Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Socrates KO’s Thrasymachus in the 3rd Round

After finishing book 1 I have concluded that Socrates; argument is far more persuasive than Thrasymachus’. At this point in the book, Socrates’ ethos is already far more persuasive than Tharsy’s because Socrates is a very well respected member of society whom everyone wishes to learn from. Unfortunately, Thrasymachus does not share the same enlightened view of Socrates that others in the audience seem to share. Throughout the passage, Thrasymachus seems to view Socrates as foolish and is constantly making it well known that he thinks he is smarter than him. On page 13 Thrasymachus says, “That is Socrates’ usual irony for you!...I even told these others earlier that you would be unwilling to answer, that you would be ironic and do anything rather than give an answer, if someone questioned you.” This “calling out” so to speak, of Socrates, indicates Thrasymachus’ undeveloped ability to argue effectively because he is already turning to what some might label ‘name-calling’. On page 15, the use of an enthymeme is present when Socrates says, “The pancratist is stronger than we are. Beef is advantageous for his body. So, this food is also both advantageous and just for us who are weaker than he?” After hearing this from Socrates, Thrasymachus implies that Socrates purposefully twists someone else’s argument into one extreme or the other. To some extent this is true, but what Thrasymachus does not understand is that Socrates’ whole method for persuasion revolves around asking details about each proposition in an argument. Socrates’ argument for justice is even more solid when he points out contradictions in Thrasy’s statements. When they are talking about rulers, and making just laws, Socrates points out that they do not only make laws that are advantageous to themselves, but to their whole group of subordinates as well. “According to your account, then, it isn’t only just to do what is advantageous for the stronger, but also the opposite: what is not advantageous.” Socrates points out the bold fact here that human rulers are not infallible and even if they make a law, it is not only for their best interest, but for that of their people as a whole. Socrates further states, “So no kind of knowledge considers or enjoins what is advantageous for itself, but what is advantageous for the weaker, which is subject to it.” This statement is basically Socrates’ logical view on justice. Now Thrasymachus makes a valid point that when partnerships are formed, and unjust person would get more of the deal than a just person, and an unjust person would pay less in taxes than a just person, but Socrates quickly refutes this argument when he points out that unjust people working together, can not achieve a common goal because they are preoccupied with being unjust to each other.

It is clear throughout the conversation who is actually steering it, and because of this control and wisdom that Socrates has over Thrasymachus, he knocks out Thras with a two quick jabs and a haymaker to finish him off. Judges score in favor of Socrates.


Blogger jmj said...

Can you explain to the uniformed what a haymaker is?

11:20 AM  
Blogger Nikhil said...

a haymaker is like the final punch in a boxing match-- full swing back and basically to knock the S@!T outta someone

9:02 PM  
Blogger jmj said...


10:11 PM  

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