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Minding One

            In this paper I will convey to the reader what Socrates means by his definition of justice when he says, “Minding one’s own business”. In Plato’s Republic, Socrates was asked by his friend Glaucon what were his ideas of a perfect and just city and how it could be attained. Throughout the text, Socrates and his companions had been getting close to what “justice” really was and in essence had been going through a process of elimination of what “justice” wasn’t. Socrates then gave his definition of justice by simply saying one should mind their own business (433b). So explaining this definition of “justice” will hopefully find meaning of this statement at the individual citizen’s level as well as the entire community’s or polis’s level. These two levels of justice go hand in hand with one another and are aimed at creating the perfect living environment, individually as well as collectively. .
             Now coming from an individual basis, the idea of justice in that “minding one’s business” is the foundation and basis of what the city is and can be. Without these beliefs in the individual, there can be no fluidity in the community. Socrates is trying to tell us that if a certain individual can’t go about their business as part of the collective, he or she is not fulfilling their duty as a citizen. Socrates calls these people “busybodies”, and he is saying that one who didn’t buy into minding their own business is doing injustice. Another individual characteristic of minding one’s business is the idea of no one having what is not theirs, and also that no one should have something taken that is rightfully theirs (433e). This statement covers the moral issue to an extent. Until this point, the gray area of moral legislation had not been not addressed by Socrates.

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