Cephalus' Thinking of Justice

Cephalus does have a logical attitude towards the definition of justice, however, his perception of justice is very straightforward which cannot be applied to certain scenarios as Socrates points out. Since Cephalus is older, he reminisces about his past mistakes and is doing his utmost best to make up for those sins through his wealth and daily sacrifices to the gods. Before diving into the discussion of justice, Socrates was invited alongside Glaucon to Polemarchus' house and that was how the whole saga on what justice really was began. Cephalus elaborated to Socrates that he ought to come down to the Piraeus more often. Consequently, Socrates sees this as a great opportunity to learn more about the values of life, what it was like to be a wiser and now pious person who faces death at any point (Plato, 328a-329a).

"What do you suppose is the greatest good that you have enjoyed from possessing great wealth?", Socrates tries to intimidate Cephalus with respect to his thoughts on justice. Cephalus' response is humbling in that.

What I say wouldn't persuade many perhaps. For know well, Socrates, he said, that when a man comes near to the realization that he will be making an end, fear and care enter him for things to which he gave no thought before (Plato, 330e).

Cephalus goes on to explain how money played a role in expiating what wrong and unjust actions he had committed when he was younger. He believes that the men who are unjust, but consciously feel the guilt then indeed there is hope for that person. It is apparent that Cephalus is taking a piece wise approach towards justice as he believes there are always second hances for people to become good again.

Nevertheless, Socrates feels that he is not getting the truthful response from Cephalus and continues to question him. He provides a simple analogy to test Cephalus' full capacity on justice and to see whether his mindset on justice would change. Cephalus agrees that the person loaning the weapon should not return it while the owner is not in the right frame of mind and that would be a wise decision so as to protect himself and others from harm. As a result, Cephalus' definition of justice is simple and that is to tell the truth and pay back one's debt. Socrates believes that to follow that definition of justice goes against his analogy which would be to return the weapon to the rightful owner with no questions asked regardless of whether that person is in the right frame of mind.

With all the back and forth conversations that Cephalus had with Socrates in respect to the real representation of justice, my initial view point of Cephalus' thinking of justice stands. Cephalus has shown himself as someone who had committed mistakes in his early youth, and is now making up for those errors with his wealth. Additionally, with old age comes wisdom which was the main reason why Socrates drew up a conversation with him as he wanted to know more about the insides of life now that he is an old man who was facing death, and was someone who probably had a fair opinion of the real definition of justice.


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