Final Exam Study Guide

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Jennifer Hawkins

Philosophy Finals 1) Thrasymachus begins his conversation with Socrates by offering a definition of justice. What is this definition? How does Socrates ultimately get Thrasymachus to abandon this definition? What does Thrasymachus try next, i.e. what is his second claim about justice? Could anyone other than an ethical egoist accept this claim? Would an ethical egoist necessarily accept it? What might Hobbes have to say in response to this claim? What does Plato say about it later on? Thrasymachus defines justice as the advantage of the stronger or more powerful. Justice is what benefits the ruler. This is a highly skeptical view of morality and justice for 2 reasons: The claim that justice refers to a set of arbitrary man-made rules that a ruler has made-up and that others must follow. The claim that these rules were designed merely with the aim of the rulers advantage in mind. Socrates uses analogy to argue against Thrasymachus definition. An analogy is a comparison of 2 similar objects, suggesting that if they are alike in certain respects, they will be like in other ways as well. The analogy used by Socrates is of a physician. A physician does many things such as healing wounds and asking patients for money. But, asking for money is not what being a physician is about. It is not part of the art of medicine. The role of the doctor is the role of a healer. So, by analogy a ruler does many things but, the art of governing or the role of a governor is essentially about promoting the interests of the governed (the people). This analogy trips up Thrasymachus skeptic as he develops the following argument, which is the opposite of Thrasymachus original position: (1) A good ruler is a just ruler. (2) A good ruler is one who looks after the interests of the ones he rules. __________________________________________________________ (C)Therefore, a just ruler is one who looks after the interests of the ones he rules. Thrasymachus second claim about justice is that it is better to be unjust. Psychological egoism is where people always act in ways that they believe will further their own self-interest. All actions are fundamentally selfish actions i.e. motivated primarily by self-concern. A psychological egoist would agree with Thrasymachuss definition as the individual would always be unjust in order to fulfill their own self-interest.
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