Essay on The Republic of Plato: The Debate

1390 Words 6 Pages
Thrasymachus, Polemarchus, Cleitophon, and Socrates’ heated debate over the nature of justice in Book 1 of The Republic of Plato comes to an intriguing point of argument wherein both parties go back and forth over justice being the “advantage of the stronger”(15). It is clear that Socrates presents a more sound and logical counterargument as he calls upon the duties and abilities of professionals in their fields and how they benefit not only themselves but humanity at large as well. His skill in argument serves him well and the clear victor in the debate as the textual evidence is easily observable both in Plato’s presentation of the squabble and in Thrasymachus’ responses.
Thrasymachus begins this debate by claiming, “the just is
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Irritated by the changing direction Socrates has steered the argument, Thrasymachus continues with his berating of Socrates, calling him a “sycophant in arguments” (18). This malice embedded in Thrasymachus’ speech further hinders his desire to sway the argument back in his favor.
Thrasymachus now begins his attempt o dismantle Socrates proposition, by counter-arguing that the mistakes of a professional does not define his profession. He mentions the professions of doctors, grammarians, craftsmen, wise men, and rulers, noting that they make mistakes not by the nature of their work or profession, but “on account of a failure in knowledge” (18). In the case of a ruler for example, when making a mistake, which serves to his own disadvantage, is not acting as a ruler at the particular moment where he is at fault. Thus, as Thrasymachus explains, the man who makes mistakes is not the stronger, but “the ruler, insofar as he is a ruler, does not make mistakes…[and] sets down what is best for himself” (18). Socrates then seems to take advantage of Thrasymachus’ apparent frustration and anger, adequately derailing his argument. By questioning Thrasymachus’ previous slander towards him, and engaging in a short debate on that front, Socrates provokes him into uttering more non-topical defamation of his opponent in debate, further destroying his credibility and convincing in his overall argument. After refocusing the

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