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[339a] —the advantage of the established government. This I presume you will admit holds power and is strong, so that, if one reasons rightly, it works out that the just is the same thing everywhere,1 the advantage of the stronger.” “Now,” said I, “I have learned your meaning, but whether it is true or not I have to try to learn. The advantageous, then, is also your reply, Thrasymachus, to the question, what is the just—though you forbade me to give that answer. [339b] But you add thereto that of the stronger.” “A trifling addition2 perhaps you think it,” he said. “It is not yet clear3 whether it is a big one either; but that we must inquire whether what you say is true, is clear.4 For since I too admit that the just is something that is of advantage5—but you are for making an addition and affirm it to be the advantage of the stronger, while I don't profess to know,6 we must pursue the inquiry.” “Inquire away,” he said.

“I will do so,” said I. “Tell me, then; you affirm also, do you not, that obedience to rulers is just?” [339c] “I do.” “May I ask whether the rulers in the various states are infallible7 or capable sometimes of error?” “Surely,” he said, “they are liable to err.” “Then in their attempts at legislation they enact some laws rightly and some not rightly, do they not?” “So I suppose.” “And by rightly we are to understand for their advantage, and by wrongly to their disadvantage? Do you mean that or not?” “That.” “But whatever they enact8 must be performed by their subjects and is justice?” “Of course.” [339d] “Then on your theory it is just not only to do what is the advantage of the stronger but also the opposite, what is not to his advantage.” “What's that you're saying?”9 he replied. “What you yourself are saying,10 I think. Let us consider it more closely. Have we not agreed that the rulers in giving orders to the ruled sometimes mistake their own advantage, and that whatever the rulers enjoin is just for the subjects to perform? Was not that admitted?” “I think it was,” he replied. [339e] “Then you will have to think,”11 I said, “that to do what is disadvantageous to the rulers and the stronger has been admitted by you to be just in the case when the rulers unwittingly enjoin what is bad for themselves, while you affirm that it is just for the others to do what they enjoined. In that way does not this conclusion inevitably follow, my most sapient12 Thrasymachus, that it is just to do the very opposite13 of what you say? For it is in that case surely the disadvantage of the stronger or superior that the inferior

1 Thrasymachus makes it plain that he, unlike Meno (71 E), Euthyphro (5 ff.), Laches (191 E), Hippias (Hippias Major 286 ff.), and even Theaetetus (146 C-D) at first, understands the nature of a definition.

2 Cf. Laches 182 C.

3 For the teasing or challenging repetition cf. 394 B, 470 B-C, 487 E, 493 A, 500 B, 505 D, 514 B, 517 C, 523 A, 527 C, Lysis 203 B, Sophocles O.T. 327.

4 For the teasing or challenging repetition cf. 394 B, 470 B-C, 487 E, 493 A, 500 B, 505 D, 514 B, 517 C, 523 A, 527 C, Lysis 203 B, Sophocles O.T. 327.

5 For Plato's so-called utilitarianism or eudaemonism see 457 B, Unity of Plato's Thought, pp. 21-22, Gomperz, ii. p. 262. He would have nearly accepted Bentham's statement that while the proper end of government is the greatest happiness of the greatest number, the actual end of every government is the greatest happiness of the governors. Cf. Leslie Stephen, English Utilitarianism, i. p. 282, ii. p. 89.

6 This profession of ignorance may have been a trait of the real Socrates, but in Plato it is a dramatic device for the evolution of the argument.

7 The argument turns on the opposition between the real (i.e. ideal) and the mistakenly supposed interest of the rulers. See on 334 C.

8 Cf. 338 E and Theaetetus 177 D.

9 Τί λέγεις σύ; is rude. See Blaydes on Aristophanes Clouds 1174. The supspicion that he is being refuted makes Thrasymachus rude again. But Cf. Euthydemus 290 E.

10 Cf. Berkeley, Divine Visual Language, 13: “The conclusions are yours as much as mine, for you were led to them by your own concessions.” See on 334 D, Alc. I. 112-113. On a misunderstanding of this passage and 344 E, Herbert Spencer (Data of Ethics, 19) bases the statement that Plato (and Aristotle), like Hobbes, made state enactments the source of right and wrong.

11 Socrates is himself a little rude.

12 Cf. Gorgias 495 D.

13 Cf. Laches 215 E, Phaedo 62 E.

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