Justice

In the Republic, Plato attempts to answer one of philosophy’s most central
questions: What is justice or right conduct? Thrasymachus, who is upset at
Socrates’ rhetoric interrupts, suggests that justice is what is in the interest
of the stronger. Thrasymachus’s view of justice is that justice is the advantage
of the stronger. Thrasymachus explains this by expressing that the government
makes rules to its own advantage and so it is declared just for their people.


Socrates argues Thrasymachus’s view by insisting that rulers command certain
acts on their subjects which sometimes mistake their own best interest causing
themselves harm. Thrasymachus agrees with Socrates that rulers often do act
against what is in their own interest and that sometimes the stronger orders the
weaker, their subject, to do what is disadvantageous to themselves. Thrasymachus
says it is just to obey the orders of the rulers and just is the advantage of
the stronger. The more important opinion of justice by Thrasymachus is that
justice benefits other people while injustice benefits you. The stronger person
uses his/her strength advantage to his/her advantage. Socrates catches
Thrasymachus contradicting himself by stating that justice requires doing what
is to the stronger advantage. Thrasymachus says that the stronger sometimes
makes mistakes and orders something not to his advantage and justice requires
subjects to obey stranger. Therefore, justice sometimes requires subjects to do
what is not to the stronger’s advantage. This statement is a contradiction to
Thrasymachus’s first remark. Thrasymachus then introduces craft assumption.

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Socrates believes that true crafts people pursue not their own advantage, but
the subjects of their craft and that rulers are considered craftsmen. Socrates
concludes that true rulers seek not their own advantage, but their advantage of
their subjects. Rulers use their craft to the advantage of their subject and not
for their own advantage. Thrasymachus denies that true craftsman seek not their
own advantage but, the subjects of their craft by giving example of the
shepherds and cowherds. They do not seek the good of their animal instead their
sole purpose is fattening them for their own good. The question that is produced
is: What makes something the subject of a craft?” Two elements make
something a subject. First, it needs to be the thing that is practiced on. Sheep
are the shepherd’s subject because they are being practiced on. The second thing
is that the subject is the beneficiary of the craft. In this case, patients are
the subjects of the doctor because they are the ones being treated of the
illness. The dictionary definition of justice is that it is an abstract
principle by which right and wrong are defined or the principle of moral or
ideal rightness. This objection creates a major point of controversy that
Socrates would like to expose falsehood. One example that Socrates points to is
the honor among thieves. The same way that division and self interest pulls
apart thieves, injustice will pull apart the soul.