Thrasymachus and the Unjust

Thrasymachus’s view on justice interests me. In a compelling argument, Thrasymachus claims that an unjust person has the ability to achieve the best life. He believes that on a large scale, those who are unjust profit and benefit more than those who are just. I find that his view on justice is very materialistic. Much of his reasoning seems to stem from an infatuation with those who possess wealth and power, such as the rulers of cities. Meanwhile, Socrates’ view is based more heavily on the standards of morality and ethics. This is a view that most of us today would stand by today- that Justice has more to do with integrity and righteousness than the goal to obtain selfish advantages. What strikes me is that Thrasymachus’ belief is very self-absorbed. He values the unjust because he believes that it is more advantageous to oneself, rather than that of the plenty. He says, “ And, as I said from the first, justice is what is advantageous to the stronger, while injustice is to one own profit and advantage” (344 c).  On unbiased terms, what Thrasymachus says is essentially the truth. There is no doubt in the fact that one who is lucky to engage in injustice without the suffering from consequences could obtain great profit. However, what fascinates me the most, is that Thrasymachus is arguing in favor of this thought- in favor of the unjust. We, as readers, are given simple introductions of the characters we explore in this text, and I found it very intriguing to come across a character like Thrasymachus who dominates such an unethical and altered view of being unjust. As one who is in favor of justice, it surprises me that I found his argument very compelling. He brings forth his reasoning as if it was truly determined that all unjust people lived a better and more profitable life. It makes me wonder if he was once a victim of justice to have such a negative view of being just. Perhaps he was once a just person who didn’t receive as much profit as he would have liked. Or perhaps he simply admired the ones who have gained wealth and power through being unjust, and in doing so, is drawn and convinced with the idea that being unjust has brought them to that life style. Whatever the reasons are, we can see that Thrasymachus breeds on a materialistic view of life, where morals and ethics sit low in his definition of justice.

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