Essay on Plato's Response to Thrasymachus' Immoralist View of Justice

1491 Words6 Pages
Plato's Response to Thrasymachus' Immoralist View of Justice In Book 1 of the ‘Republic’, Socrates, in answer to the question ‘What is Justice?’ is presented with a real and dangerous alternative to what he thinks to be the truth about Justice. Julia Annas believes Thrasymachus thinks Justice and Injustice do have a real existence that is independent of human institutions; and that Thrasymachus makes a decided commitment to Injustice. She calls this view ‘Immoralism’: “the immoralist holds that there is an important question about justice, to be answered by showing that injustice is better.” This essay identifies this ‘Immoral’ view before understanding if and how Plato can respond to it. How does Plato attempt to refute…show more content…
Confusion lies in Thrasymachus’s argument; can Plato adequately respond to Thrasymachus? Inconsistency creeps into Thrasymachus’s argument, a) that Justice is in the interest of the stronger, and b) justice is another’s good, concluding that Justice is confined to the weaker. This view is demolished when Thrasymachus claims that a ruler can be either just or unjust; the inconsistency cannot be resolved. The two possibilities coincide in the weaker person not the stronger. As he favours injustice as the pursuit of one’s own interest, to paraphrase Cross, when Thrasymachus thinks about the just and unjust ruler, it is in terms of another’s good rather than in the interest of the stronger. Socrates agrees with Thrasymachus: “what is right is an interest.” , but he reveals the inconsistency between obeying the rulers and what promotes the rulers’ interests by introducing a ‘wrong law’. With Thrasymachus’s admission that Rulers are not infallible another dilemma appears. Must a subject disobey a wrong law, thus serving the rulers interest, or obey it and disobey the ruler’s interests? He later states that in the true sense, a ruler that is mistaken is not really a ruler; similarly a mistaken doctor ceases in the true sense to be a doctor. Thus, a ruler/expert can never be wrong about his interests, as when mistaken they cease to be an expert. Hence, Thrasymachus

More about Essay on Plato's Response to Thrasymachus' Immoralist View of Justice

Open Document