Example Of Socrates Successfully Shows That Thrasymachus’s Position Is Contradictory In Republic, I, 336-344. Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Advantage, Socrates, Law, Ruler, Art, Justice, Supreme Court, Time

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/18

The dialogue of Socrates with Thrasymachus in Republic, I, raises a very important issue of understanding justice and political ethics. The statement Thrasymachus brings forward is this: “I say that the just is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger.” In other words, Thrasymachus claims that justice is an action that benefits only those in power, the people who are stronger and more courageous than the ruled populace.
First, Socrates wants to clarify what Thrasymachus means, because he finds the very statement defective in terms of consistency. He gives another statement as an example. If beef is advantageous to a pancratias (a wrestles and a boxer), it is also advantageous to the people who are weaker. Thrasymachus is forced to expand on his position. He contends that the laws set down in a state, be it democratic, tyrannical or of any other form of governance, are devised by the ruling class to the advantage of that class. Those who rule declare these laws just and mandatory for the ruled. Thrasymachus concludes: “everywhere justice is the same thing, the advantage of the stronger.”
At that point Socrates is content with the clarity of the statement. He then sends the dispute in the ethics direction. He agrees that justice is an advantage, but doubts that the addition “to the stronger” belongs to the statement.
Socrates also questions the infallibility of rulers and gets Thrasymachus to admit that rulers can also be mistaken. Then Socrates further develops his logical consideration into a questionable statement that the law dictates to the ruled what the rulers set down, although this may be to a disadvantage to the rulers, and it is still considered just.
Thus Socrates reveals a contradiction. If the ruler unknowingly orders to do what is to his disadvantage, then the disadvantage of the stronger is just same as advantage.
Thrasymachus tries to defend his point by contending that a ruler cannot make a mistake, while he remains a ruler in precise speech. Like any craftsman, he cannot be mistaken, or he is not a craftsman since he lacks the requisite knowledge. I think this particular argument of Thrasymachus is the weakest so far, and Socrates’s position is clearly advantageous from now on. He considers the relation of art to an artisan. He asks what a doctor in the precise speech is, a moneymaker or the one who cares for the patient. In this sense the captain of a ship is a ruler of sailors and not a sailor himself. His art is to rule the sailors, as the doctor’s art is to care for the patients. At the same time, according to Socrates, both doctors and captains benefit from their arts, which means that the art provides the advantage to the artisan. Here Socrates approaches the main conclusion. A ruler benefits from his position on condition that his actions are directed at seeking the good for the ruled, since no art considers an advantage of itself, but that of its object. For example, medicine considers the advantage of a body; horsemanship considers the advantage of horses. So the rulers consider the advantage of the ruled. This means that Thrasymachus’s initial statement is incorrect and the advantage of the stronger cannot be provided for by laws that were not set to the advantage of the ruled.
Thrasymachus now understands that his position is weak and he looses his temper when he asks if Socrates has a wet nurse. He then resorts to vivid imagery in portraying his vision of reality. He speaks of the herdsmen who care for their sheep and cows only to benefit themselves and their masters. This is an analogy of how, he thinks, the ruling class sees their people. Then he states that a just man has less than an unjust man in any partnership. His observation of reality is that the strong can benefit the week by doing injustice to them. On the level of states it is called tyranny. Thrasymachus continues and once again comes back to his initial statement that the just is the advantage of the stronger. He then adds that “unjust is what is profitable and advantageous for oneself”, thus making his position clearly contradictory. The rulers, those in power, are just and unjust at the same time. They are just, because they are stronger, and they are unjust because they care of their own benefits. Having said all this, Thrasymachus feels an urge to leave, which looks like he feels that he’s lost the argument, but experiences difficulties accepting it.
All of the above clearly shows that Thrasymachus’s position is inconsistent and contradictory. He lost in terms on pure logic but at the same time some of the facts he put forward are difficult to dismiss. He described the injustices prevailing in many of the states in their times, and history shows that he’s right. Many rulers did not care for the ruled and prospered. Facts may be on his side, but logic is, without doubt, on Socrates’s.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 18) Example Of Socrates Successfully Shows That Thrasymachus’s Position Is Contradictory In Republic, I, 336-344. Essay. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-socrates-successfully-shows-that-thrasymachuss-position-is-contradictory-in-republic-i-336-344-essay/
"Example Of Socrates Successfully Shows That Thrasymachus’s Position Is Contradictory In Republic, I, 336-344. Essay." WePapers, 18 Dec. 2020, https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-socrates-successfully-shows-that-thrasymachuss-position-is-contradictory-in-republic-i-336-344-essay/. Accessed 17 April 2024.
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"Example Of Socrates Successfully Shows That Thrasymachus’s Position Is Contradictory In Republic, I, 336-344. Essay." WePapers, Dec 18, 2020. Accessed April 17, 2024. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-socrates-successfully-shows-that-thrasymachuss-position-is-contradictory-in-republic-i-336-344-essay/
WePapers. 2020. "Example Of Socrates Successfully Shows That Thrasymachus’s Position Is Contradictory In Republic, I, 336-344. Essay." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved April 17, 2024. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-socrates-successfully-shows-that-thrasymachuss-position-is-contradictory-in-republic-i-336-344-essay/).
"Example Of Socrates Successfully Shows That Thrasymachus’s Position Is Contradictory In Republic, I, 336-344. Essay," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 18-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-socrates-successfully-shows-that-thrasymachuss-position-is-contradictory-in-republic-i-336-344-essay/. [Accessed: 17-Apr-2024].
Example Of Socrates Successfully Shows That Thrasymachus’s Position Is Contradictory In Republic, I, 336-344. Essay. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/example-of-socrates-successfully-shows-that-thrasymachuss-position-is-contradictory-in-republic-i-336-344-essay/. Published Dec 18, 2020. Accessed April 17, 2024.
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