A Critical Response to Thrasymacus's View of Justice

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Ariana Marchigiano 11069846 POLS 236 Due. 10/02/2012 A Critical Response to Thrasymachus' Definition of Justice Socrates and Thrasymachus once held a discussion about the exact definition of justice, which has been depicted in Plato's The Republic, Book One. After trying his hardest to not interrupt Socrates and Polemarchus (Plato, 16) Thrasymachus begins his interjection feeling obviously frustrated with the men. As the discussion continues the two men fall into an agreement but they are still left without an accurate definition of justice. In this paper I will analytically examine Thrasymachus’ stance and use critical thought to support his valid claims while rejecting those which lack validity within Thrasymachus’ own definition of justice. Thrasymachus opens with the fairly pessimistic claim that justice or “what is right” is the advantage of the stronger. (Plato, 18) Governments use their power solely to enact laws that benefit themselves and those whom are under their direct influence – a tyrannical government puts into place authoritarian and brutal laws, a democratic government abides by libertarian and just laws, and et cetera. Failing to follow these rules laid out by the domineering government will label you as a wrongdoer and traitor to the state. This is because the ruling class only want to benefit their own selfish causes. Thrasymachus is referring to the notion that the weaker class is exploited constantly by the stronger class; laws are put into place to benefit the selfish and greedy. However, as Thrasymachus continues to deliberate what justice is, he agrees that what is right can not always be just. As rulers also make mistakes, act out of emotion, and could put laws in place which can be harmful to those it should protect. Thrasymachus agrees with Socrates’ conclusion that a ruler does not exercise his authority with his own interest but

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