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“Listen then,” said I, “and learn if there is anything in what I say. For what we laid down in the beginning as a universal requirement when we were founding our city, this I think, or1 some form of this, is justice. And what we did lay down, and often said, you recall, was that each one man must perform one social service in the state for which his nature is best adapted.” “Yes, we said that.” “And again that to do one's own business and not to be a busybody is justice, [433b] is a saying that we have heard from many and have often repeated ourselves.2” “We have.” “This, then,” I said, “my friend, if taken in a certain sense appears to be justice,3 this principle of doing one's own business. Do you know whence I infer this?” “No, but tell me,” he said. “I think that this is the remaining virtue in the state after our consideration of soberness, courage, and intelligence, a quality which made it possible for them all to grow up in the body politic and which when they have sprung up preserves them as long as it is present. And I hardly need to remind you that4 [433c] we said that justice would be the residue after we had found the other three.” “That is an unavoidable conclusion,” he said. “But moreover,” said I, “if we were required to decide what it is whose indwelling presence will contribute most to making our city good, it would be a difficult decision whether it was the unanimity of rulers and ruled or the conservation in the minds of the soldiers of the convictions produced by law as to what things are or are not to be feared, or the watchful intelligence [433d] that resides in the guardians, or whether this is the chief cause of its goodness, the principle embodied in child, woman, slave, free, artisan, ruler, and ruled, that each performed his one task as one man and was not a versatile busybody.” “Hard to decide indeed,” he said. “A thing, then, that in its contribution to the excellence of a state vies with and rivals its wisdom, its soberness, its bravery, is this principle of everyone in it doing his own task.” “It is indeed,” he said. “And is not justice the name you would have to give5 to the principle that rivals these as conducing to [433e] the virtue of state?” “By all means.” “Consider it in this wise too6 if so you will be convinced. Will you not assign the conduct of lawsuits in your state to the rulers?” “Of course.” “Will not this be the chief aim of their decisions, that no one shall have what belongs to others7 or be deprived of his own? Nothing else but this.” “On the assumption that this is just?” “Yes.” “From this point of view too, then, the having8 and doing

1 Cf. on 344 E. Justice is a species falling under the vague genus τὸ ἑαυτοῦ πράττειν, which Critias in the Charmides proposed as a definition of σωφροσύνηCharmides 161 B), but failed to sustain owing to his inability to distinguish the various possible meanings of the phrase. In the Republic too we have hitherto failed to “learn from ourselves” its true meaning, till now when Socrates begins to perceive that if taken in the higher sense of spiritual division of labor in the soul and in the state, it is the long-sought justice. Cf. 433 B-D, 443 C-D.

2 This need not refer to any specific passage in the dialogues. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, n. 236. A Greek could at any time say that minding one's own business and not being a busybody is σῶφρον or δίκαιον or both.

3 τρόπον τινὰ γιγνόμενον: as in the translation, not “justice seems somehow to be proving to be this.” Cf. 432 E, 516 C, Lysis 217 E, Laws 910 B, 495 A, 596 D, Goodwin, Moods and Tenses, 830. Yet, Cf. Politicus 291 D.

4 καίτοι: cf. on 360 C and 376 B. Here it points out the significance of τὸ ὑπόλοιπον if true, while ἀλλὰ μέντοι introduces the considerations that prove it true.

5 γε argues from the very meaning of ἐνάμιλλον. Cf. 379 B.

6 So Phaedo 79 Eὅρα δὴ καὶ τῇδε. It introduces a further confirmation. The mere judicial and conventional conception of justice can be brought under the formula in a fashion (πῃ), for legal justice “est constans et perpetua voluntas ius suum cuique tribuens.” Cf. 331 E and Aristotle Rhet. 1366 b 9ἔστι δὲ δικαιοσύνη μὲν ἀρετὴ δι᾽ ἣν τὰ αὑτῶν ἕκαστα ἔχουσι, καὶ ὡς νόμος.

7 τἀλλότρια: the article is normal; Stallb. on Phaedrus 230 A. For the ambiguity of τἀλλότρια cf. 443 D. So οἰκείου is one's own in either literal or the ideal sense of the Stoics and Emerson, and ἑαυτοῦ is similarly ambiguous. Cf. on 443 D.

8 ἕξις is still fluid in Plato and has not yet taken the technical Aristotelian meaning of habit or state.

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