Justice In Plato's The Republic

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Book One of Plato’s The Republic includes an argument between two individuals, Socrates and Thrasymachus, where they attempt to define the concept of justice. Thrasymachus states that justice is what is advantageous for the stronger, however, Socrates challenges this belief through pointing out holes in Thrasymachus’s argument. In this paper, I will reconstruct the steps of this argument in order to evaluate the claims of both Socrates and Thrasymachus and demonstrate that, Socrates had a stronger claim than Thrasymachus in regards to justice because of the flawed assumptions Thrasymachus makes in relation to the word “advantageous,” how rulers behave, and how government is implemented. His assumptions not only lack external evidence, but Thrasymachus is unable to be critical of the fact that his assumptions just mimic general understandings of the word “advantageous,” without deeper thought of what the word truly means in this context. The argument begins when Thrasymachus first states that, “justice is nothing other than what is advantageous for the stronger” (pg. 15). Socrates questions what Thrasymachus means by “the stronger” and forces Thrasymachus to give an explanation. In response to this, Thrasymachus says that the stronger refers to the ruling political party or leader. Similarly, he says, “each type of rule makes laws that are advantageous for itself” (pg. 15). By saying this, Thrasymachus defines justice as what is advantageous for rulers and that rulers declare
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