Ethical Egoism In Plato's The Republic

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In Plato’s The Republic, Socrates tries to explain the value of justice to man. Other educated Athenians challenge him, however Socrates pokes holes in all of their statements. Socrates argues that there are many problems with their views on social philosophy, especially when it comes to Thrasymachus’ idea of ethical egoism. Plato delivers his view of justice through Socrates when he responds to Thrasymachus, Glaucon, and Cephalus on the issue. Throughout the discussion, Plato never argues against the egoism within humans, however he objects to the idea that the unjust man is better off then the just man; he believes that in order to reach eudaimonia justice is the self-interest that all men must follow. First to understand Plato’s argument there has to be an understanding of Thrasymachus’ argument of ethical egoism. Ethical egoism states that our actions must be done from the perspective of self-interest. Thrasymachus believes that the unjust man is better off then the just man and that man should act as to benefit himself. This, in Socrates’ eyes is incorrect because of the problems it causes within a society. While Thrasymachus thinks that a moral man is one who acts with self-interest, Socrates thinks the opposite; a moral man is just. This is the political problem that is brought about by ethical egoism. Plato does not argue against the idea of it, but revises what the actual definition is. The main problem that ethical egoists like Thrasymachus pose to philosophers

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