Jan 25, 2018 in Research

Thrasymachus’ View on Injustice

Thrasymachus views justice merely as involving the interests of the stronger party in a bargain. Thrasymachus argues, for instance, that when the unjust man is in a contract with the just man, it is always evident that when the partnership is being dissolved the unjust man ends up having more than the just man who only has less to show for it.  Secondly, in the matters that have to do with the city in which taxes are involved, the unjust man pays less in comparison to the just man who pays more on the basis of equal property. Thirdly, whenever there is distribution of resources the just man makes no profit while the unjust man makes much more.

Evidently, Thrasymachus is not merely addressing the tyrant in relations to many in specific terms. The types of unjust persons that Thrasymachus is talking about include muggers and burglars, who are driven by the conviction that doing justice is equal to placing oneself in a weak and exploitative situation. These individuals are the perfect examples of stronger person that are pursuit of the unjust life of whatever is profitable and advantageous for them. They strongly resemble the tyrant in their pursuit of the unjust life but run short in the perfection of injustice in which by stealth and force subdues the many all at once.

The central concern of Thrasymachus is to demonstrate that individuals should endeavor to do whatever is in their power to acquire the status of the tyrant whenever they have a chance in the society to do so. This is because Thrasymachus believes that the person who rules is the strongest, the most powerful and as a result the happiest in the society. Thrasymachus’ argument brings to the fore the developmental genesis of the tyrant in the society on the account of the stronger. In fact, by explicating the role played by the stronger in society, we better understand the just and unjust individuals.

In the film Crime and Misdemeanor, we meet Judah, a rich ophthalmologist and also a family man. He has been having an affair with Dolores for several years and now she threatens to go public about the affair and Judah’s financial scandals if he does not leave his family for her. Judah is confronted with the choice of either taking responsibility of his actions or permitting his Jack to kill Dolores. He takes the latter option. The other plot involves Cliff, the unsuccessful filmmaker who is also unhappily married.  He also has an affair with Halley, but she eventually rejects him since he is married. Towards the end of the film, Cliff and Judah meet and Cliff relates his story to Judah as an imaginary film plot. In this discussion, Judah alludes to the fact that any crisis eventually passes but Cliff on the other hand believes that everyone is fated to bear the consequences of their crimes and misdemeanors. Woody Allen’s film support Thrasymachus’ thesis that injustice pays by showing Judah living in bliss as a result of the murder of his mistress.

If Plato were to watch Crime and Misdemeanor, he would argue that the actions of Judah conflicts with his tripartite theory of the soul. Plato argues in this theory that there are three distinct elements of the soul, which include the appetitive, rational and spirited. These three parts are in tandem with the three classes of a society that is just. In this case, individual justice can only be achieved by maintaining the three components in the correct balance whereby rationalism is the guiding principle and appetites are subservient. Plato would therefore argue that Woody Allen’s depiction of injustice as cool though the characterization of Judah falls short in portraying the underlying truth in as far as long term repercussions of injustice are concerned.


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