Philosophy Essay, Research Paper
There exists a story, about a certain Ring of Gyges. In short form, the story goes like this: A man happened upon a ring on the finger of a corpse inside of a hollow bronze horse. He took the ring from the corpse and put it on his finger. He continued to wear it as a regular ring, until the night of his monthly meeting to discuss the state of his flocks. He turned the setting of the ring toward himself to the inside of his hand. When he did this, he became invisible and those around him continued to talk, as if he wasn t there. To verify whether or not he was really invisible, he turned the ring back to the outside and was visible again. This intrigued him, and he devised a plan to use it to his advantage. He connived himself into employment as one of the king s messengers. He seduced the queen and killed the king, and ultimately ruled the kingdom.
Invisibility is something that we all would love to have the ability to do. It would save certain social situations, it could allow you to get anything you desired, and it could save on airline airfare. But thinking on a larger degree, what would happen if the world had this ability? Socrates was presented a similar challenge: what would happen if two rings were available-one was worn by a just person, and the other was worn by an unjust person. Now, it s pretty obvious that freedom is very prevalent here. No one or nothing could stop you or stand in your way. So what would happen? Socrates is put to the test to answer this question, and we re going to see what he has to say and why.
One must have a bit of a background on justice and injustice. Socrates basically says that it is better in every way to be unjust, than it is to be just. He says, They say that to do injustice is naturally good and to suffer injustice bad, but that the badness of suffering it so far exceeds the goodness of doing it that those who have done and suffered injustice and tasted both, but who lack the power to do it and avoid suffering it, decide that it is profitable to come to an agreement with each other neither to do injustice nor to suffer it. Consequently, laws and limitations are set, and what these laws and limitations call for is referred to as just and lawful. From what I see, I think that these laws and limitations are derived from both justice and injustice. We set these rules because we don t want to suffer from the injustice, however we want to live by it because it is better to live by.