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Socrates and Thrasymachus on Justice

As a Sophist, Thrasymachus directly contrast Socrates and Plato’s belief on a universal way of living our life. It is important to note that Sophists teaches a great deal of relativity in every aspect of lives and the topic of justice is not safe from this way of thinking of the Sophists. The Sophists argues, more particularly Thrasymachus that the unjust man (i. e. a total despot in the political arena) benefits the most in every aspect of live in contrast of a just man.

Simply put, a tyrant, with all his powers, capabilities, resources and forces that are under his disposal is definitely the happiest when compared to an honest and just leader. When examined, this is not an exclusive Sophist teachings, in fact with the experiences of the Athenians in their former leaders, a belief had formed that injustice really pays the most rather than being just. Nevertheless, there is a one argument for the superiority of just politicians and leaders; this is the divine blessings for the just and diving punishments for the unjust.

However, Athenians, through time had formed a belief that gods don’t really care to the business of men, therefore not granting blessings to the just and not executing punishments to the unjust. Thrasymachus is one of this people who possessed this belief. For him, the unjust leader accumulates a very great deal of benefits in using his position to accumulate money, fame, resources and other earthly possessions. On the other hand, the just are left to be left behind the unjust in terms of material accumulation.

Socrates as a dedicated defender of universalism had argued against the points of Thrasymachus. Primarily, he argued against the consideration of injustice as a virtue. Generally, even the Sophist acknowledged the importance of virtue on human affairs. Socrates then argued that injustice is not a virtue. He stated that a virtue cannot be counter another virtue. Take for example the mathematicians. As they work, they do pull down or negate the work of others. Rather, they work together to achieve the growth of their disciplines. This logic in relation to injustice will disqualify injustice as a virtue.

This is because of the inconsistency that injustice will pose to another virtue which is wisdom. According to Socrates, wisdom and injustice cannot go hand in hand. A wise man (wisdom) will never beat or pull down other people (injustice) because he or she acknowledges the fact that they can help him in achieving a goal. He then moves forward in considering justice to beneficial. Socrates argued that since justice is a virtue, justice is the food for the soul and being a food, being just will definitely benefit the one who feeds on it.

Socrates arguments against the philosophy of a Sophist had been crafted that it managed to provide a room for considering justice even to the current and existing belief system of the Athenian society. Athenians had lowly regarded the divine justice and retribution as the benefit of being just. The era of viewing gods as the final executor of punishments and guarantors of blessings had passed. From here, Socrates relocated the ground of his arguments towards a belief system that is not rooted on the beliefs on gods.

Socrates used another benefit of being just which is the well-being of the soul. With this way of thinking, Socrates managed to relate the Sophist arguments in the discussion and at the same time debunking their ideas and arguments regarding justice. Works Cited Classic Techology Center. Republic. 2000. Able Media. Web. Accessed 14 July 2010. Dunkle, Roger. The Classical Origins of Western Culture. 1986. Brooklyn College. The City University of New York. Web. Accessed 14 July 2010. Plato. Cooper, John (ed) Plato: Complete Works. 1997 Hacket Publishing Company. Cambridge. Print

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