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On one's Conduct toward others
- "...to do injustice is a greater evil, and to suffer it a lesser one. With
what then, shall a man provide himself to secure this double advantage:
insurance from doing wrong and from suffering it ? Is it power that he
needs, or will-power ? What I mean is this: can a man escape from being
wronged merely by willing to escape it, or may he escape it by acquiring power
to prevent it ?"
Plato, from Gorgias; Socrates in discourse with
(section 510), W.C. Helmbold translation,
In discourse with the philosopher Socrates, the Greek citizen
Thrasymachus posits the view that 'might makes right', that the ruler
imposes his 'rights' by sheer force, that in a society-- justice or right, is
that which is defined by the stronger, by those in power.
Socrates disagrees in this way:
- "...the art of medicine does not study its own interest, but the needs of
the body, just as a groom shows his skill by caring for horses, not for the
art of grooming. And so every art seeks, not its own advantage--for it
has no deficiencies--but the interest of the subject on which it is
exercised...no art ever studies or enjoins the interest of the superior or
stronger party, but always that of the weaker over which it has authority...
and so with government of any kind: no ruler, in so far as he is acting as
ruler, will study or enjoin what is for his own interest. All that he
says and does will be said and done with a view to what is good and proper for
the subject for whom he practices his art."
Plato, from the Republic; Socrates in discourse with
Part I (Book I, Ch. 3), Francis Cornford's translation
Posted October 6,
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