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 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.
In the Republic, Socrates starts the discussion with the definition of justice. When Thrasymachus angrily interrupts and gives his own definition, he in fact takes an opposite view on justice and argues that injustice is more advantageous and profitable. Glaucon and Adiemantus further develop Thrasymachus’ view with a theory of the nature and the origins of justice and claim that justice is desired only for the sake of rewards. In Amazing Grace, injustice happens every day at every corner of Mott Haven, yet there are still a lot of citizens trying to lead a just life. In the conflict between the authorities and the Mott Haven citizens, the ceaseless injustice in Mott Haven, and some people’s just acts, Thrasymachan view of justice is reflected.
In order to question and reassess Thrasymachus’ view of justice, in this essay, I will first bring up cases for Thrasymachus being accused of being contradictory and inconsistent in his view for justice. For the second part of the essay, I will provide a counterargument in order to prove Thrasymachus’ consistency followed by a discussion on Socrates’ own contradiction in regards to his account of the city.
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.
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
There are times in every mans life where our actions and beliefs collide—these collisions are known as contradictions. There are endless instances in which we are so determined to make a point that we resort to using absurd overstatements, demeaning language, and false accusations in our arguments. This tendency to contradict ourselves often questions our character and morals. Similarly, in The Trial of Socrates (Plato’s Apology), Meletus’ fallacies in reason and his eventual mistake of contradicting himself will clear the accusations placed on Socrates. In this paper, I will argue that Socrates is not guilty of corrupting the youth with the idea of not believing in the Gods but of teaching the youth to think for
In sections (352d-354b) of the book, “The Republic of Plato” by Allan Bloom, Socrates begins by arguing with Thrasymachus that the just life is the happiest and best (352e). He provides rhetorical appeal of logos and compelling arguments that all living things have a function. Socrates establishes a well-rounded statement to counter argue against Thrasymachus by including multiple statements on how the just life has virtue, while as unjust brings the opposite of happiness. He pieces together to puzzle that blocks Thrasymachus from understanding the correct rationality for the attributes that we possess.
Plato was an Ancient Greek philosopher who lived between 428-432 B.C. He wrote mainly in dialogues, to stay true to how Socrates communicated philosophy. Plato displayed what is considered Socrates’ philosophy throughout the dialogue The Apology. In The Republic, Socrates is mainly used as a mouthpiece to communicate Plato’s philosophy. Socrates follows a philosophy best explained as “I do not know”, whereas Plato tries to find the ultimate solution to philosophical problems. In this essay, I will argue how Socrates has the best philosophical approach compared to that of Plato.
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 Republic Book 1, Thrasymachus argues that morality is the advantage of the stronger. To support his view, Thrasymachus first claims that the governments, which are the stronger parties, always pass laws based on their own interest, and then argues that subjects must always obey these laws, therefore morality is the advantage of the stronger. Socrates gives two sets of counter arguments. First, by differentiating apparent advantage and actual advantage to the stronger, Socrates argues that the obedience to the laws by the subjects can be occasionally not in the actual interest of the rulers. Second, by claiming that all craftsmen only consider the welfare of the recipients of expertise instead of their own interest,
In Book I of the Republic, Plato examines whether injustice is more profitable than justice. Thrasymachus claims that statement to be true so Socrates sets out to show that justice is stronger and more powerful than injustice. Also, that a just person is happy while an unjust person is unhappy. Socrates establishes right before with Thrasymachus that injustice is wisdom and virtue while injustice is ignorance. From this, Socrates believes it will be easily shown that justice is stronger. In this paper, I will begin by examining Socrates’ weaker argument that says a just person is happy. Here, he claims that the virtue of a soul is justice, and the soul has multiple functions that can only be performed well through justice. However, this