Essay on Socrates vs Thrasymachus

1653 WordsOct 31, 20127 Pages
Any argument relies upon some fundamental agreement about the issue being discussed. However great the divide in opinion may be, there must exist at least some similarity in the participants’ manner of viewing the issue if a solution is ever to be reached. Book One of Plato’s Republic features a disagreement between Socrates and Thrasymachus about the nature of justice. The disaccord between their views of the subject is extremely pronounced, but there are certain underlying agreements which guide the course of the debate. One way to evaluate the validity of the arguments involved is to examine whether the assumptions at the root of the argument are in accord with this common ground. By my reading of the dialogue, Socrates’ reply to the…show more content…
Thus this definition of ruling forms some part of the common ground I have previously mentioned. Although an objection such as this may affect the objective validity of the argument, it is important to keep in mind the fact that Socrates is not attempting to create an incontestable definition of justice at this point. He is merely answering an invalid argument by demonstrating its weaknesses in terms which correspond to Thrasymachus’ perspective. Agitated by Socrates’ line of reasoning, Thrasymachus proceeds to blurt out a revised version of his original statement. Thrasymachus claims that injustice is freer and stronger than justice and that it results in a happier life. As in the former definition, he does not consider so much what justice is as what it does; he rates the subject in regards to its advantageousness or lack thereof. Essentially, this definition is an extreme extension of the previous one. Also, the example he uses for support – that of a tyrant made powerful and thus happy through injustice – hearkens back to his initial definition as ruling being the advantage of the stronger. It is clear that Thrasymachus has not been convinced by Socrates’ last argument, despite his apparent agreement with Socrates’ points. He is arguing in different terms, but in actual substance this new development is little more than a bare contradiction of
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