To start with, Thrasymachus argues that it is profitable to act unjustly and harmful to act justly. When Thrasymachus first defines justice as nothing other than the advantage of the stronger, he refers to the ruler, which is the stronger, and the ruled (Plato, 338c). In this context, he believes that the ruling party in any type of regime – tyranny, democracy, or aristocracy – makes laws to its own advantage and defines the acts to its disadvantage as unjust (338d – 339a). For the subjects it is just to obey the laws and serve the ruler’s interest, so if there is a conflict between the interests of the ruler and the subjects, the ruler seeks what benefits itself through laws
On the first point of violence, Socrates sees no justice in its practice. In conversation with Crito, they establish that doing any person an injustice is wrong. They also establish that injustice is equated to the infliction of injury. Thus, in true Socratic logic, “one ought not to return an injustice or an injury to any person, whatever the provocation” (Crito, 88c). Socrates is
In Book I, Thrasymachus straightforwardly states that “justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger” (Plato, 338c). He then defends his account in two arguments. The first argument is that the people who have more power get to decide the rules, and those in decision are simply ruling to their own advantages. This statement is supported by the example of ruling a city. According to Thrasymachus, cities are ruled differently by their natures. Democracy rules in a democratic fashion, meaning the laws favor the majority of the people; tyranny makes tyrannical laws, which favor the tyranny; and so on with the other ones. Nonetheless, what in common is that no matter what the laws are, the rulers declare what they have made to be just for their subjects, which in fact is to their own advantages. Since acting in accordance to the laws is just, those who behave in a
First, throughout Book I, Plato seems to portray Thrasymachus as a vigorous character who wants to overcome and achieve rhetorical victory over Socrates. As Plato illustrates, “Even in the middle of our conversation Thrasymachus had repeatedly tried to take control of the discussion” (Plato, 336b) and as soon as Socrates ends his discussion in finding the true definition of justice with Polemarchus, “he gathered himself and sprang at us, like a wild beast at its prey” and enters into the discussion (Rep. 336b). However, unlike his zeal to achieve victory over Socrates, Thrasymachus is continuously rebutted by Socrates which views Thrasymachus’ arguments inconsistent and self-contradictory for his definition of justice. Initiating his discussion with Socrates, Thrasymachus brings up his account of justice. Thrasymachus insists, “I say that justice is simply what is good for the stronger” (Rep. 338c). Also, later on in his discussion with Socrates, he provides another claim for his view of justice, that “justice and the
In the Dialogue Crito, Socrates employs his Elenchus to examine the notion of justice and one’s obligation to justice. In the setting of the dialogue, Socrates has been condemned to die, and Crito comes with both the hopes and the means for Socrates to escape from prison. When Socrates insists that they should examine whether he should escape or not, the central question turns into whether if it is unjust to disobey laws. Socrates’ ultimate answer is that it is unjust; he makes his argument by first showing that it’s wrong to revenge injustice, then arguing that he has made an agreement with the city’s law for its benefits, and finally reasoning that he
Plato’s account of Socrates’ defense against charges of corrupting the youth and heresy, reveal the ancient teacher’s view of justice as fairness and support of rule of law. In the Apology, Socrates faces a moral dilemma: to either accept his punishment for crimes he did not commit or to accept the assistance of his friends and escape death by the hand of the state. His choice to accept death in order to maintain rule of law reveals his belief of justice. He beliefs his punishment to be just not because he committed the crimes but because his sentence came through a legal process to which he consented. By sparing his life, he would weaken the justice system of Athens which he values above his own existence. This difference between the two men’s beliefs regarding justice draws the sharpest contrast in their views of effective leadership and government.
Before analysing the strengths and weaknesses of Thrasymachus’s argument we must look at a key fault in his definition, which is he doesn’t give one. Instead of defining justice he ends up describing it. Thrasymachus says that justice is in “the advantage of the established ruling body” but does not define what justice is. The conversation
Socrates placed his philosophical way of thinking above the laws; therefore his moral conviction to always to the right thing led him to follow them and in turn he demonstrated that he had chosen the path with the justest decision. The laws of the time had convicted Socrates of impiety, therefore inherently the law did not agree with him. Although there is great respect between the two entities of citizen and law, they do not automatically agree with each other, rather both are constantly in a pursuit to promote justice. What the citizen's version of justice might be may differ entirely than the law, showing Socrates independence and superiority to the law but respect to the greater good of society and the
Socrates responds to Thrasymachus’ argument that justice is what is advantageous for the stronger by saying that justice is actually what is advantageous for the weaker. He gives an example of a horse trainer. The horse trainer is obviously the superior of the two and in charge of the horse but it does what is advantageous to the horse not himself. The same goes for a doctor who does what is good for his patients and a captain does what is advantageous for his sailors.
The Republic presents two very different views of justice as argued by two skilled thinkers. The beginning of the discussion starts off with Thrasymachus explaining what exactly he believes justice is; “justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger.” (338c) Although Thrasymachus’ definition is clear, Socrates attempts to spite him by using a wild comparison, by saying “If Polydamamas, the pancratiast, is stronger than we are and beef is advantageous for his body, then this food is also advantageous and just for us who are weaker than he is.” (338c) This statement from Socrates disgusts Thrasymachus because Thrasymachus was simply referring to “stronger” in the sense of being a ruler, not strong in the sense of being physically larger. To counter Socrates, Thrasymachus explains how different societies are ruled throughout the world whether it be tyrannically, democratically, or otherwise, and how the rulers, those who are strongest, are the ones who make the laws and they do so to their advantage. Thrasymachus establishes this by saying how, “A democracy sets down democratic laws; a tyranny, tyrannic laws; and the others do the same.” (338e) It is clear from this line of reasoning that Thrasymachus has a solid position that justice is, rightly or wrongly, the enforcement of the rule of law as dictated by the “strong leaders” that make the law.
ABSTRACT. This paper seeks to reject Socrates ' arguments against Thrasymachus ' account of the just and unjust in Plato 's Republic, and, in doing so, show that Thrasymachus ' account is in fact a coherent and plausible account of justice. I begin by describing the context of Socrates and Thrasymachus ' argument and what it would take for Socrates to overcome the Thrasymachian account. I then describe the Thrasymachian account and argue for its coherence. I attack the Socratic method of deconstructing Thrasymachus ' argument and show that Thrasymachus true argument remains unaddressed throughout the course of the their exploration and Republic as a whole. I conclude that Thrasymachus – although himself unaware – succeeds in proposing a plausible and defensible account of justice and that Socrates misleads both Thrasymachus and the reader to advance his own conception of justice.
Polus can't believe this claim and asks Socrates why it is that he would rather suffer injustice than inflict it. Socrates says that he believes that, "…doing what's unjust is actually the greatest of evils." If we are going too morally suffer for deeds that we saw fit, it is actually worse than suffering at the hands of someone else. By inflicting injustice on others we do not use our power intelligently and morally hurt ourselves, and therefore are
Though defeated on this point, he's not yet satisfied with Socrates' argument, and sticks by one of his previously stated views which held that injustice is more profitable than justice. However, he shrinks back and seems no longer able to speak for himself after Socrates refuted his argument on justice. Despite his withdrawal from the argument throughout the rest of the Republic, his early ideas help lead Socrates farther on his search for justice through the construction of a hypothetical just city. In describing the education of the guardians of this city, Socrates discusses the need for a balance between gymnastics and poetry. He relates how too much gymnastics lead the spirited part of someone to be overtightened and hard. "He'll be museless and hate discussion" explains Socrates. This hardness and hate for discussion reminds us of the actions of Thrasymachus at the beginning of the argument defining justice. Thrasymachus becomes an example of a "badly tuned soul" that Socrates goes on to describe.
In Plato’s The Republic, we, the readers, are presented with two characters that have opposing views on a simple, yet elusive question: what is justice? In this paper, I will explain Thrasymachus’ definition of justice, as well as Socrates’s rebuttals and differences in opinion. In addition, I will comment on the different arguments made by both Socrates and Thrasymachus, and offer critical commentary and examples to illustrate my agreement or disagreement with the particular argument at hand.
Plato creates a seemingly invincible philosopher in The Republic. Socrates is able to refute all arguments presented before him with ease. The discussion on justice in Book I of The Republic is one such example. Socrates successfully refutes each different view of justice presented by Cephalus, Polemarchus, and Thrasymachus. Socrates has not given us a definitive definition of justice, nor has he refuted all views of justice, but as far as we are concerned in Book I, he is able to break down the arguments of his companions.