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Explain the lex talionis and Socrates' response to it.


The lex talionis is the classic statement of retaliatory justice.  It is the idea of "an eye for an eye."  This can be seen as a statement that revenge is right.  However, you can also see it as a statement that ONLY proportional revenge is right.  In other words, that you can only take an eye for an eye -- you can't take two eyes.

In either case, Socrates rejects lex talionis.  This is based on his idea that it is categorically wrong to do injustice to another.  Socrates argues that to harm another is necessarily to do injustice to them.  Therefore, no matter what has been done to you, you must not act unjustly in return.  Given his definition of injustice, this means that you cannot harm another, even if they have harmed you.

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