The first of Socrates ' peers to challenge his idea of justice is Thrasymachus. Thrasymachus makes the claim that " 'just ' or 'right ' means nothing but what is to the interest of the stronger party," (p. 18). Which is to say, that justice is determined by whoever happens to be in power. He makes the argument that those who have power over others determine what is just, and in doing so they do not follow the truly 'just ' path, but follow the path that gains them the most success. Justice, then, is nothing more than a construct of society, a label given to law abiding acts which encourages the masses to follow the laws which benefit their leaders, and punish any that go against these laws. He says that " 'right ' means doing what is to the interest of the strongest," (p. 21). Socrates then engages Thrasymachus in a series of questions during which Thrasymachus admits that though leaders have the ability to act in their own interest without opposition, they are human and therefore fallible, and often may enact laws which are to their detriment. How could "right" then, be to act in the interest of the strongest, if the subjects of the ruler follow his laws and inadvertently ...
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...ays the better choice. A soul cannot be happy unless it is fulfilling its ultimate purpose, and the ultimate purpose of the soul is to be just.
As Socrates convinces Glaucon and Adeimantus, he also convinces me. To me, there is no reason to be just, other than because the soul demands it. That is what separates humans from savages. It is often easy to see that following a path of injustice will, in the short run, lead to prosperity, but in the long run lead to ruin. What good is personal wealth, if the world you live in is so derelict that you cannot enjoy it? When we treat our peers with justice, we set the stage for more justice to come about. We stand up for the weak and the poor, not so that we may have a better life, but so that we may have a better society, and perhaps forge better lives for our children. The cultivation of a just soul is helpful to everyone.
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