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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,

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.

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