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Concept of Justice in Plato's Republic - Essay Example

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Concept of Justice in Plato's Republic

This argument is presented to Socrates in an accusatory fashion, and with Thrasymachus’ replies to what Socrates seeks in clarification in support of his argument, it seems evident that Thrasymachus’ himself did not completely understand the depth of the position he just took. This becomes apparent when Socrates designs his retorts to explore the argument further, dedicating the rest of the Book I to seeking clarification of the argument Thrasymachus’ had just presented. Socrates aims to make it apparent that a concept of justice such as this must develop in a coherent fashion towards one final definition of justice presented by Thrasymachus’, but as the argument continues, it is seen that Thrasymachus’ himself is slightly skewed in his approach and ends up presenting more than one definition of justice, with both consistencies and inconsistencies between the two. Discussion between Thrasymachus, Socrates and Cleitophon Thrasymachus, who originally seemed like an avid listener, enters into the discussion of justice by interrupting Socrates in a seemingly demeaning manner at 336b, positioning himself first as an aggressive philosopher who was staunch in his understanding of the dialogue at hand, ready to move forward and express his displeasure with the same, “But when we paused … he could no longer keep quiet; hunched up like a wild beast, he flung himself at us as if to tear us to pieces.” (336b). Moreover, he exclaims to the recipient, “What if I could show you another answer about justice besides all these and better than they are? What punishment do you think you would deserve to suffer?” (337d). Clearly, Thrasymachus is about to make a sweeping statement regarding the concept of justice. When Thrasymachus delivers his version of what he believes justice encompasses, “nothing other than the advantage of the stronger party” (338c), Socrates approaches the man with a determined outlook to seek clarification. In response to his appeal, Thrasymachus presents clarifying examples, describing at first instance the various systems of governance that permeate societies of modern age, specifically, tyranny, democracy, and aristocracy. In all three of these variants, governments seek to design laws that not only uplift their own desires but also make it unlawful to act against them, passing laws with a view to their own advantage (338e). Justice is then designed to be the responsibility of the government, who would pertinently seek to protect their own wishes before they protect anyone else’s, making it clear that in “every city, the same thing is just, the advantage of the established ruling body” (339a). Thus, Thrasymachus applies that a reasonable man would necessarily conclude that the advantage of the ruling elite becomes justice in the land that he governs. In doing so, he supplies us with the first interpretation of his sweeping ideology of justice, that it is what is to the advantage of the stronger party; the strongest of the land take charge, make their own laws, and in doing so, define what is just and what is not. It follows that a person who acts in compliance with the wishes of his government is definitely just. To the above utterance, Plato, speaking via his teacher Socrates, begins to identify possible loopholes. According to him, there is a distinct lack of adherence in Thrasymachus’ ...Show more


Name Instructor Subject Date Concept of Justice in Plato’s Republic Introduction The concept of justice is morally inclined by modern standards, but Thrasymachus’ Socrates and the rest of the best of men seem to suggest that this inclination does not suffice…
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Concept of Justice in Platos Republic essay example
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