Essay on Thrasymachus’ Views on Justice

939 WordsJul 22, 20094 Pages
The position Thrasymachus takes on the definition of justice, as well as its importance in society, is one far differing from the opinions of the other interlocutors in the first book of Plato’s Republic. Embracing his role as a Sophist in Athenian society, Thrasymachus sets out to aggressively dispute Socrates’ opinion that justice is a beneficial and valuable aspect of life and the ideal society. Throughout the course of the dialogue, Thrasymachus formulates three major assertions regarding justice. These claims include his opinion that “justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger,” “it is just to obey the rulers,” and “justice is really the good of another […] and harmful to the one who obeys and serves.” Socrates…show more content…
Furthermore, justice in its true form cannot be used solely for the advantage of the stronger without the masses acknowledging the injustices being imposed upon them, as Thrasymachus suggests is the case. For justice is one of the many characteristics of morality, which is considered to be intrinsic based on an inner conviction.7 Therefore, if the many were acting against said inner conviction wholly for the benefit of the stronger, would they not experience a natural feeling of injustice? This argument alike can be used to refute another of Thrasymachus’ primary claims that “justice is really the good of another […] and harmful to the one who obeys and serves.”3 In addition to his definition, Thrasymachus argues the value of justice as a human or societal characteristic, claiming that injustice is far more beneficial to the individual. Thrasymachus asserts that tyranny: makes the doer of injustice happiest and the sufferers of it, who are unwilling to do injustice, most wretched.[…] injustice, if it is on a large enough scale, is stronger, freer, and more masterly than justice.5 To decide whether an unjust man finds more happiness than a just man does, one must understand the true meaning of the word. The dictionary defines happiness as “characterized by pleasure, contentment, or joy.”8 Thrasymachus typifies the unjust man as someone who is constantly seeking self-fulfillment, pleasing
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