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Philosophy on Justice - Essay Example

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Philosophy on Justice

This phenomenon is reflected in the dialogue between Socrates and Thrasymachus, as the dialogue has been incorporated in book I of Plato’s Republic. The view of Socrates on justice is in opposition with that of Thrasymachus, as revealed through the arguments developed by each of them. The evaluation of these arguments leads to the assumption that Socrates’ thoughts on justice are based on fairness and equality, a fact that ensures justice, in all its aspects. On the other hand, the view of Thrasymachus on justice follows a different direction, being able to result to social conflicts. It is probably for this reason that, at the end, Thrasymachus recognize the value of Socrates’ view on justice and accept his failure in understanding the actual role of individuals within the society, including their role in the promotion of justice. In accordance with Thrasymachus, ‘justice is nothing else but the interest of the most powerful’ (338c Plato’s Republic I). Thrasymachus defends the above definition by developing a series of arguments, as described below. At the first level, Thrasymachus states that the types of polities globally are many. There are countries based on monarchy, others are based on aristocracy and others are based on democracy (338d). ...
Thus, justice, as based on the laws introduced by the most powerful, serves the interests of the latter; the above phenomenon, as Thrasymachus notes is common in all countries, no matter their polity. In regard to the above argument of Thrasymachus, Socrates notes that governors are also likely to introduce laws, which are in opposition with their interests; citizens are obliged to respect these laws, as also the laws serving the interests of governors (339e). In other words, citizens have to deal with two different types of laws: those that serve the interests of governors and those serving the interests of citizens. From this point of view, the view of Thrasymachus that justice is only the interest of the most powerful is proved to be invalid. In regard to the above, Thrasymachus supports that governors cannot introduce laws that are opposed to their interests. Rather they are expected to always promote their interests, making no mistakes in choosing laws that promote those interests (340d), exactly like those who are experts in a particular science or art. Those experts do not make mistakes, since in this case, they would lost their power, as resulted from their role as experts (340d). In this context, as Thrasymachus notes, a true governor is not expected to make mistakes; therefore he promotes only his interests (341a). Socrates abjures the above argument referring to the example of a doctor, as used previously by Thrasymachus. Socrates notes that a doctor is a therapist; therefore, he has to take care of the health problems of ill people (341c). In the above case, the interests of ill people are above the interest of the doctor, a ...Show more

Summary

In book I of Plato's Republic, Thrasymachus challenges Socrates with a very specific definition of Justice. What is this definition, and how does he defend it? What analogies do Socrates and Thrasymachus use to support their respective claims? How is Thrasymachus' position finally defeated?…
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