Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Wrote this as I woke up so I hope it makes sense.

I think that Socrates’ argument was more convincing than that of Thrasymachus but I believe that the outcome determined the better debater rather than whose argument was correct. Thrasymachus was not entirely wrong in saying “justice is the interest of the stonger,” but he was unable to convince his audience of his point because he lacked the skill to overcome Socrates. Thrasymachus put up a valid argument but he became a victim of Socrates skilled rhetoric.

We can see Socrates’ superior ethos by the respect he receives from his peers while Thrasymachus position is weak from the beginning(by his own fault). The reason for Thrasymachus’ poor starting position is his spite for Socrates, which is made clear when he bashes Socrates for his character and verbally assaults him. Thrasymachus loses ground with his audience because he attacks Socrates persona rather than his argument.

Socrates is aware that Thrasymachus does not like him but he remains in the good graces of his peers through his careful choice of words when he speaks to Thrasymachus. Socrates does not attack Thrasymachus’ character but respects him by using phrases such as “good friend” and “dear Thrasymachus.” Furthermore, Socrates is able to debate using subtlety rather than the brute force explanations that Thrasymachus tends to favor.

Socrates argument often relies on drawing out answers from his opponent that are generally agreed upon and then using the position he has gained from his passive questions to create a logos that seems true. After getting Thrasymachus to agree with him on some points, Socrates refers back to them later in his arguments to weaken Thrasymachus’ position. That is why Thrasymachus gets angry and even says “You argue like an informer, Socrates,” because Socrates refers to things that Thrasymachus has admitted to be true.

I think that Socrates also holds an advantage over Thrasymachus because his pathos with the audience is a lot stronger. Socrates does not lose his temper or patience like Thrasymachus so he is able to avoid negative interpretations of his remarks. He is able to draw empathy from the listeners and when you have the emotions of the audience on your side, it is hard to lose.

The reason why I believe Thrasymachus to be a victim of Socrates rhetoric is because Thrasymachus has a good argument to begin with but Socrates is able to maneuver around Thrasymachus ideas and uses them against him. When Thrasymachus realizes what is happening, he tried to leave because he has realized that this is a battle that he cannot hope to win. Thrasymachus tries to save face but Socrates continues to humiliate him by asking him to stay and defend his argument. Although Socrates is tearing Thrasymachus apart, no one but Thrasymachus is aware of it because Socrates use of words keeps him from appearing the aggressor.


Blogger Rosa said...

I agree with you that is it is the way that Thrasymachus presented himself in the arguement that made him the loser of the argument. He may have had a great point but because he let his emotions get out of control he was less resepectable. I think that maybe he got caught up in the heat of the argument and like a lot of other people he did personal attacks rather than having a good counterpoint.

9:18 AM  

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