Socrates' Failure in Refuting Thrasymachus

Topics: Plato, Objection, Political philosophy Pages: 3 (1008 words) Published: February 28, 2013
Socrates' Failure

In producing a counter argument to Thrasymachus' claim that justice is the advantage of the stronger, Socrates bases his argument enourmously on sentimentality and prejudice. He assumes that the virtues which are supposedly functioning in the realm of ideas can also work propably in the World. For example, in Socrates' view, a doctor does not seek his own advantage, but the advantage of his patients. Yet, this view reflects the perfect ideal of a doctor in Socrates' belief of ideas in a dream world. With a modern perspective, one can fairly see that Socrates' refutation has some complexities which clash severely with the real experiences of the Ancient Greek. Socrates' image of the doctor ignores the inherent human desire or fragility to obtaining the power for his advantage. Socrates confuses the crafts with the craftsmen occasionally. The crafts such as medicine or horse-breeding are idealized. However, craftsmen are human and they are liable to exploit the authority which their crafts give over them. Therefore, Thrasymachus' idea of justice is more applicable than Socrates'. Socrates manages to appease Thrasymachus, but that does not mean Socrates is successful about refuting Thrasymachus. In fact, if one observes their conversation critically, it is obvious that Socrates fails to refute Thrasymachus' argument. Socrates is very optimistic and emotional towards human nature, which causes his arguments and refutations to be fragile . The virtue in individuals does not always bring prosperity to the state on the whole. Not everyone is sensitive to the good of the others. Socrates' republic is, in this sense, utopic. Socrates states, "Anyone who intends to practise his craft well never does or orders but his best for himself " (Plato, 23). This belief does not match the modern experience nor does it match the experience of a Greek citizen in Ancient Greece. In reverse, Thrasymachus believes that justice is a means for the strong to exercise...
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