Socrates And Thrasymachus Relationship In Plato's Republic

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In Book 1 of Plato 's Republic, Socrates and Thrasymachus engage in a passionate, and often acrimonious, conversation regarding the relationship between a ruler and those he or she rules. Their conversation raises substantive questions about both the nature and purpose of government and the motivations and roles of those who govern. The following will address these questions by 1) explaining both Socrates ' and Thrasymachus ' understandings of the ruler-ruled relationship and 2) addressing the merits of each argument and offering my own philosophical position on the matter.
First, with respect to Thrasymachus ' position, he believes that rulers craft laws for their "own advantage," and he considers justice to be the "advantage of the stronger"
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Socrates uses the allegory of the cave to emphasize the importance of education and pursuit of the Good. The "prisoners" in the cave merely observe shadows and reflections of what actually is, but, with education and the guidance of a philosopher, these prisoners are able to exit the cave, observe reality, and progress towards understanding the Good (520a). With respect to the role of the city and government, Socrates suggests that rulers should be those "in a state of waking," already exposed to reality and committed to returning to the cave to "harmoniz[e] the citizens by persuasion and compulsion" towards the Good (520a-c). In other words, rulers should not be individuals who "fight over shadows," merely interested in the attainment and pursuit of material wealth and resources; instead, Socrates suggests, that rulers should be interested in the pursuit of Truth, and dedicated to gently guiding the ruled towards "fair, just, and good things" (520b-d). Thrasymachus ' vision, however, more closely aligns with the antithesis of Socrates ' position. To Thrasymachus, rulers govern "for the sake of ruling," forming factions to perpetuate their power structure and enrich themselves (520c). For Thrasymachus, a ruler would never voluntarily educate those within the cave unless he recognized a tangible, material benefit from doing so. Instead, a ruler would systematically ensure that the ruled never left the cave, guaranteeing they are never aware of the benefits of education or aware of the pursuit of the "fair, just and good things"

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