Notes on The Republic Themes

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The Republic Topic Tracking: Excellence

Excellence 1: By harming a horse, you decrease his excellence. Thus, by harming a person, you decrease their excellence.

Excellence 2: Anything that has a function also has an excellence. Combined, it can be assumed that everything performs its function only if it has the corresponding excellence, and not evil. Using these hypotheses, Socrates moves on to say that the soul has a function, life, which no other thing can perform. Furthermore, it cannot perform its function if it is deprived of its excellence, justice.

Excellence 3: The guardians' storytellers must be supervised. In particular, no stories should be told where the gods are depicted poorly or heroes are misrepresented. Also, guardians must never be told that gods fight with each other as this may induce fighting between themselves. Thus, the first stories the guardians hear must be well composed for teaching excellence.

Excellence 4: There are four excellences in the city: justice, which is tending your own business, wisdom, temperance, and courage.

Excellence 5: Excellence must be the health and well being of the soul. Socrates says that excellence has one form, but evil has four.

Excellence 6: Excellence of understanding comes from something divine, whereas the other excellences are probably close to the body.

Excellence 7: If people despise money when young, but grow to love it more and more as they grow older and no longer devote themselves to excellence as the best guardian, the power of reasoned, educated speech, leaves them.

Excellence 8: . Because people want more and more possessions, they start wanting more money, and thus honor money more and excellence less. Accordingly, the wealthy become more honored, and the people of excellence less honored. With the majority now money-loving businessmen instead of lovers of victory and honor, the admirable rich men will be put into office, and the poor will be dishonored.

Excellence 9: Moneymakers can convince any person with any excellence left inside of him to become a money-lover by giving him money. In order to prevent this, a law is passed that most voluntary contracts be made at the contractor's own risk.

Excellence 10: The excellence and righteousness for each thing depend solely on the use for which it was created. This naturally means that the user has the most experience of it and must tell the maker how it works best.

Excellence 11: In the afterlife, people are instructed to choose the lives that they will next lead, in which excellence has no master, and they will have more or less of excellence according to how much they honor her.

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