Justice In Plat’s The Republic, the author seeks to define the meaning of justice. In the story, the main character Socrates and some other men are discussing the subject of justice in the city and how one might judge what is just. At one point in the argument, Trashcans, one of the debaters and a sophist, makes a very broad and controversial statement: “Justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger. ” This sparks a heated discussion between him and his friends, who ask him to clarify what he meant.
In this paper, I will explain Trashcans’ argument and outline the dialectic process that took place. When Trashcans claims that justice is the advantage of the stronger, this seems to imply that justice is whatever the strong people, the people in power, have made of it. He says that every government on earth, be it tyranny, democracy, or oligarchy have created their own set Of laws and rules, “and they declare what they have made L] what is to their own advantage C] to be just for their subjects” (IEEE).
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This would mean that moral aloes are entirely socially constructed and reflect nothing more than the personal interests of the politicians in charge of making the rules. By his definition, if you are clever and strong enough to seize power to begin with, then you have the advantage of being superior, of being able to define justice, as justice then becomes whatever benefits you. However, Socrates disagrees with this thesis statement and presents his anti-thesis, pointing out that rulers are not infallible and that sometimes they enact laws that are not to heir advantage at all.
Therefore, would this not directly contradict the idea atheistic is to do whatever they say, and also to do whatever is beneficial to them? Would it not also logically follow that if obeying their laws leads to actions that are not beneficial to the ruler, then “it is just to do the exact opposite” (IEEE)? Trashcans then clarifies his position by stating in his synthesis that he did not mean that the justice is relative; if a ruler thinks that something is best for them, their perception does not necessarily make it so if t is clearly erroneous.
Socrates chooses to reply with a new thesis of his own, saying that it does not make sense to say that a ruler rules for the advantage of himself. All professions of high standing such as doctors, captains, etc, do not receive credit for their individual skills for themselves but for their services to others. The practice of medicine “does not consider the advantage of medicine but of the body” (ICC) and bodies that it serves, and thus in the same way does a ruler rule for the advantage of those whom he rules, and to merely himself.
Trashcans comes back this time with an antithesis claiming that it is ridiculous for Socrates to say that any ruler or any master is considering the good of those under him. Instead, he is looking to his own gain and his own profit. When a shepherd looks after his flock, does he ultimately care about the well-being of the sheep? NO, he simply performs the task so he will benefit and be paid. In the same way, kings and rulers think very little of their subjects save for what they can get out of them. Such was
Trashcans’ very cynical approach. Though the argument goes back and forth for some time more, the men never entirely reach agreement or clarification on what is meant In a way, this reflects a lot about the subject of philosophy and dialectic conversation: it is never-ending there is no perfect answer. Perhaps Trashcans had the right of it after all, though he met with much opposition in the story. In the end, it truly comes down to a matter of opinion. Bibliography: All information and excerpts taken from Plat’s “The Republic”