Polis 37 (2):317-337 (2020)

Previous commentators on Plato’s Republic have relied on mistaken assumptions about the requirements for Plato’s theory of justice: that Plato establishes a bi-conditional between proper psychic rule and the performance of conventionally just acts. They believe that if Plato does not establish this bi-conditional, then his theory of justice as a virtue will succumb to the fallacy of irrelevance. I claim Plato need not meet that requirement. A novel interpretation of the arguments of Book IV concerning justice in the soul suffices to dispense with one aspect of the bi-conditional – that conventional justice must imply justice as psychic harmony. Then, situating the theory of justice as psychic harmony in the context of the divided line, and in the dialectical ascent in the education of the philosopher-rulers, I show that the other conditional requirement – that justice in the soul must imply the performance of conventionally just actions – is also mistaken.
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DOI 10.1163/20512996-12340277
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