Plato's Republic (Shorey translation 1930)

Posted By Trevor Newton
March 31, 2017

Plato’s Republic is divided into ten books which, when taken together, provide a model and plan of the ideal state as Plato (or Socrates) sees it. The dialogue also, perhaps more importantly, provides an exhortation for men to live justly and righteously not only for earthly rewards, but also eternal.

The dialogue opens with banter between Socrates, Glaucon, and various other characters. Socrates engages Cephalus, an older man who is rich, in conversation and is pleased to hear him say that old age is not very burdensome as long as one’s character is temperate and cheerful, for the older one gets they less one is affected by passions and desires.

Socrates asks if perhaps Cephalus would feel this way if he weren’t so wealthy (329e). Cephalus concedes there is a bit of truth to this, but that in the end it is still attitude and character which matter more than wealth (329d). But what, asks Socrates, is the greatest benefit of having wealth? Cephalus answers that it gives peace of mind as long as it has been acquired justly; otherwise it doesn’t (peace of mind seems to be facilitated by wealth because wealth allows one to repay to men and gods the debts one may owe them).

The conversation then turns to the question of what, precisely, justice is. A listener, Polemarchus, interrupts and takes over the conversation with Socrates, claiming that justice is rendering “to each his due” (331e). This leads to a debate between the two men, resulting in Socrates’ statement that justice can’t mean ever harming anyone: therefore justice can’t be, to Socrates, defined as “to render to each his due” (335e)

Thrasymachus interrupts the conversation to say he has a better definition of justice (337d), which is, Whatever the will of the strong is. He bases this on his observation that civil governments always enact laws (therefore he obviously equates civil law with the word justice) which promote the interests of the strong (or, the Establishment). Hence justice, to him, must be as he has defines it (338c-338e).

Socrates clarifies that Thrasymachus is really saying that justice is, Whatever is to the advantage of the strong. Yet, as Socrates points out, the strong often don’t even know what is truly to their advantage, sometimes unwittingly making up laws that do not serve their purposes at all (339c). So in that case, their laws would not always be just, at least by Thrasymachus’ definition of justice. (By this argument Socrates seems also to be saying that civil law and justice can be two very different things).

As the debate between the two men carries on, Socrates reveals his position regarding civil rulers: that a ruler (by definition) ought not to seek his own advantage but rather must seek the advantage of those he rules over. Thrasymachus disputes this, saying it only seems like a ruler ought to seek the advantage of his subjects, just like it only seems like the farmer is seeking the advantage of his cattle (343b). He further argues that the just man always comes out at a disadvantage to the unjust. This remark by Thrasymachus is confusing since he has earlier defined what he thinks justice is, and yet here he seems to be acknowledging that there is a higher justice - but that it is inferior to Thrasymachus’ version of justice (343d). This eventually leads to Thrasymachus coming right out and saying that injustice is better than justice, at least when carried out by the strong as they seek to gain advantage (344c).

This leads Socrates to defend his view (that true rulers do not seek their own advantage but rather the advantage of those they rule over) by pointing out that since they get paid to be rulers then clearly they must be conferring some advantage on those they rule over (346e). But then he goes on to say that, in the case of civil rulers, the best sort is one who does not do it for pay or honor, but rather out of fear that if he doesn’t do it that someone less capable than himself will end up ruling over the society (347c).

Now the debate shifts to the real question that is being discussed, which is the question of whether the just or the unjust man is actually better off (347e). Thrasymachus says that injustice is virtue and justice is vice (348c), as long as the injustice is thoroughly complete, that is, as in the case of subjecting others to oneself in order to further one’s own advantage. Socrates disagrees, responding that it is the just man who is wise and good, whereas the unjust man is ignorant and bad (350c). Further, Socrates argues that justice is stronger than injustice (351a). To show this he expands the focus from the individual to the state. He reasons that the state whose citizens do not harm one another (remembering that justice, to Socrates, can’t mean ever harming anyone) must be stronger than the state whose citizens do harm one another. He further claims that, in the state where injustice abounds, the citizens are “incapable of cooperation” (352a) and so the state becomes its own enemy. The same is true at the individual level, where the unjust man becomes “incapable of accomplishing anything because of inner faction and lack of self agreement…” (352a). Socrates then shifts to the question of whether or not the just are happier than the unjust (352d).

He reasons that a virtue of the soul is justice, so if the soul is deprived of this virtue (as it would be if the individual was unjust) then the soul will never “accomplish its own work” (353e), thus a good soul will “govern and manage things” well, whereas a bad soul won’t. So the just soul will live well, but the unjust soul won’t. So the just soul must be happy, and the unjust soul miserable. Therefore justice must be more profitable than injustice. Yet Socrates says this conclusion is worthless if one doesn’t actually know what justice is (354b).

In Book II, Glaucon jumps in where Thrasymachus left off, saying that justice is practiced by people not because it is something they want to do for its own sake, but rather it is out of their desire to gain rewards and reputation in the eyes of others – they regard justice as “necessary and not as good” (358c). He then describes what he believes is the “nature and origin of justice” (358e).

Glaucon claims that “justice” means the laws men have come up with to protect themselves from others wronging them. He also argues that while it is better to do injustice (with impunity) than to do justice, it is evil to suffer injustice at the hands of someone else. Therefore justice (i.e. man’s laws to govern society) is “a compromise between the best, which is to do wrong with impunity, and the worst, which is to be wronged” by someone yet be impotent to take revenge (359b). So then “justice” is not really good per se, just necessary, and “those who practice it do so unwillingly and from want of power to commit injustice” (359b).

To support his argument, Glaucon maintains that no one is just “of his own will, but only from constraint” (360c), and that “every man, when he supposes himself to have the power to do wrong, does wrong” because every man believes there is more profit for him in injustice than justice. In order to know whether the unjust man is happier/better-off than the just man (or vice versa) then, Glaucon says, the two must be compared in their most extreme manifestations (361a).

Therefore, we must consider the unjust man who is so thoroughly unjust that he always is unjust, yet succeeds in never being caught and in making everyone believe he is the most just of all men, and is constantly achieving success and honor in every area of wealth, power, and influence. And conversely the just man we must consider is one who receives no wealth, no power, and no influence, and is rather perceived by others as if he were unjust and even persecuted to the point of death (even crucifixion, 361e), yet all the while remaining truly just, even though he is not acknowledged by others as being just (361c).

The reason for considering these extreme examples is to ensure that the just man we are considering is truly just and is not out for earthly gain, but rather he is truly just even without earthly gain.

At this point Adimantus, another character, interrupts as if to help make Glaucon’s point, reminding Socrates that people are only just to the extent they believe they will be rewarded by men and by gods for seeming to be just, and penalized by men and by gods for seeming to be unjust. Thus a man’s motivation to be just rather than unjust is only based on the hope of reward and the fear of harm (363b). He further argues that people don’t actually want to be just, rather they only want to appear that way, and are really only after gain (365d). And, although people are aware that the gods themselves can’t be conned by such deceit (that is, says Adimantus, if the gods even exist), the gods can be dealt with by cutting them in on the injustice, by offering them a generous sacrifice for instance (366a). So Adimantus challenges Socrates to refute these points, seeing as “no one has ever adequately set forth in poetry or in prose – the proof that… justice is the greatest good” (367a).

He further challenges Socrates to prove that justice “belongs to the class of those highest goods which are desirable both for their consequences and still more for their own sake, as sight, hearing, intelligence, yes and health too…” and to show “the benefit which it and the harm which injustice inherently works upon its possessor” (367d).

Socrates, in order to demonstrate his argument, expands the focus from the individual to the state, because the one is like the other, only on a bigger scale. This could be Socrates’ way of saying that, on average, such and such is true, even if not always for every individual. The state Socrates describes, has its origin (as do cities in general, he believes) in the needs of people to exchange this for that with their fellow man (i.e. division of labor, exchange of goods and services) (369b).

Socrates goes into more detail, stating that “one man is naturally fitted for one task, and another for another” and the result is “more things are produced, and better and more easily, when one man performs one task according to his nature…” (370c). Aside from requiring a substantial variety of producers, the city will import goods from other cities, and will export some of its products, too. The way the citizens will “share with one another the products of their labor” is by buying and selling (371b). This requires a marketplace, and money.

The shopkeepers and merchants who conduct the majority of market transactions are those who are “weakest in body and… useless for any other task” (371d). The laborers who sell their strength are “wage earners” and constitute a separate class from the merchants. The citizens of such a city will live, eat, marry, fellowship and work. This will be pleasant for them, and is also a demonstration of justice being better than injustice (372a). “And so, living in peace and health, they will probably die in old age and hand on a like life to their offspring” (372d). This is a “healthy state” or a “true state.”

But now, in describing the “fevered state” bent on luxury and indulgence, Socrates reasons that an even greater division of labor will be required, resulting in the need for land, and expansion (373d). As the city gains wealth, and increases in population and labor becomes even more specialized, continued expansion will be required into neighboring jurisdictions, which may result in war (373e). To win wars (and defend the increasingly wealthy city) full-time military men will be required whose labor specialty is military expertise (keeping with the division of labor theme). Therefore it “becomes our task… to select which and what kind of natures are suited for the guardianship of the state” (374e). The physical and mental attributes which characterize a natural military man are: the love of wisdom, a high spirit; quickness, and strength (376c).

The rearing and education of these military men (“guardians”) ought to include physical training (gymnastics) and mental (soul) training in the form of music and literature, starting with fables (377a). It is important to educate these guardian youth with the right sort of knowledge – the sort which results in the right worldview, conscientiously censoring from the children knowledge which does not support such a worldview (377c).

One is to avoid teaching children literature which portrays the gods (or heroes) badly, because the children might emulate them. The elders of the children ought to present only those stories which support the desired views, and those who author the stories (poets etc) should be compelled to only author stories which conform to the ideal, because “whatever opinions are taken into the mind at that age are wont to prove indelible and unalterable. For which reason, maybe, we should do our utmost that the first stories that they hear should be so composed as to bring the fairest lessons of virtue to their ears” (378e).

The founders of the state would insist on certain “patterns or norms of right speech about the gods” (379a). Specifically then, it must only be said that good things come from the divine, not evil things which must have some other source (379c). For to say that the divine is the cause of all things is neither holy, profitable, nor concordant (380c). This would be the first law.

It must also be forbidden to depict divinity as ever taking on a form other than its own (as in the instance of gods appearing on earth as if in mortal form) for to do so might be to, first, lie about the divine (381e), and second, accuse gods of being deceitful - which they never can be since by definition they must abhor falsehood (382a-382e). It is here that Socrates argues that “the divine and the divinity are free from falsehood” (382e), and also concludes that “God (the divine, or divinity) is altogether simple and true in deed and word, and neither changes himself nor deceives others by visions or words or the sending of signs in waking or in dreams “ (382e). Thus would be our second law, the purpose of which is to educate the youth who will become guardians “to be god-fearing men and godlike in so far as that is possible for humanity” (383c).

In Book III, Socrates continues with censorship, maintaining that tales depicting the afterlife as a place of terror should not be told to the guardian-youth, so they will be brave in battle and not fear death. Further, the “entire vocabulary of terror and fear” (387b) should be censored, at least in regard to the afterlife, and even in regard to negative circumstances, to prevent the guardian-youth from falling into various fears. Any literature which depicts gods or men of renown as lacking self-control should be censored, including tales which depict extreme laughter since that may encourage the loss of self-control (388e). Self-control must be encouraged, not only of the bodily passions/appetites, but also (particularly) obedience to rulers (389e). The guardian-youth ought only to learn things which are supportive of being successful guardians.

Since truth should be the goal, and falsehood eschewed, no one should be encouraged or allowed to lie save select citizens such as the rulers who may from time to time be required to do so for the protection of the state (389b – 389e). Bribes are wrong and should not be taught or written about (390e). No literature should be allowed which depicts the gods as doing evil, since is it harmful to the citizens and anyways, clearly, such tales must be false since gods don’t do evil, in Socrates’ view.

Further, producers of literature (poets/writers/speakers) should be regulated as to how they say things (398b). Narration should be simple and should not include imitation or mimicry (such as might happen in a play, for example, where a character might mimic a buffoon). Imitation should only be used in an edifying way, such as if one is respectfully mimicking a good man. But mimicry should never be used to depict women, cowards, fools, animals, claps of thunder or anything else (395c-396b) which might cause or encourage the guardian-youth to engage in unseemliness, which would be at odds with their moral development. This would be codified as law, then, that there should only be “the more austere and less delightful poet(s) and taletellers…” (398b).

In light of this, certain types of songs should also be censored. Not just words, but also tunes and rhythms, ought to conform to the ideal. Dirges, “soft and convivial” music, and even certain musical instruments such as flutes and harps, would be discouraged, leaving only that music which supports a temperate and brave (399c) personality. Complexity in music is undesirable. Rather, basic and simple is preferred, as are rhythms which are “orderly and brave” (400a).

Other than poets (authors of literature, plays, and the like) and musicians, craftsmen must also be regulated to “forbid them to represent the evil disposition, the licentious, the illiberal, the graceless” (401b). Socrates argues that “we must look for those craftsmen who… are capable of following the trail of true beauty and grace” (401c). The penalty for non-compliance would be prohibition from practicing “their art among us” (401b).

Public displays of unseemly physical intimacy must also be forbidden, because “the right love (is) a sober and harmonious love of the orderly and the beautiful” (403a). The penalty for non-compliance is stigmatization (403c, this may mean branding with a hot iron).

The guardian-youth must be physically fit and self-controlled, and so should be forbidden from intoxication, and their food must be simple in order to maintain physical health (404e). Daily life will be ordered in such a way that any activities or pastimes which divert citizens away from the “work assigned to each man” should be discouraged. Therefore excessive leisure should be discouraged (407c) as should retirement (407a) upon making one’s fortune.

Citizens will order their lives in such a way as to have little need of physicians. Physicians are often needed “because of sloth” and they invent “new fangled and monstrous strange names of diseases” (405e). The few physicians which are necessary should only heal those citizens who are able-bodied, but they should not heal those who have bodily defects, but should rather leave them to die. Further, those citizens which are of an evil-nature should, with the assistance of the physicians, be killed (409e – 410a).

There should also be little need for judges in the ideal city. The few judges which are necessary should, in general, be old and not young, good by nature (ever since youth) and not unjust (409b – 409d).

The guardian breed will be so equally balanced in their practice of music and gymnastics that their souls will excel in “the high spirited principle and the love of knowledge” (411e), not becoming unduly focused on either the musical nor the physical arts.

A permanent overseer of the city will be required “if its constitution is to be preserved” (412a). The rulers of the city will of course be older, not younger, and must be “the most regardful of the state.” Such persons would love the state, and are likely to be those whose interests coincide with the interests of the state. The rulers would be chosen from amongst the guardians, ones who are observed from youth to have the “conviction that they must do what is best for the state” (412e). They must be subjected to all sorts of temptations, as tests to see if they might disregard the interests of the state. Those who overcome the temptations will be considered candidates to rule the city, with the best-of-the-best becoming the supreme ruler (413c-414a).

A complicated lie will be crafted to deceive the guardian-children into believing they are uniquely created to be the protectors of their mother, the earth, who they must defend at all costs (the state serving as proxy for her) (414d-414e). They will be told they are special creations with gold (the metal) in their physical beings. As such, they will believe they have been designed to be guardians and rulers. They will regard fellow humans of other classes as brothers and sisters in a sense yet of an inferior grade (like silver or brass is inferior to gold). Therefore interbreeding with humans outside the guardian class will be discouraged. It will be the “chief injunction” (by divine order) that the guardians are to be “observant as of the intermixture “ of the metals, being careful not to breed with the artisan or farmer classes (415b). Each citizen must be carefully observed from birth to deduce his nature (i.e. gold, silver, iron or brass) because no class will always breed true. Nature will determine role (farmer, artisan, or guardian). The lie must include the “prophecy” that, should a man of brass or iron ever be allowed to rule, it will be the end of the state (415c).

Guardians must not possess any private property other than what is minimal, their dwellings also must not be their own. Their food will be provided as wages, and they will live communally. They are forbidden to even come in contact with money (gold or silver).

In Book IV the question of the guardians’ personal happiness is addressed: Socrates maintains that their happiness is, in a sense, irrelevant because it should be that the citizens’ happiness as a whole be considered rather than just one class. The guiding principle in the state is the “greatest possible happiness of the city as a whole” (420b-420c).

Perhaps the greatest danger to the state would be guardians who only pretend to be protectors of the state and its laws. Such characters “destroy utterly” (421a).

Poverty and wealth are corrupt, and ultimately spoil the citizens. The danger is that they become either so rich that they stop being productive, or so poor that they are unable to perform good work. Therefore the guardians must also guard against too much wealth entering the city, or too much poverty.

A principle of foreign policy will be to make alliances with friendly cities on the basis that, when war against enemy cities is waged, the friendly cities will be allowed to keep all the spoil of the conquered enemies. Thus there will be no end of potential allies and very few serious enemies (423a). “By offering to the one faction the property, the power, the very persons of the other, you will continue always to have few enemies and many allies.”

The most important thing for the city to succeed in is the education and nurture of its citizens, meaning the sort of education/nurture which turns its citizens into “reasonable men.”

Guardian wives will be treated as common property (424a) (Socrates does not provide detail on this assertion until later in Book V).

By following Socrates’ rules for society, there will be general improvement in the quality of the citizens, just as selective breeding leads to better livestock (424b).

The city must be on guard against all new innovations in music, for “a change to a new type of music is something to beware of as a hazard of all our fortunes. For the modes of music are never disturbed without unsettling of the most fundamental political and social conventions” (424c). Music of the wrong sort is “the kind of lawlessness that easily insinuates itself unobserved” and this is where the “guardians must build their guardhouse and post of watch” (424d). It can negatively affect business dealings, laws, the constitution, even the whole society. Music can (and should) imbue its listeners with “the spirit of law and order” (425a). Music is unique in that it can mold humans in a way that the imposition of rules and regulations cannot (425b).

It is unnecessary to legislate such things as labor laws, business matters, economic transactions in general, and various other human interactions because “most of the enactments that are needed about these things they will easily… discover” (425e) but only provided that they are divinely granted “the presentation of the principles of law…” Otherwise “they will pass their lives multiplying such petty laws and amending them in the expectation of attaining what is best.” Men who do this “are in very truth trying to cut off a Hydra’s head” (426e).

The only additional law Socrates advocates is the founding of temples and offering of sacrifices, and other forms of worship relating to the citizens’ gods and ancestors (427c).

Having laid out the laws for the city, he now turns his focus to discovering where “justice and injustice should be in it” in order to answer the original question of which is better (427d).

He begins by identifying the ways in which the city might qualify as good. Does it display wisdom, bravery, sobriety, and justice? These are the measures.

Wisdom will be most evident in the guardian class (even though they of all classes are the fewest in number), particularly amongst the rulers, because they understand the science of government (which is true wisdom). If a city is ruled by the sort of guardians which Socrates envisions and has described, then that city will be ruled by truly wise people, thus the city itself would qualify as manifesting wisdom.

As for bravery, it is defined as the extent to which the guardian class possesses the “unfailing conservation of right and lawful belief about things to be and not to be feared” (430b). Since the guardians’ “nature and nurture” is meant to result in this very outcome, it can be accepted that the city would qualify as manifesting bravery.

Sobriety is “a kind of beautiful order and a continence of certain pleasures and appetites” (430e) which means “the control of the worse by the naturally better part.” A type of self-control, in other words. Even though a city might be full of citizens who lack control of their desires and appetites, as long as they are dominated by those (such as the guardian class) who are in control of their base tendencies, then the entire city will manifest sobriety (soberness). Even the rabble themselves will tend to be sober when ruled by those who are genuinely sober (431c-431e). Soberness is unlike wisdom or bravery because it pervades every stratum of society: when the rulers are sober, it effects the whole population to be sober (432a).

Therefore the extent to which wisdom, bravery, and sobriety are manifest in the state is dependent upon the extent to which they are manifest in the ruling/guardian class.

However, as for justice, Socrates connects it with his earlier discussion on division of labor. Justice is, in a sense, doing one’s own business - assuming that one’s business is that “each one man must perform one social service in the state for which his nature (is) best adapted” (433a) and not be “a versatile busy body” (433d). Justice then is the “having and doing of one’s own and what belongs to oneself” (434a). Therefore “the interference with one another’s business… and the substitution of the one for the other, is the greatest injury to a state, and would most rightly be designated as the thing which chiefly works its harm” (434c). That is, a reversal in the division of labor (not necessarily in a market context) is very harmful to the state, and therefore is injustice. Conversely, when each person does his own work, justice is manifest, and the city is just.

Working back to the original question then, of whether justice or injustice is better, where Socrates sought to answer the question by first drawing an analogy between the individual and the state, he asserts that the state tends to reflect the forms and qualities of its citizens (435e) and further maintains that “…just as in the city there were three existing kinds that composed its structure, the money-makers, the helpers, the counselors, so also in the soul does there exist” high spirit, the rational, and the appetitive (440e-441a), each kind in the individual being likened to each kind in the state: the counselors likened to the rational, the helpers likened to high spiritedness, the money-makers to the appetitive. Therefore because the individual can be likened to the state and vice versa, then if the state is wise, so is the individual wise; as the individual is brave, so is the state brave; and so on for “all the other constituents of virtue” (441c-441d).

Therefore because a man can be likened to the state, and because the state is just “by reason of each of the three classes… fulfilling its own function” (441d), then the man “in whom the several parts within him perform each their own task” is also just: the rational part to rule, the high spirited part to assist it, and the both of them presiding over the appetitive part to keep it in subjection.

The tools used to develop the virtue of justice in the citizens include music (i.e. both music and literature) and gymnastics, which will “render them (the rational part and the high spirited part) concordant… fostering the one… and making gentle the other” (442a). Socrates only touches on this here, having already provided his views on music, literature and physical exercise in Books II and III.

Socrates now goes into deeper detail regarding the principle of the division of labor’s relationship to justice. The division of labor applies not only “in regard to the doing of one’s own business externally, but rather with regard to that which is within… and the things of one’s self” (443d). Becoming master of one’s self in areas of virtue, self-controlled and with one’s inner parts in unison (rather than interfering with another) is just, and anything which “tends to overthrow this spiritual constitution” is unjust.

Thus injustice is “a kind of civil war” and “the revolt of one part against the whole of the soul that it may hold therein a rule which does not belong to it” (444b). And so Socrates has provided the definitions for justice and injustice, from which can be deduced which actions are just or unjust. As bodily disease is disorder operating contrary to nature, so too is it to cause diseases of the soul when one allows one’s inner parts (rational, high spirited, appetitive) to function outside of the proper hierarchical order. Acts which are just, then, result in a healthy soul, but unjust acts result in an unhealthy soul (444d-444e).

And so, as it is obviously better (more profitable) to be healthy in one’s body than sick, it is also more profitable to be healthy in one’s soul (i.e. just) than unhealthy (unjust).

Socrates claims that, just as there are five kinds of soul (as he will describe later in the dialogue), so also there are five kinds of political constitution. In both instances, four of the five kinds are evil. The only political constitution which is not evil is the one he’s described thus far, and he calls it royalty, or, aristocracy.

Thus a political constitution with a single supreme ruler, or with several rulers acting jointly, whose laws are those described by Socrates, is the one and only form of excellence as pertains to the state. Such a state would therefore qualify as “good”.

In Book V, Socrates is challenged by Adimantus to provide more detail about this supposed “good” state and its laws. For instance, the concept of wives and children being “common” which Socrates previously mentioned in Book IV, must be explained.

He responds by considering the extreme alternative: What if women, rather than being treated differently than men and in the way Socrates advocates, were to be treated identically to men? He thus raises the question of “whether female human nature is capable of sharing with the male all tasks or none at all, or some but not others” (453a).

He reasons that his earlier argument in favor of a division of labor applies here, and so “if it appears that the male and the female sex have distinct qualifications for any arts or pursuits, we shall affirm that they ought to be assigned respectively to each” (454d). Otherwise, if all that differs between the sexes is anatomy, then they should share the same pursuits.

Socrates continues his argument by reminding his audience of the context for the state’s division of labor requirements: namely, that the state is only concerned with enforcing a division of labor amongst those pursuits which are “connected with the administration of a state” (455b). He also clarifies the basis upon which a person’s nature may be deemed more suitable to a specific pursuit than another person’s nature: the extent to which one learns the pursuit easily, remembers and applies what has been learned, and whose bodily faculties more fully serve the mind (455b). He then argues that there is nothing (at least in regard to those things which are connected with the administration of a state) in which men do not surpass women, broadly speaking.

He further clarifies that “there is no pursuit of the administrators of a state that belongs to a woman because she is a woman or to a man because he is a man. But the natural capacities are distributed alike among both creatures, and women naturally share in all pursuits and men in all – yet for all the woman is weaker than the man” (455e). In other words, although women share similar natures to men in many (if not all) ways, they are weaker. Therefore those women who have natures which are consistent with being a guardian of the state (for example) ought not themselves to become guardians but rather should support the men who become guardians by acting as their wives and the mothers to their children (456b).

Socrates argues that females who exhibit guardian-like natures still ought to be trained and educated alongside the male guardians, however their ultimate function is to be wives and mothers. And more specifically, they are to be held in common so to speak, not married to any one man, and further the guardian-children ought not to know their parents, and the parents ought not know their children, and so all children will be held in common too. And this should be law (457d).

In practice, therefore, the guardians who are rulers will select the men and women (as children) who will become guardians, ensuring that they (both the males and the females) are raised and trained together, having houses and meals in common , and with no personal property.

Yet to ensure there is no disorderly promiscuity, no physical unions amongst the guardians will be allowed except as sanctioned and arranged by the rulers. It will not be openly admitted that the rulers are masterminding the reproduction of the rest of the guardians. Rather the rulers will pair certain males and females without it being known what is truly happening, it appearing to come about naturally, when in reality everything is being coordinated as part of a state-controlled breeding program. It follows that suboptimal offspring will quickly and quietly be killed off, in order to maintain breed-purity and to check population growth (460a-460c).

Women will therefore “bear for the state” (460e), and men shall “beget” for the state, and anyone who “meddles with procreation” (at least respecting the guardian class) will have acted unjustly.

To show that his concept of women/children in common is a good one, Socrates asks What is the greatest good, and What is the greatest evil, as relates to the state? To Socrates, the greatest good is that which unifies the state and “makes it one”, and the greatest evil is that which disunifies the state and “makes it many” (462b). The greatest measure of a state’s unity is when its citizens rejoice in unity, and grieve in unity, thus showing that they value the things of life in the same way, from citizen to citizen. That being so, Socrates seems to be saying that his guardian-rule model should hold women/children in common as an essential means of establishing an attitude of kinship (albeit artificial and manipulated) throughout the guardian class, thus causing greater unity amongst them. Why this should lead to greater unity throughout the entire state, i.e. amongst all classes, Socrates will soon explain.

He concludes that, first, since unity within the state is the greatest good, and second, since unity is most readily achieved by having the same things in common (especially family), then it must follow that the greatest good is for the guardian class to see themselves all as family, and further, the best way to achieve this is by having all the guardian women and children in common. Thus the guardian class will be “free from the dissensions that arise among men from the possession of property, children, and kin” (464d).

Therefore if the guardian class is free from dissensions, there is “no fear that the rest of the city will ever start faction against them or with another” (465b). The guardian class thus causes the entire city to become a sort of heaven on earth (465d), the “salvation of the entire state”.

There should also be rules of warfare, forbidding the taking of fellow Greeks as slaves, the plundering of enemy bodies for weapons/treasures, the dedication of enemy spoil in the temples, or the destruction of enemies’ houses and land. Rather, the defeated foe should be allowed to remain largely intact, and forced to pay annual tribute (470b). How this is compatible with the foreign policy principle he previously described (423a) is not clear.

Considering it settled that these ideas are right and good (471c), Socrates addresses the question of how to practically implement them.

While conceding that it is impossible to implement anything but a likeness of his ideal, Socrates reveals his view that the only way to alleviate the troubles in a state is if its “kings and rulers take to the pursuit of philosophy seriously and adequately” (473d). A philosopher king.

He goes into detail (474-480) defining what he means by “philosopher” – that is, one who loves wisdom, one who loves truth (which for Socrates is the knowledge of forms, which is only knowable apart from the senses). Such a philosopher is different from one who is enamored with the spectacles (particulars) of the senses, those things which themselves are not truth in the eternal and unchanging sense.

In Book VI he provides greater detail, arguing that “since the philosophers are those who are capable of apprehending that which is eternal and unchanging” then they are the ones who are “competent to guard the laws and pursuits of society” that is, the guardians are also the philosophers (484b).

These philosophers would of necessity have the following characteristics: strivers after truth (and haters of falsehood); indifferent to the pleasures of the body; temperate (not greedy); seekers of integrity; brave and unafraid of death; just and gentle; quick to learn; and possessors of a good memory. Such men, when perfected by “education and maturity of age” can be entrusted with the state (485d-487a).

Socrates then provides a lengthy defense of philosophy in light of the apparent uselessness and low character that many so-called philosophers appear to display (487e-498b). It is a diversion from his main arguments, and he concludes it by acknowledging that his ideal state, governed by philosopher-rulers, is unlikely to ever manifest “until some chance compels this uncorrupted remnant of philosophers, who now bear the stigma of uselessness, to take charge of the state whether they wish it or not, and constrains the citizens to obey them, or else until by some divine inspiration a genuine passion for true philosophy takes possession either of the sons of the men now in power and sovereignty or of themselves” (499b-499c). It is Socrates’ view that a philosopher-ruler coming to power is the only means of salvation for the city and its citizens (501e). He stresses that such a ruler must “take the city and the characters of men, as they might a tablet, and first wipe it clean” (501a), and thereafter work on making “the characters of men pleasing and dear to God” (501c).

Socrates now returns to the manner in which the ruler-guardians must be educated. Restating that they must be tested in terms of their love for the state, be fixed in their faith regarding the state, and successfully emerge from the testing like gold tried by fire (or be rejected), he further adds that they must be tested in terms of their studies, the greatest focus of which must be the study of “the good” (505a). The good is defined as knowledge or intelligence, although he concedes that to most citizens the good is wrongly defined as pleasure. He also clarifies that knowledge is only “the good” when it is “knowledge of the good” (505b-505c). Although he declines to go into further detail in describing the good, he instead describes that which is “most nearly made in its likeness” (506e).

Thus he compares the good to the sun (that is, the form or idea of the good can be likened to the sun). So, as light and vision result from the sun but are not the sun itself, so knowledge and truth result from the good but are not the good itself (509a). Knowledge and truth are caused by the good (509e). Further, when the soul is focused on “the domain where truth and reality shine resplendent it apprehends and knows them and appears to possess reason” (508d), but otherwise it appears to lack reason.

Socrates now provides metaphysical detail. The physical world contains things which are likenesses of eternal forms (ideas). The study of physical likenesses has, to the philosopher, the goal of gaining insight “of those realities which can be seen only by the mind” (510e). To achieve this, the soul is “compelled to employ assumptions” (because of its “inability to extricate itself from and rise above its assumptions”) and must use the physical likenesses as proxies of the eternal forms which they are images of (511a). The dialectic is a tool or springboard which is used by the philosopher to contemplate the eternal (more detail regarding what the dialectic is will be provided later in the dialogue). Then as the philosopher contemplates (accesses) the eternal, the assumptions he originally relied on can now be replaced by first principles (511b-511d) which are only made evident to him once his mind has accessed the eternal realm.

Socrates briefly mentions that there are four sections in the soul: the highest is reason, followed by understanding, followed by belief, and finally conjecture (511d). He does not provide further detail on this until the latter part of Book VII.

It is perhaps unclear but to sum up Socrates’ categorization of the human soul, thus far in the dialogue he has said there are three kinds in the soul (rational, high spirited, and appetitive, as described in 440e-441a), four sections in the soul (as described immediately above), and five types of soul (which he will describe more fully in Book VIII).

Book VII opens with Plato’s cave analogy, where prisoners are held in bondage in semi-darkness and only able to perceive shadows and sounds (but not the sources of the shadows and sounds) and therefore have incomplete knowledge of reality. The philosopher is he who is able to temporarily emerge from the cave into the light and correctly perceive reality, but when tasked with explaining it to his fellow prisoners is not understood (514b-517d).

From this analogy Socrates is trying to show that the education he favors is the “art of the speediest and most effective shifting or conversion of the soul, not an art of producing vision in it, but in the assumption that it possesses vision but does not rightly direct it and does not look where it should” (518d). Education of this type would seek to bring the prisoner out of the cave and perceive the eternal forms (which are reality) and, ultimately, perceive the good. It is this education that the ruler-guardians must have if they are to preside over the state (519b).

Such rulers will not covet headship of the state, but rather will only rule because that is their duty, an “unavoidable necessity” (520e). Socrates now turns to answer the question of “what studies have the power to effect this” sort of education (521d), that is, the drawing away of the soul from the world of becoming to the world of being?

First, mathematics must be studied because it draws “the mind to essence and reality” (523a). Socrates seems to be emphasizing those areas of study (such as mathematics) which are ultimately focused on the intelligible rather than the visible (524e), that which provokes thought by impinging “upon the senses together with their opposites” thus awakening reflection (524d). Thought which attempts to answer contradiction, to judge between opposites, should be the focus of study to “convert the soul to the contemplation of true being”. At no point is Socrates advocating certain studies because they are practical or utilitarian in the conventional sense, quite the contrary. Mathematics “directs the soul upwards and compels it to discourse about pure numbers” (525e) and “employ pure thought with a view to truth itself” (526b).

Second, geometry must be studied because, like mathematics, it “compels the soul to contemplate essence” (526e). Third, solid geometry (three dimensional geometry), and fourth, astronomy. By astronomy he seems to mean something akin to Newton’s astronomy as opposed to an explorationist study of astronomy (530b). Finally (fifth), the study of harmonics is mandated but Socrates doesn’t provide much detail, he likely is referring to the study of notes and melody.

Socrates now returns to the concept of the dialectic, which he says is the only “way of inquiry that attempts systematically and in all cases to determine what each thing really is” (533b). Plato doesn’t fully describe what he means by “the dialectic” but surely to Plato it is at least a method of asking and answering questions in order to arrive at “the first principle itself” (533d). Thus the studies (mathematics, geometry, solid geometry, astronomy, and harmonics) which he advocates are really “helpers and cooperators” employed by the dialectic to arrive at the first principle (533d). Therefore the study of the dialectic is the highest of the studies (534e).

The four sections in the soul which Socrates briefly described in Book VI he now refines further: the highest, reason, can also be called science, followed by understanding, then belief, and finally conjecture. The first two (reason/science and understanding) concern themselves with the eternal (forms/ideas, essence, the world of being), the second two with generation (the physical, the world of becoming) (534a). The first two can together be called intellection, and the second two opinion.

Socrates pauses to summarize and refine his previous statements as to the nature and attributes which guardians/rulers ought to be selected for (535a-537c). He clarifies that the guardians will, as youths, be educated so that by age twenty the best may be selected for further studies. Then at the age of thirty, they are further selected to an elite which in turn are taught dialectics for five years and then given military command positions until the age of fifty at which point they will rule the state and study philosophy (537c-540a).

Book VIII returns to one of the earlier questions posed, which is the types of constitutions cities might follow: the royal, or aristocratic, model (which Socrates favors); the Cretan/Spartan model (which he later refers to as the Laconian model and then later refines as the timocratic model); oligarchy; democracy; and lastly, tyranny. He acknowledges that other models are conceivable, but still there are generally only five forms of government, and that since the individual and the state reflect each other, there must also be five types of individual soul (544e).

The truly good and just soul corresponds to the royal, or aristocratic, governmental form. In terms of character (descending downward) we then have the Laconian (Spartan/Cretan) form which corresponds to the contentious and covetous soul; then the oligarchical form; next the democratic form; and finally the tyrannical form, which is associated with the most unjust and base soul (545a).

Now in more detail Socrates examines each constitution (governmental form) and its corresponding individual soul-type, and also how a governmental form (and therefore also a soul-type) can devolve and deform into a lower form/type.

For example, a royal/aristocratic governmental form can devolve into a Laconian governmental form (this lower form of government is also called “timocracy” because it is based on the love of honor, which is not altogether evil but in no way compares with the royal/aristocratic governmental form which is based on the love of the good). This occurs when there is dissension in the ruling class. This “simple and unvarying rule” always explains revolution (545d).

The soul corresponding to timocracy is self-willed, lacking in culture, a lover of music and fond of listening to others talk and make speeches, harsh to slaves, gentle to the freeborn, submissive to rulers, lovers of office and honor, focused on warfare and devoted to gymnastics and hunting (549a), lacking in reason and becoming fixated on material wealth the older he gets. He becomes this way because, as a youth. while perhaps rightly guided by his father, yet his mother and other people in his life teach him to reject certain of his father’s ways, and so by falling into evil communications he comes to “a compromise and turns over the government of his soul to the intermediate principle of ambition and high spirit and becomes a man haughty of soul and covetous of honor” (550b).

Next, Socrates describes the devolution of timocracy to oligarchy (where the rich hold office and rule over the poor). The covetousness of wealth in the ruling class of the timocracy leads to its destruction. In their desire for money they pervert laws to enrich themselves and thus become lawless. The lawlessness then spreads throughout society. The more highly the ruling class regards money, the less highly they regard virtue, as if the two were on opposite sides of a scale. The wealthy thus become more highly honored, the good become less honored. The rich thus are put into office (551a).

Thus an oligarchical state becomes two rather than one, the rich and poor plotting each against the other, and unable to defend itself in war. The division of labor also is affected negatively, and citizens become unproductive, thievery increases and so does beggary (551d-552e).

On an individual level, sons in the timocracy observe their fathers being unjustly treated as the state becomes increasingly lawless, and their response is to elevate money in their hearts, thrusting out honor and virtue, and relegating “the rational and high spirited principles to crouch… as slaves, and will allow the one to calculate and consider nothing but the ways of making more money… and the other to admire and honor nothing but riches” (553d).

Such a man’s soul will become as follows: prizes wealth above everything; cheap, miserly; never turning his thoughts to true culture; having within himself an unjust nature but hiding it for fear of his possessions, trying instead to appear respectable; thrifty, stingy, and ultimately feeble as a competitor because he is afraid of losing his wealth (554a-555a).

Next, Socrates considers democracy. Oligarchies devolve into democracies because of the “insatiate greed for that which it set before itself as the good” (555c). The rich encourage licentiousness and other vices in order to separate people from their wealth (555d). The rich care for nothing “except the making of money” and thus become indifferent to virtue; they become soft, weak, and vulnerable to their enemies, as does the state itself. Eventually the poor deduce that they can defeat the rich, and so they do, dispersing their wealth and taking their office. Thus democracy comes into being. The citizens are now free to make plans to live as they would choose to, and the state becomes, as Socrates describes it, rather like anarchy (558c).

The making then, of the soul-type corresponding to democracy is as follows: the son of the oligarch, raised to value money to the point of being niggardly and denying all unnecessary desires, is tempted by worldly pleasures, and if he gives in to them will then also accept perverse opinions to justify his shameful behavior, becoming a hard-core rebel (560e-561c) “with no order or compulsion to his existence”. Living for the pursuit of pleasure, freedom, and happiness is his fixation.

And now Socrates describes the state of tyranny and the tyrant. First, tyranny is an “outgrowth of democracy” and the very thing it held to be the good (liberty) became its undoing. The excess of liberty leads to an “anarchic temper” throughout the culture even causing the father to “resemble the child… and the son likens himself to the father and feels no awe or fear of his parents” (562e) which “prepares the way for the necessity of a dictatorship” (562c). In short, rebellion rules to the point of near-anarchy, even affecting the seasons, the plants, the animals, and of course the very state itself (564a).

In the democracy there are three classes. The first is that which characterizes the failing oligarch state – the pleasure/happiness/freedom loving rebel. This becomes the dominating class, “and the fiercest part of it makes speeches and transacts business… so that everything with slight exceptions is administered by that class in such a state” (564e). The second is the “capitalistic class” which tends to be the most orderly and thrifty and therefore also the most wealthy, and thus becomes the target of the money-hungry ruling class. The third is the quiet masses who have relatively little property of their own but who are enlisted to support the ruling class as they plunder the capitalistic class (564e-565b). Inevitably then the tyrant emerges, first as a sort of protector to “make their city safe for the friends of democracy” but then later a “perfect and finished tyrant” (565d-566c).

This tyrant ruler stirs up wars intentionally “so that the people may be in need of a leader” and also to impoverish the citizens with war taxes to the extent they are so busy working to make money that they have no opportunity to rise against him. Inevitably opponents will arise but he will wipe them out (567b), eventually disposing of the rich, the wise, the brave, and any other soul who could oppose him. He then subjects the citizens to cruel servitude (569c).

The transition of the democratic soul-type to the tyrannical soul-type is as follows: the son of the democratic soul-type, swayed by temptations to lawlessness and evil pleasures, is tempted to see his role in life as to become the “protector of his idle and prodigal appetites” (573a), thus laying the foundation for his subsequent descent into tyranny.

The tyrannical soul-type exhibits the behavior of one who is insane or otherwise not in control of himself or his passions. Driven by his evil appetites he is withheld only by financial constraints, which he bypasses through theft, now having become fully subject to the “tyranny of his ruling passion” (574d). He refrains therefore from “no atrocity of murder nor from any food or deed” and lives “in utmost anarchy and lawlessness” (575a).

Such characters are “unjust to the last degree” and are willing to do anything to get what they want. “They are always either masters or slaves, but the tyrannical nature never tastes freedom or true friendship” (576a). The man who is the most evil is also the most miserable, says Socrates (576b). Therefore the most miserable man in the world must be the tyrant who becomes head of state (578c). Thus the most miserable man corresponds to the most miserable state.

Continuing the comparison of man to state, Socrates argues that the tyrannical man’s soul (like the tyrannical state) is overrun by its worst parts, while its best and most reasonable parts are subjected and kept down. Just as subjection, terror, slavery, and poverty characterize the tyrannical state, so too do they characterize the soul of the tyrannical man (577d-578a).

The tyrannical soul, as most evident in the tyrant ruler, lives his life in a prison of fears, terrors, and unfulfilled evil desires. He lives “cowering in the recesses of his house” and become increasingly envious, faithless, unjust, friendless, impious, iniquitous, and unhappy (581a).

In descending order of happiness then, are the citizens of the royal/aristocratic, timocratic, oligarchic, democratic, and tyrannical states (580b).

Returning to his previous thesis (described in 440e-441a), that the soul of man (like the state) consists of three kinds (or parts), which are the rational, the high spirited, and the appetitive, Socrates reasons that the soul can be further subcategorized as having three sorts of pleasures, three sorts of appetites, and three sorts of controls (580d).

The appetitive part sees money as the way to satisfy itself, thus it is also the money loving part. The high spirited part looks to honor and reputation and victory for satisfaction, and so also is the ambitious part. The rational part is the part which seeks learning, and looks to truth and wisdom for satisfaction, and is therefore the philosopher part (580e-581c).

It is, argues Socrates, the pleasures known to the philosopher-part of the soul which are the highest and most important pleasures. Therefore it is the philosopher who truly knows genuine pleasure and the absence of pain, whereas those who only know the appetitive pleasures don’t in fact know what real pleasure is because all they have experienced in their base pleasures is a temporary decrease in their pain; thus their pleasure is actually illusory (582a-583a). Thus Socrates says “the pleasure of that part of the soul whereby we learn is the sweetest, and the life of the man in whom that part dominates is the most pleasurable” (583a). That is, the philosopher is the most happy of all men.

This part of the soul, the philosopher-part, is intelligence, the seat of wisdom, and since wisdom has as its instrument justice, then the one who most possesses wisdom also is the most just. Therefore the man who is the most just is also the most happy (582d, 583a).

Pleasures other than those of intelligence are not real (583b), but are rather an illusion, and “the affections that find their way through the body to the soul and are called pleasures are, we may say… in some sort releases from pain” (584c). Thus on the pain-pleasure scale, all some people experience is the temporary movement away from pain to a less painful state, yet mistakenly view that state as pleasure when in fact they have not yet experienced real pleasure at all (585a).

Put another way, the satiation of bodily hunger seems like pleasure as it is a lessening of pain. But so much more pleasurable is the satiation of soul-emptiness (that is, ignorance and folly) by the nourishment of wisdom, which is more real and lasting. Wisdom, because it partakes in pure essence (the eternal and unchanging world of form, which is true reality), is more real than that (such as food) which we perceive through our senses. “If, then, to be filled with what befits nature is pleasure, then that which is more really filled with real things would more really and truly cause us to enjoy a true pleasure, while that which partakes of the less truly existent would be less truly and surely filled and would partake of a less trustworthy and less true pleasure” (585e).

Those who are fixated on fleshly pleasures are likened to cattle, “ever greedy for more of these delights, and in their greed kicking and butting one another… they slay one another in sateless avidity, because they are vainly striving to satisfy with things that are not real” (586b). It follows that the soul which is furthest away from wisdom is also furthest away from justice. The tyrant, being wholly given over to the satiation of his evil appetites, is such a soul as this. Thus the unjust tyrant is the man furthest removed from genuine pleasure (587b), and most fully acquainted with pain (587e).

If then, men can be likened to a creature which on the one hand has the attributes of a man but on the other hand those of a wild beast, it is the unjust man in his injustice who is enfeebling himself while making stronger the uncontrollable beast within him. Conversely it is the just man who has complete domination of the beast nature, even making it serve him (588e-598b).

It is Socrates’ view then that it is better for every citizen to be “governed by the divine and the intelligent, preferably indwelling and his own, but in default of that imposed from without” (590d). This statement explains much of the dialogue.

Socrates concludes Book IX by stating he has shown that in no way does the unjust man profit from his injustice, nor does he benefit by evading detection of his injustice (591b). Rather it is the just man who most benefits, and to this end the wise man will “prize the studies that will give this quality to his soul and disprize the others” (591c). Further he will bring his whole life into submission to this goal, keeping his eyes “fixed on the constitution in his soul” he will shun those people and those things which may “overthrow the established habit of his soul” (592a). His focus will be on that ideal city: “perhaps there is a pattern of it laid up in heaven for him who wishes to contemplate it and so beholding to constitute himself its citizen.”

Book X goes into more detail regarding Plato’s metaphysics. He speaks of physical objects as being reflections of their corresponding form (idea) in another realm (596b), and that the physical universe was made by a divine craftsman who produced “all plants and animals, including himself, and thereto earth and heaven and the gods and all things in heaven and in hades under the earth” (596c). He produced this creation as a reflection of the eternal realm of forms, as someone could be said to “create” a copy of something by holding a mirror up to it (596d). Therefore this creation, like a reflection, is only an appearance and not the reality. This craftsman/creator is not, in Plato’s metaphysics, an omniscient all-powerful God in the biblical sense.

The things in this realm, including the things which we make, are copies of forms/ideas in the eternal realm. This is the foundation for Socrates’ subsequent attack on the mimetic arts (poetry for instance) when used to produce “a product that is far removed from truth in the accomplishment of its task, and associates with the part in us that is remote from intelligence, and is its companion and friend for no sound and true purpose” (603b). Thus mimetic art engenders inferior offspring. The “artist” then, be it in poetry, literature, music or painting (as examples) is generally an imitator who “knows nothing worth mentioning of the things he imitates” (602b). Socrates here returns to the subject he was dealing with in Book IV regarding the power and danger of the “arts” to corrupt people, culture, and society (605c). Such artists should not be admitted to the state (607a-607c). It is not that the state should disallow all mimetic art. Rather, it would only allow that which accomplished the objectives of the well-governed state (607a).

Now Socrates goes further and makes it clear why the pursuit of virtue is of much greater importance than the rewards to be gained in this life. Beginning with the position (which he will defend) that our soul is immortal and never perishes (608d), Socrates defines evil as that which destroys and corrupts, and good as that which preserves and benefits (608e). This is consistent with his reasoning throughout the dialogue, and also echoes his statement in Book I that justice can’t mean ever harming anyone (335e).

Socrates now defends his claim of the immortality of the soul, asking “Do injustice and other wickedness dwelling in it (the soul), by their indwelling and attachment to it, corrupt and wither it till they bring it to death and separate it from the body?” (609d). He argues that, No, the soul is not (and cannot be) destroyed by anything natural (610e), and “since it is not destroyed by any evil whatever, either its own or alien, it is evident that it must necessarily exist always” and is therefore immortal (611a).

To know the soul’s true nature is in part a mystery, given its connection to the flesh and the physical realm, but when considered apart from these it can be known. Observing the soul’s love of wisdom, its apprehensions, “the associations for which it yearns” allows one to see its real nature (611c-612a).

Having concluded that justice is the best thing for the soul, affording it all the benefits both in this life and the next, Socrates argues that it must be true that whatever appears to happen to the just man in this life must ultimately prove to be to his benefit, both in this life and the next (613a). The just man will never be neglected by the divine because, in his practice of virtue, he is likening himself to the divine as far as that is possible, and therefore it “is reasonable… that such a one should not be neglected by his like” (613b).

Socrates ends the dialogue with a tale of the afterlife, of the unjust going to torment, and the just entering heaven, reinforcing his point that there are eternal consequences to man’s actions, be they just or unjust. He admonishes us to believe that the soul is immortal and “capable of enduring all extremes of good and evil” (621c), and to always pursue righteousness with wisdom, both for ourselves and for the divine, in expectation of reward, and “thus both here and in that journey of a thousand years, whereof I have told you, we shall fare well.”