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[340c] replied Polemarchus. “Never mind, Polemarchus,” said I, “but if that is Thrasymachus's present meaning, let us take it from him1 in that sense.

“XIV. So tell me, Thrasymachus, was this what you intended to say, that the just is the advantage of the superior as it appears to the superior whether it really is or not? Are we to say this was your meaning?” “Not in the least,” he said.2“Do you suppose that I call one who is in error a superior when he errs?” “I certainly did suppose that you meant that,” I replied, “when you agreed that rulers are not infallible

1 Socrates always allows his interlocutors to amend their statements. Cf. Gorgias 491 B, 499 B, Protagoras 349 C, Xenophon Memorabilia iv. 2. 18.

2 Thrasymachus rejects the aid of an interpretation which Socrates would apply not only to the politician's miscalculation but to his total misapprehension of his true ideal interests. He resorts to the subtlety that the ruler qua ruler is infallible, which Socrates meets by the fair retort that the ruler qua ruler, the artist qua artist has no “sinister” or selfish interest but cares only for the work. If we are to substitute an abstraction or an ideal for the concrete man we must do so consistently. Cf. modern debates about the “economic man.”

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