Thrasymachus And Justice As The Advantage Of The S

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THRASYMACHUS AND JUSTICE AS THE ADVANTAGE OF THE STRONGER Among the various challenges to Socrates’ philosophy, as documented in the Platonic dialogues, one that has resonated through the ages is that of Thrasymachus. The primary strength of Thrasymachus’ challenge to Socrates comes from the commonsensical nature of his argument. The idea that justice is the advantage of the stronger fits in the social experience. As reflected in the idiom, ‘might makes right,’ the idea that the strong decide what is just or get away easily when they commit an unjust act. Borrowing jargon from IR theory, Thrasymachus adopts a ‘social constructivist’ position. In every society, government is the stronger party. On this note, the government legislates the laws. Lawmakers posit the laws and it is in light of these laws that justice is structured. Hence, justice ends up being what lawmakers make it to be. In this context, it is safe to assume that lawmakers would act in self-interest and their laws would be self-serving. It should be noted that Thrasymachus’ argument reflect a Sophist viewpoint: A subjective, constructive perspective. The primary consequence of Thrasymachus’ argument is that it contradicts Socrates’ ‘idealist’ theory. Asserting Thrasymachus’ thesis, what follows is that justice is not a ‘form’ as argued by Socrates but rather a inter-subjective concept. It would also follow that justice does not have a fixed, objective definition. Since the interest of two different sovereigns may conflict, so may different conceptions of justice. Thrasymachus argues this point in various ways; stating that ‘injustice, if it is on a large enough scale, is stronger, freer, and more masterly than justice’ (344c) In this context, Thrasymachus’ thesis is descriptive but on this note, it also project a prescriptive meaning. Thrasymachus’ arguments largely rest on observational
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