Group 8 Study Guide

The Republic
What it justice and why or why does it not matter?

  • Cephalus believes justice means to pay your debts; tell the truth
  • Socrates believes that justice is giving people what they need to make them better
                          • whos says what we need and what will make us better?
  • Polemarchus believes that justice is helping your friends and hurting your enemies
  • Thrasymachus believs justice is the rules and the strong makes the rules

*who are the strong and who says they are strong?

  • Glavcon believes that justice is like medicine, not good in itself but good for something else

What does it mean to be "good" or "bad"?

  • Good
                          • good in itself but not good for something else (candy)
                          • not good in itself but good for something else (medicine)
                          • good in itself and good for something else

Happiness= self-fulfillment

Should one be "just" or seem "just"?

  • Would you rather be the "just" man who everyone thinks is "unjust" or the "unjust" man who everyone thinks is "just"?
                                                • unjust person is never at peace
                          • Would you rather have flight or invisibility?
duties/principles behind actions
Utiltarianism-focuses on outcomes (ethical egoism)
  • Divine command theory
                          • How do you convince someone outside of your religion that your viewis right?
                          • Is it the right thing to do because God commands it or did God command it because its the right thing?

Three main approaches to ethics in Western Philosophy:

  • Actions- what should i do
  • Deontology- reasons why we act
  • Divine Command Theory- Gods commands are the one we should live by
                          • there is some way to unambiguously know the will of God
                          • Main reason why i act is because its the will of God

*consequentialism- outcomes of acts
* Character- who should i be

The Ethical Assassin


  • Lem-main character; encyclopedia salesman
  • Melford-the assassin
  • Karen and Bastard-couple that got killed by assassin
  • Jim Doe "crooked cop"
  • Bobby-Lem's boss
  • The Gambler, or Kenny Rogers-owner of the company Lem works for


  • Takes place in Florida
  • Lem is selling encyclopedias for the summer to make enough money to go to The University of Florida
  • Lem is selling in the backwoods of Florida, or the "redneck" parts where people have a lot of "moochie"


  • The book starts out with Lem out selling encyclopedias at Karen and Bastard's house
  • In chapter three, the setting changes to Jim Doe; he has a girl pulled over and it plotting to rape her;the girl turns out to be a reporter and she gets away before he actually rapes her.
  • Chapter four goes back to Lem at Karen and Bastard's house; The assassin comes in and kills them both, but does not kill Lem;the assassin gets all the evidence to frame Lem if he has to.
  • Lem gets picked up by Bobby, and he accidently gives Bobby Karen and Bastards incomplete sales papers, and now Bobby wants to go back to Karen and Bastard's hosue to make the sale
  • Lem and Bobby go back, but no one answers the door so they leave to head back to their hotel; once at the hotel, Lem notices the Assassin followed them there
  • The assassin confronts Lem asking him why he went back to Karen and Bastard's house; Lem explains that his boss wanted to go back to make the sale, and remembers that the checkbook Karen used to write the check would have his name in it
  • Lem and the Assassin go back to Karen and Bastard's house to retrieve the check with Lem's name, and as they drive by they see a cop outside standing with a crying girl; they go to a local bar to pass time and wait for the cop to leave
  • Once the cop leaves, Lem and the Assassin(Melford) does back to the house, and there they find a third dead body along with karen and bastard's dead bodies; while they're there the cop comes back with another man, so they hide in a closet
  • While they're hiding in the closet, the cop and the other man start to clean up the dead bodies and they start talking about Bastard; Lem realizes the other man is the Gambler, but he doesn't want to tell Melford he knows this; the two men clean up the bodies and the crime scene and make it look like the murder never happened.
  • Chapter 12 ends by karen's mother calling Jim Doe to tell him she found karen and bastard's dead bodies. Jim doe goes to meet karen's mother at karen and bastard's house, and Jim Doe ends up killing karen's mother, which is the third dead body that Lem and Melford find.


  • There are two stories going on here:The story of Lem and the story of the cop raping the girl. We don't know how these two stories fit together yet.
  • The assassin tells Lem that he killed Karen and Bastard becuase it was the Ethical thing to do, and that they deserved it. When Lem asks why they deserve it, Melford tells him that he will answer that question when Lem can answer the queston of why we have jails. The hole idea of Ideology come into play here and it is important to know what the assasin means by that question. (this discussion takes place on page 89-92 in the book)
  • The scene where Lem and Melford are in the bar is an important scene; it's when melford is making Lem become a vegetarian. (95-96)


  • based on the game theory - two people might not cooperate even if its in each own best interest
  • two prisoners have a choice to either cooperate or compete
  • if both cooperate they serve a really short time in jail
  • if one cooperates and the other competes the one who cooperated goes to jail
  • if both compete they both go to jail but for a short time but longer than if the cooperated

If there are multiple chances to cooperate or compete the best strategy is the tit-for-tat which is, you start by cooperating and on the next round you do what the other person did the last round

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