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Thrasymachus and His Attachment to Justice

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image of Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought

Socrates defends justice against the attack mounted by Thrasymachus in Plato’s Republic, but it isn’t easy to say what the defense consists of. A careful reading shows that Thrasymachus himself is deeply though unselfconsciously attached to justice. Thrasymachus admires skillful artisans and thinks that devoting oneself to one’s art makes one a good man, worthy of good things. He feels that the skillful and unjust deserve to get the better of the artless and weak, which is to say he unselfconsciously believes in a form of distributive justice. Moreover, his surprising attachment to justice resembles and casts light on the attachment to justice that most people feel.

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