Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hasta la vista, Thrasymachus

As far as whose argument was more convincing, I have to go with the general consensus that Socrates was more persuasive. However, I think that this is partly due to the fact that he dominated the discussion and partly due to the fact that Thrasymachus was completely unprepared. While Socrates is the clear victor, I believe that Thrasymachus brings up some valid points; namely, I believe there is some truth (if only a tiny glimmer) in the statement that “justice is the interest of the stronger.” That aside, Socrates does an excellent job of convincing the audience according to Aristotle’s theory.

First, Socrates’ ethos is superior to that of Thrasymachus. Thrasymachus holds views contrary to the general public opinion regarding justice, and attempts to uphold them with illogical arguments that fall apart with any careful scrutiny. With his argument upholding the supremacy of injustice, he not only violates moral virtue, but he also violates the basic concept of common sense.

Regarding pathos, Socrates’ argument appeals much more to the emotions of the audience than does Thrasymachus’ argument. If anything, Thrasymachus’ argument stirs the anger in the audience with his foolhardy defense of injustice as more profitable than justice. Socrates, on the other hand, probably plays well with the emotions of the audience because the listeners are most likely just, or at least attempt not to be unjust in their daily lives.

Finally, the logos of the discussion strongly favors Socrates once again. This is not entirely surprising, however, as Thrasymachus is completely on the defensive and hardly gets a counterpoint the entire time. Socrates has well thought-out arguments, and makes his point without having to say “see, I told you so,” (he doesn’t have to say it because he hints at it constantly).

In conclusion, I think that Socrates is far more convincing than Thrasymachus. However, with his roundabout arguments and extreme analogies, I find myself frequently lost. I guess it’s a good thing that I’m not his intended audience.


Blogger Rosa said...

I think its great that you pointed out that Thrasymachus is unprepared. Maybe if he could have gotten a chance to get his thoughts together he could have made some valid points and this debate would have been more even.
I agree that there could be some truth in Thrasymachus's statement so I wonder what would have happened if Socrates would have given the poor guy a chance before he clobbered him.

9:38 AM  

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