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The concept of justice and what constitutes "just" behavior has been a topic of philosophical conversation for centuries. Indeed, famed Greek philosopher Plato made it the very focus of his 10-book epic The Republic, in which he endeavored not only to give a working definition of the word "justice", but also to provide examples of justice in society, in the city-states, and in humankind. What exactly is it that causes people to act in a just manner? What is the impetus for a city-state or a society to act justly, and is the definition of justice a one-size-fits-all notion? Plato sought to answer all of these questions while simultaneously seeking evidence from the time period to corroborate his responses.
The Republic is written in the form of a Socratic dialogue. In it, Socrates and other prominent figures of ancient philosophy are involved in conversations regarding these topics. This was an extremely popular genre of the time and exposed the ideologies of the philosophical greats of the time. Through these dialogues, Plato nears the end of his quest and muses that the proper upkeep of "justice" comes through the education of the citizens and the good standing of political figures as role models.