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.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote “One man’s justice is another’s injustice.” This statement quite adequately describes the relation between definitions of justice presented by Polemarchus and Thrasymachus in Book I of the Republic. Polemarchus initially asserts that justice is “to give to each what is owed” (Republic 331d), a definition he picked up from Simonides. Then, through the unrelenting questioning of Socrates, Polemarchus’ definition evolves into “doing good to friends and harm to enemies” (Republic 332d), but this definition proves insufficient to Socrates also. Eventually, the two agree “that it is never just to harm anyone” (Republic 335d). This definition is fundamental to the idea of a
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.
The debate moves on as Thrasymachus tries to define justice. Thrasymachus makes two critical points in his argument. He first says that justice is the advantage of the stronger. Thus the rulers govern on their own behalf. However Socrates shows that in fact the rulers are at the mercy of their subjects and make decisions that can be good or bad for the people and it is the right of the people to follow these actions or not. He states that "no knowledge considers or prescribes for the advantage of the stronger, but for that of the weaker, which it rules." [342d]
In The Republic, the great philosopher Plato attempts to reveal through the character and dialogues of Socrates that justice is better when it is the good for which men must strive for, regardless of whether they could be unjust and still be rewarded. His method is to use dialectic, the asking and answering of questions. This method leads the audience from one point to another, supposedly with indisputable logic by obtaining agreement to each point before going on to the next, therefore, building an argument.
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
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.
The subject matter of the “Republic” is the nature of justice and its relation to human existence. Book I of the “republic” contains a critical examination of the nature and virtue of justice. Socrates engages in a dialectic with Thrasymachus, Polemarchus, and Cephalus, a method which leads to the asking and answering of questions which directs to a logical refutation and thus leading to a convincing argument of the true nature of justice. And that is the main function of Book I, to clear the ground of mistaken or inadequate accounts of justice in order to make room for the new theory. Socrates attempts to show that certain beliefs and attitudes of justice and its nature are inadequate or inconsistent, and present a way in which those
In Plato’s works Apology and Crito there is an attempt by Socrates to defend himself in court and defend his choice to receive the death penalty when found guilty. Although he makes very valid and strong arguments throughout one can only wonder why such a wise person would choose death over life. The following essay will analyze three quotes from Apology and Crito, find the correlation between them, and reveal any flaws that may exsist inside these arguments made by Socrates.
The Republic of Plato Book I begs the question, what is justice and what does it mean to be just. Socrates and Thrasymachus argue back and forth about the true meaning of justice throughout the book. Although Socrates is younger than Thrasymachus, he seems to have the most credible arguments. Thrasymachus continually argues in vanity due to his old age, and is continually proved wrong by Socrates on multiple occasions. Thrasymachus even goes as far as blushes (350d) from the embarrassment of ignorance. One of the main disputes between the two is when Socrates argues against Thrasymachus’ idea of justice being the advantage of the strong by indirectly arguing that justice is instead a virtue.
This paper argues that Socrates makes a plausible case for justice. Socrates raised two main questions in the first two books of Plato’s Republic, what is justice? And why should we act justly? Thrasymachus and Glaucon both have different and more negative views of justice than Socrates. Throughout books one and two, Socrates, Glaucon and Thrasymachus go back and forth discussing the definition and application of justice in society. He starts his discussions with Glaucon and Thrasymachus by stating simply, “What is justice?”
Justice is often used interchangeably by the people; in short, everyone has their personal view of what is just or what is unjust. Essentially, justice is frequently compared with the word “fairness” because we would like to think we are being treated fairly and equally. However, there is ambiguity on the standard of what justice is and how it is enforced by the people. For instance, in The Republic of Plato, the concept of justice is perceived as a just behavior that is not influenced by personal feelings. On the contrary, Thrasymachus declares justice as nothing more than the advantage of the stronger (Bloom 15). In essence, Thrasymachus argues that just behavior works in favor of those who are stronger. For instance, in the political sphere,
What is the nature of Justice according to Socrates (Plato) in BK II of the Republic?
The first point of what Socrates answers what isn’t justice is that justice isn’t equality. It is not after death of getting revenge that makes justice equal. Socrates uses the example of how when a person is on trial for murder, and how that person sentence is death. The end result will not be justice, because in the end both the criminal and already the innocent will be dead and no equality of justice would have been done at all. Another example is when a person is put to death when they owe taxes. There is no equal justice to killing someone who owes taxes because in the end result, the tax is still not paid off. So this leaves Justice is not paying amends. It is then moved to the question of when is justice is used. Justice is used when
In the Republic, Plato puts forward multiple theories on justice. The main character in his story is Socrates, a philosopher. Socrates sets out with the premise to answer two questions: What is justice? And why should we be just? He follows by expressing many different views through various characters in his story. Many of the propositions of justice that Plato puts forward end up