In The Republic, the great philosopher Plato attempts to reveal through the character and dialogues of Socrates that justice is better when it is the good for which men must strive for, regardless of whether they could be unjust and still be rewarded. His method is to use dialectic, the asking and answering of questions. This method leads the audience from one point to another, supposedly with indisputable logic by obtaining agreement to each point before going on to the next, therefore, building an argument.
Interestingly about the work of Socrates is that its not known very well, since nothing was recorded during his time. Everything that we know about Socrates has come through the writings of his greatest pupil, Plato. Socrates was a man that revolutionized philosophy and how to approach his surroundings. One of Socrates greatest findings as a philosopher was that he admitted that he knew nothing, which to others, specifically the Delphic Oracle led them to believe that there were none wiser than Socrates. Socrates techniques as a philosopher came about with his abilities to question others. His line of questioning, to see why everything had a purpose drew a crowd of younger people, which leads us to The Republic, where Socrates encounters some questions for him.
Socrates had two young listeners posing questions of whether justice is stronger than injustice, and what each does to a man? What makes the first good and the second bad? In answering this question, Socrates deals directly with the philosophy of the individual's goodness and virtue, but also binds it to his concept of the perfect state, which is a republic of three classes of people with a rigid social structure and little in the way of amusement.
Although Socrates reiterates the concept of justice over and over again it all comes to his discourse on the perfect city-state, which seems a bit off the mark, considering his original subject. However, one of Socrates’ main points is that goodness is doing what is best for the common. It is greater good as opposed to that of individual happiness. There is a real sense in which his philosophy turns on the concepts of virtue, and his belief that ultimately virtue is its own reward. His first major point is that justice is an excellence of character. He then seeks agreement that no excellence is achieved through destructive means. The function of justice is to improve human nature, which is essentially productive. Therefore, at a minimum, justice is a form of goodness that cannot be involved in being disruptive of one’s character. In short, justice is a virtue, a human excellence. His next point is that acting in accordance with excellence brings happiness. Then he ties excellence to one's function. His examples are those of the senses: Each sensory organ is excellent if it performs its function, as the eye sees, the ear hears. Therefore, the just...