Thrasymachus' Perspective on Human Nature Essay

Thrasymachus' Perspective on Human Nature Essay

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Thrasymachus' Perspective on Human Nature


Thrasymachus' perspective of human nature is that we all seek to maximize power, profit and possessions. He gives the argument that morality is not an objective truth but rather a creation of the stronger (ruling) party to serve its own advantage. Therefore definitions of "just" and "unjust", "right" and "wrong", "moral" and "immoral" are all dependent upon the decree of the ruling party. Thrasymachus argues that acting "morally", in accordance with the ruling party, benefits the ruling party, while acting "immorally", injures the ruling party and benefits oneself.

Thrasymachus perceives human nature as our ruthless drive toward superiority. He believes that unless we are foolish "moral simpletons," we will act according to what is best for us, namely living immorally on a quest to becoming ruler of the world. He believes that our human nature has no qualms about committing immoral actions. In describing human nature Thrasymachus says, "immorality has a bad name because people are afraid of being at the receiving end of it, not of doing it." (Republic 344c) When we finally reach the goal, the ideal of human nature, we will be able to practice "immorality in its most perfect form," stealing "what doesn't belong to [us] - consecrated and unconsecrated objects, private possessions, and public property - and [we do] so not on a small scale, but comprehensively." (Republic 344a-b) Thrasymachus makes the assumption that we are all driven to acquiring as much power, profit and possessions as possible. His argument for living immorally rests on the assumption that our human nature's burning desire is for more of the three p's (power, profit and possessions), and that there is more ...


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...ity is created by those in power, and thus, there is no absolute true morality, he concludes that the best way to satisfy his human desire is to acquire as much power as possible, and take from others as much as he can. Because his view of morality is not fixed but created by those in power, he defines words like "moral", "just", and "right" based on one's compliance with the rules of the ruling party. He claims that acting "morally" serves the ruling party because the ruling party designed the legal structure for its own benefit. Socrates raises some criticisms, especially the criticism showing that people behaving immorally would not be able to act in concert with others and would fall out with others, which are compelling and discredit Thrasymachus' position. From this it is conclusive that Thrasymachus has not entirely captured the essence of human nature.

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