The Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy Newsletter

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Plato presents the enigmatic and ambiguous formula, "each one doing his own" as his definition of social justice. I will search for the sense that he establishes for that definition: to show how he thinks he has established that that unlikely formula is in fact a reasonable definition of social justice, and to analyze what it means. Plato's theory of justice has its primary sources in sophistic thinking, in particular to the contractarian approach to political philosophy.


Edward N. Lee presented “Plato’s Theory of Social Justice in Republic II-IV” at the meeting of the Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy with the American Philological Association in San Francisco in 1981. A revised version was published in John P. Anton & Anthony Preus, eds. 1989. Essays in Ancient Greek Philosophy, Vol. III: Plato, State University of New York Press, 117-140. That version has a Postscript that the author hopes the reader will also consult.

Edward Nichols Lee is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego.