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Other Vices & Virtues?

I just wanted to make a comment about a line in the reading that really jumped out at me in Book II.

Line 366 d: “…because of a lack of courage, or old age, or some other weakness, men blame injustice because they are unable to do it.”

The word “courage” really stood out to me in this sentence. Courage is typically seen as another virtue, but in this case, it almost acts as a vice. Adeimantus is suggesting that in order to do something unjust one has to have courage to do it. Why would a virtue assist a vice? Truth be told, I think it is more courageous to be just and more cowardly to be unjust. He seems to be making a comment on courage as well as justice.

On the surface, the main topic is justice. However, are there other vices and virtues that Plato is discussing in the Republic? I’ll certainly keep looking, and I’ll report back in class.

20 Responses to “Other Vices & Virtues?”

  1. khoneycutt says:

    I think the weakness (that is, the lack of strength or quality) here is the lack of courage, not courage itself (just as old age is a lack of youth or vitality). However, you are correct to assume that what we take to be virtues and vices will not always square with what is going to be proposed in the text. Lying, for instance, will have noble or at any rate medicinal benefits and is not simply a vice as such (contra Kant).

    On the note of courage in particular, keep an eye out. We are told at the very beginning of Book 2 that Glaucon is “always most courageous in everything” (2.357a), and we will be told later about a particular form of courage, i.e., philosophical courage. It will be a critical virtue for us to explore.

    KH

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