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[351c] “If,1” he replied, “what you were just now saying holds good, that justice is wisdom, with justice; if it is as I said, with injustice.” “Admirable, Thrasymachus,” I said; “you not only nod assent and dissent, but give excellent answers.” “I am trying to please you,” he replied.

“Very kind of you. But please me in one thing more and tell me this: do you think that a city,2 an army, or bandits, or thieves, or any other group that attempted any action in common, could accomplish anything if they wronged one another?”

1 Thrasymachus can foresee the implications of either theory.

2 For the thought cf. Spencer, Data of Ethics, 114: “Joint aggressions upon men outside the society cannot prosper if there are many aggressions of man on man within the society;” Leslie Stephen, Science of Ethics, Chapter. VIII. 31: “It (the loyalty of a thief to his gang) is rather a spurious or class morality,” etc.; Carlyle: “Neither James Boswell's good book, nor any other good thinng . . . is or can be performed by any man in virtue of his badness, but always solely in spite thereof.” Proclus, In Rempub. Kroll i. 20 expands this idea. Dante (ConvivioI. xii.) attributes to the Philosopher in the fifth of the ethics the saying that even robbers and plunderers love justice. Locke (Human Understanding i. 3) denies that this proves the principles of justice innate: “They practise them as rules of convenience within their own communities,” etc. Cf. further Isocrates xii. 226 on the Spartans, and Plato Protagoras 322 B, on the inconveniences of injustice in the state of nature,ἠδίκουν ἀλλήλους.

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