Never mind, I replied, if he now says that they are, let us accept his
statement. Tell me, Thrasymachus, I said, did you mean by justice what the
stronger thought to be his interest, whether really so or not?
Certainly not, he said. Do you suppose that I call him who is mistaken the
stronger at the time when he is mistaken?
Yes, I said, my impression was that you did so, when you admitted that the
ruler was not infallible but might be sometimes mistaken.
You argue like an informer, Socrates. Do you mean, for example, that he
who is mistaken about the sick is a physician in that he is mistaken? or
that he who errs in arithmetic or grammar is an arithmetician or grammarian
at the time when he is making the mistake, in respect of the mistake?
True, we say that the physician or arithmetician or grammarian has made a
mistake, but this is only a way of speaking; for the fact is that neither
the grammarian nor any other person of skill ever makes a mistake in so far
as he is what his name implies; they none of them err unless their skill
fails them, and then they cease to be skilled artists. No artist or sage
or ruler errs at the time when he is what his name implies; though he is
commonly said to err, and I adopted the common mode of speaking. But to be
perfectly accurate, since you are such a lover of accuracy, we should say
that the ruler, in so far as he is a ruler, is unerring, and, being
unerring, always commands that which is for his own interest; and the
subject is required to execute his commands; and therefore, as I said at
first and now repeat, justice is the interest of the stronger.
Indeed, Thrasymachus, and do I really appear to you to argue like an
Certainly, he replied.
And do you suppose that I ask these questions with any design of injuring
you in the argument?
Nay, he replied, 'suppose' is not the word--I know it; but you will be
found out, and by sheer force of argument you will never prevail.
I shall not make the attempt, my dear man; but to avoid any
misunderstanding occurring between us in future, let me ask, in what sense
do you speak of a ruler or stronger whose interest, as you were saying, he
being the superior, it is just that the inferior should execute--is he a
ruler in the popular or in the strict sense of the term?
In the strictest of all senses, he said. And now cheat and play the
informer if you can; I ask no quarter at your hands. But you never will be
And do you imagine, I said, that I am such a madman as to try and cheat,
Thrasymachus? I might as well shave a lion.
Why, he said, you made the attempt a minute ago, and you failed.
Enough, I said, of these civilities. It will be better that I should ask
you a question: Is the physician, taken in that strict sense of which you
are speaking, a healer of the sick or a maker of money? And remember that
I am now speaking of the true physician.
A healer of the sick, he replied.
And the pilot--that is to say, the true pilot--is he a captain of sailors
or a mere sailor?
A captain of sailors.
The circumstance that he sails in the ship is not to be taken into account;
neither is he to be called a sailor; the name pilot by which he is
distinguished has nothing to do with sailing, but is significant of his
skill and of his authority over the sailors.
Very true, he said.
Now, I said, every art has an interest?
For which the art has to consider and provide?
Yes, that is the aim of art.
And the interest of any art is the perfection of it--this and nothing else?
What do you mean?
I mean what I may illustrate negatively by the example of the body.
Suppose you were to ask me whether the body is self-sufficing or has wants,
I should reply: Certainly the body has wants; for the body may be ill and
require to be cured, and has therefore interests to which the art of
medicine ministers; and this is the origin and intention of medicine, as
you will acknowledge. Am I not right?
Quite right, he replied.
But is the art of medicine or any other art faulty or deficient in any
quality in the same way that the eye may be deficient in sight or the ear
fail of hearing, and therefore requires another art to provide for the
interests of seeing and hearing--has art in itself, I say, any similar
liability to fault or defect, and does every art require another
supplementary art to provide for its interests, and that another and
another without end? Or have the arts to look only after their own
interests? Or have they no need either of themselves or of another?--
having no faults or defects, they have no need to correct them, either by
the exercise of their own art or of any other; they have only to consider
the interest of their subject-matter. For every art remains pure and
faultless while remaining true--that is to say, while perfect and
unimpaired. Take the words in your precise sense, and tell me whether I am
Then medicine does not consider the interest of medicine, but the interest
of the body?
True, he said.
Nor does the art of horsemanship consider the interests of the art of
horsemanship, but the interests of the horse; neither do any other arts
care for themselves, for they have no needs; they care only for that which
is the subject of their art?
True, he said.
But surely, Thrasymachus, the arts are the superiors and rulers of their
To this he assented with a good deal of reluctance.
Then, I said, no science or art considers or enjoins the interest of the
stronger or superior, but only the interest of the subject and weaker?
He made an attempt to contest this proposition also, but finally
Then, I continued, no physician, in so far as he is a physician, considers
his own good in what he prescribes, but the good of his patient; for the
true physician is also a ruler having the human body as a subject, and is
not a mere money-maker; that has been admitted?
And the pilot likewise, in the strict sense of the term, is a ruler of
sailors and not a mere sailor?
That has been admitted.
And such a pilot and ruler will provide and prescribe for the interest of
the sailor who is under him, and not for his own or the ruler's interest?
He gave a reluctant 'Yes.'
Then, I said, Thrasymachus, there is no one in any rule who, in so far as
he is a ruler, considers or enjoins what is for his own interest, but
always what is for the interest of his subject or suitable to his art; to
that he looks, and that alone he considers in everything which he says and
When we had got to this point in the argument, and every one saw that the
definition of justice had been completely upset, Thrasymachus, instead of
replying to me, said: Tell me, Socrates, have you got a nurse?
Why do you ask such a question, I said, when you ought rather to be
Because she leaves you to snivel, and never wipes your nose: she has not
even taught you to know the shepherd from the sheep.
What makes you say that? I replied.
Because you fancy that the shepherd or neatherd fattens or tends the sheep
or oxen with a view to their own good and not to the good of himself or his
master; and you further imagine that the rulers of states, if they are true
rulers, never think of their subjects as sheep, and that they are not
studying their own advantage day and night. Oh, no; and so entirely astray
are you in your ideas about the just and unjust as not even to know that
justice and the just are in reality another's good; that is to say, the
interest of the ruler and stronger, and the loss of the subject and
servant; and injustice the opposite; for the unjust is lord over the truly
simple and just: he is the stronger, and his subjects do what is for his
interest, and minister to his happiness, which is very far from being their
own. Consider further, most foolish Socrates, that the just is always a
loser in comparison with the unjust. First of all, in private contracts:
wherever the unjust is the partner of the just you will find that, when the
partnership is dissolved, the unjust man has always more and the just less.
Secondly, in their dealings with the State: when there is an income-tax,
the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of
income; and when there is anything to be received the one gains nothing and
the other much. Observe also what happens when they take an office; there
is the just man neglecting his affairs and perhaps suffering other losses,
and getting nothing out of the public, because he is just; moreover he is
hated by his friends and acquaintance for refusing to serve them in
unlawful ways. But all this is reversed in the case of the unjust man. I
am speaking, as before, of injustice on a large scale in which the
advantage of the unjust is most apparent; and my meaning will be most
clearly seen if we turn to that highest form of injustice in which the
criminal is the happiest of men, and the sufferers or those who refuse to
do injustice are the most miserable--that is to say tyranny, which by fraud
and force takes away the property of others, not little by little but
wholesale; comprehending in one, things sacred as well as profane, private
and public; for which acts of wrong, if he were detected perpetrating any
one of them singly, he would be punished and incur great disgrace--they who
do such wrong in particular cases are called robbers of temples, and
man-stealers and burglars and swindlers and thieves. But when a man
besides taking away the money of the citizens has made slaves of them,
then, instead of these names of reproach, he is termed happy and blessed,
not only by the citizens but by all who hear of his having achieved the
consummation of injustice. For mankind censure injustice, fearing that
they may be the victims of it and not because they shrink from committing
it. And thus, as I have shown, Socrates, injustice, when on a sufficient
scale, has more strength and freedom and mastery than justice; and, as I
said at first, justice is the interest of the stronger, whereas injustice
is a man's own profit and interest.
Thrasymachus, when he had thus spoken, having, like a bath-man, deluged our
ears with his words, had a mind to go away. But the company would not let
him; they insisted that he should remain and defend his position; and I
myself added my own humble request that he would not leave us.
Thrasymachus, I said to him, excellent man, how suggestive are your
remarks! And are you going to run away before you have fairly taught or
learned whether they are true or not? Is the attempt to determine the way
of man's life so small a matter in your eyes--to determine how life may be
passed by each one of us to the greatest advantage?
And do I differ from you, he said, as to the importance of the enquiry?
You appear rather, I replied, to have no care or thought about us,
Thrasymachus--whether we live better or worse from not knowing what you say
you know, is to you a matter of indifference. Prithee, friend, do not keep
your knowledge to yourself; we are a large party; and any benefit which you
confer upon us will be amply rewarded. For my own part I openly declare
that I am not convinced, and that I do not believe injustice to be more
gainful than justice, even if uncontrolled and allowed to have free play.
For, granting that there may be an unjust man who is able to commit
injustice either by fraud or force, still this does not convince me of the
superior advantage of injustice, and there may be others who are in the
same predicament with myself. Perhaps we may be wrong; if so, you in your
wisdom should convince us that we are mistaken in preferring justice to
And how am I to convince you, he said, if you are not already convinced by
what I have just said; what more can I do for you? Would you have me put
the proof bodily into your souls?
Heaven forbid! I said; I would only ask you to be consistent; or, if you
change, change openly and let there be no deception. For I must remark,
Thrasymachus, if you will recall what was previously said, that although
you began by defining the true physician in an exact sense, you did not
observe a like exactness when speaking of the shepherd; you thought that
the shepherd as a shepherd tends the sheep not with a view to their own
good, but like a mere diner or banquetter with a view to the pleasures of
the table; or, again, as a trader for sale in the market, and not as a
shepherd. Yet surely the art of the shepherd is concerned only with the
good of his subjects; he has only to provide the best for them, since the
perfection of the art is already ensured whenever all the requirements of
it are satisfied. And that was what I was saying just now about the ruler.
I conceived that the art of the ruler, considered as ruler, whether in a
state or in private life, could only regard the good of his flock or
subjects; whereas you seem to think that the rulers in states, that is to
say, the true rulers, like being in authority.
Think! Nay, I am sure of it.
Then why in the case of lesser offices do men never take them willingly
without payment, unless under the idea that they govern for the advantage
not of themselves but of others? Let me ask you a question: Are not the
several arts different, by reason of their each having a separate function?
And, my dear illustrious friend, do say what you think, that we may make a
Yes, that is the difference, he replied.
And each art gives us a particular good and not merely a general one--
medicine, for example, gives us health; navigation, safety at sea, and so
Yes, he said.
And the art of payment has the special function of giving pay: but we do
not confuse this with other arts, any more than the art of the pilot is to
be confused with the art of medicine, because the health of the pilot may
be improved by a sea voyage. You would not be inclined to say, would you,
that navigation is the art of medicine, at least if we are to adopt your
exact use of language?
Or because a man is in good health when he receives pay you would not say
that the art of payment is medicine?
I should not.
Nor would you say that medicine is the art of receiving pay because a man
takes fees when he is engaged in healing?
And we have admitted, I said, that the good of each art is specially
confined to the art?
Then, if there be any good which all artists have in common, that is to be
attributed to something of which they all have the common use?
True, he replied.
And when the artist is benefited by receiving pay the advantage is gained
by an additional use of the art of pay, which is not the art professed by
He gave a reluctant assent to this.
Then the pay is not derived by the several artists from their respective
arts. But the truth is, that while the art of medicine gives health, and
the art of the builder builds a house, another art attends them which is
the art of pay. The various arts may be doing their own business and
benefiting that over which they preside, but would the artist receive any
benefit from his art unless he were paid as well?
I suppose not.
But does he therefore confer no benefit when he works for nothing?
Certainly, he confers a benefit.
Then now, Thrasymachus, there is no longer any doubt that neither arts nor
governments provide for their own interests; but, as we were before saying,
they rule and provide for the interests of their subjects who are the
weaker and not the stronger--to their good they attend and not to the good
of the superior. And this is the reason, my dear Thrasymachus, why, as I
was just now saying, no one is willing to govern; because no one likes to
take in hand the reformation of evils which are not his concern without
remuneration. For, in the execution of his work, and in giving his orders
to another, the true artist does not regard his own interest, but always
that of his subjects; and therefore in order that rulers may be willing to
rule, they must be paid in one of three modes of payment, money, or honour,
or a penalty for refusing.
What do you mean, Socrates? said Glaucon. The first two modes of payment
are intelligible enough, but what the penalty is I do not understand, or
how a penalty can be a payment.
You mean that you do not understand the nature of this payment which to the
best men is the great inducement to rule? Of course you know that ambition
and avarice are held to be, as indeed they are, a disgrace?
And for this reason, I said, money and honour have no attraction for them;
good men do not wish to be openly demanding payment for governing and so to
get the name of hirelings, nor by secretly helping themselves out of the
public revenues to get the name of thieves. And not being ambitious they
do not care about honour. Wherefore necessity must be laid upon them, and
they must be induced to serve from the fear of punishment. And this, as I
imagine, is the reason why the forwardness to take office, instead of
waiting to be compelled, has been deemed dishonourable. Now the worst part
of the punishment is that he who refuses to rule is liable to be ruled by
one who is worse than himself. And the fear of this, as I conceive,
induces the good to take office, not because they would, but because they
cannot help--not under the idea that they are going to have any benefit or
enjoyment themselves, but as a necessity, and because they are not able to
commit the task of ruling to any one who is better than themselves, or
indeed as good. For there is reason to think that if a city were composed
entirely of good men, then to avoid office would be as much an object of
contention as to obtain office is at present; then we should have plain
proof that the true ruler is not meant by nature to regard his own
interest, but that of his subjects; and every one who knew this would
choose rather to receive a benefit from another than to have the trouble of
conferring one. So far am I from agreeing with Thrasymachus that justice
is the interest of the stronger. This latter question need not be further
discussed at present; but when Thrasymachus says that the life of the
unjust is more advantageous than that of the just, his new statement
appears to me to be of a far more serious character. Which of us has
spoken truly? And which sort of life, Glaucon, do you prefer?
I for my part deem the life of the just to be the more advantageous, he
Did you hear all the advantages of the unjust which Thrasymachus was
Yes, I heard him, he replied, but he has not convinced me.
Then shall we try to find some way of convincing him, if we can, that he is
saying what is not true?
Most certainly, he replied.
If, I said, he makes a set speech and we make another recounting all the
advantages of being just, and he answers and we rejoin, there must be a
numbering and measuring of the goods which are claimed on either side, and
in the end we shall want judges to decide; but if we proceed in our enquiry
as we lately did, by making admissions to one another, we shall unite the
offices of judge and advocate in our own persons.
Very good, he said.
And which method do I understand you to prefer? I said.
That which you propose.
Well, then, Thrasymachus, I said, suppose you begin at the beginning and
answer me. You say that perfect injustice is more gainful than perfect
Yes, that is what I say, and I have given you my reasons.
And what is your view about them? Would you call one of them virtue and
the other vice?
I suppose that you would call justice virtue and injustice vice?
What a charming notion! So likely too, seeing that I affirm injustice to
be profitable and justice not.
What else then would you say?
The opposite, he replied.
And would you call justice vice?
No, I would rather say sublime simplicity.
Then would you call injustice malignity?
No; I would rather say discretion.
And do the unjust appear to you to be wise and good?
Yes, he said; at any rate those of them who are able to be perfectly
unjust, and who have the power of subduing states and nations; but perhaps
you imagine me to be talking of cutpurses. Even this profession if
undetected has advantages, though they are not to be compared with those of
which I was just now speaking.
I do not think that I misapprehend your meaning, Thrasymachus, I replied;
but still I cannot hear without amazement that you class injustice with
wisdom and virtue, and justice with the opposite.
Certainly I do so class them.
Now, I said, you are on more substantial and almost unanswerable ground;
for if the injustice which you were maintaining to be profitable had been
admitted by you as by others to be vice and deformity, an answer might have
been given to you on received principles; but now I perceive that you will
call injustice honourable and strong, and to the unjust you will attribute
all the qualities which were attributed by us before to the just, seeing
that you do not hesitate to rank injustice with wisdom and virtue.
You have guessed most infallibly, he replied.
Then I certainly ought not to shrink from going through with the argument
so long as I have reason to think that you, Thrasymachus, are speaking your
real mind; for I do believe that you are now in earnest and are not amusing
yourself at our expense.
I may be in earnest or not, but what is that to you?--to refute the
argument is your business.
Very true, I said; that is what I have to do: But will you be so good as
answer yet one more question? Does the just man try to gain any advantage
over the just?
Far otherwise; if he did he would not be the simple amusing creature which
And would he try to go beyond just action?
He would not.
And how would he regard the attempt to gain an advantage over the unjust;
would that be considered by him as just or unjust?
He would think it just, and would try to gain the advantage; but he would
not be able.
Whether he would or would not be able, I said, is not to the point. My
question is only whether the just man, while refusing to have more than
another just man, would wish and claim to have more than the unjust?
Yes, he would.
And what of the unjust--does he claim to have more than the just man and to
do more than is just?
Of course, he said, for he claims to have more than all men.
And the unjust man will strive and struggle to obtain more than the unjust
man or action, in order that he may have more than all?
We may put the matter thus, I said--the just does not desire more than his
like but more than his unlike, whereas the unjust desires more than both
his like and his unlike?
Nothing, he said, can be better than that statement.
And the unjust is good and wise, and the just is neither?
Good again, he said.
And is not the unjust like the wise and good and the just unlike them?
Of course, he said, he who is of a certain nature, is like those who are of
a certain nature; he who is not, not.
Each of them, I said, is such as his like is?
Certainly, he replied.
Very good, Thrasymachus, I said; and now to take the case of the arts: you
would admit that one man is a musician and another not a musician?
And which is wise and which is foolish?
Clearly the musician is wise, and he who is not a musician is foolish.
And he is good in as far as he is wise, and bad in as far as he is foolish?
And you would say the same sort of thing of the physician?
And do you think, my excellent friend, that a musician when he adjusts the
lyre would desire or claim to exceed or go beyond a musician in the
tightening and loosening the strings?
I do not think that he would.
But he would claim to exceed the non-musician?
And what would you say of the physician? In prescribing meats and drinks
would he wish to go beyond another physician or beyond the practice of
He would not.
But he would wish to go beyond the non-physician?
And about knowledge and ignorance in general; see whether you think that
any man who has knowledge ever would wish to have the choice of saying or
doing more than another man who has knowledge. Would he not rather say or
do the same as his like in the same case?
That, I suppose, can hardly be denied.
And what of the ignorant? would he not desire to have more than either the
knowing or the ignorant?
I dare say.
And the knowing is wise?
And the wise is good?
Then the wise and good will not desire to gain more than his like, but more
than his unlike and opposite?
I suppose so.
Whereas the bad and ignorant will desire to gain more than both?
But did we not say, Thrasymachus, that the unjust goes beyond both his like
and unlike? Were not these your words?
And you also said that the just will not go beyond his like but his unlike?
Then the just is like the wise and good, and the unjust like the evil and
That is the inference.
And each of them is such as his like is?
That was admitted.
Then the just has turned out to be wise and good and the unjust evil and
Thrasymachus made all these admissions, not fluently, as I repeat them, but
with extreme reluctance; it was a hot summer's day, and the perspiration
poured from him in torrents; and then I saw what I had never seen before,
Thrasymachus blushing. As we were now agreed that justice was virtue and
wisdom, and injustice vice and ignorance, I proceeded to another point:
Well, I said, Thrasymachus, that matter is now settled; but were we not
also saying that injustice had strength; do you remember?
Yes, I remember, he said, but do not suppose that I approve of what you are
saying or have no answer; if however I were to answer, you would be quite
certain to accuse me of haranguing; therefore either permit me to have my
say out, or if you would rather ask, do so, and I will answer 'Very good,'
as they say to story-telling old women, and will nod 'Yes' and 'No.'
Certainly not, I said, if contrary to your real opinion.
Yes, he said, I will, to please you, since you will not let me speak. What
else would you have?
Nothing in the world, I said; and if you are so disposed I will ask and you
Then I will repeat the question which I asked before, in order that our
examination of the relative nature of justice and injustice may be carried
on regularly. A statement was made that injustice is stronger and more
powerful than justice, but now justice, having been identified with wisdom
and virtue, is easily shown to be stronger than injustice, if injustice is
ignorance; this can no longer be questioned by any one. But I want to view
the matter, Thrasymachus, in a different way: You would not deny that a
state may be unjust and may be unjustly attempting to enslave other states,
or may have already enslaved them, and may be holding many of them in
True, he replied; and I will add that the best and most perfectly unjust
state will be most likely to do so.
I know, I said, that such was your position; but what I would further
consider is, whether this power which is possessed by the superior state
can exist or be exercised without justice or only with justice.
If you are right in your view, and justice is wisdom, then only with
justice; but if I am right, then without justice.
I am delighted, Thrasymachus, to see you not only nodding assent and
dissent, but making answers which are quite excellent.
That is out of civility to you, he replied.
You are very kind, I said; and would you have the goodness also to inform
me, whether you think that a state, or an army, or a band of robbers and
thieves, or any other gang of evil-doers could act at all if they injured
No indeed, he said, they could not.
But if they abstained from injuring one another, then they might act
And this is because injustice creates divisions and hatreds and fighting,
and justice imparts harmony and friendship; is not that true, Thrasymachus?
I agree, he said, because I do not wish to quarrel with you.
How good of you, I said; but I should like to know also whether injustice,
having this tendency to arouse hatred, wherever existing, among slaves or
among freemen, will not make them hate one another and set them at variance
and render them incapable of common action?
And even if injustice be found in two only, will they not quarrel and
fight, and become enemies to one another and to the just?
And suppose injustice abiding in a single person, would your wisdom say
that she loses or that she retains her natural power?
Let us assume that she retains her power.
Yet is not the power which injustice exercises of such a nature that
wherever she takes up her abode, whether in a city, in an army, in a
family, or in any other body, that body is, to begin with, rendered
incapable of united action by reason of sedition and distraction; and does
it not become its own enemy and at variance with all that opposes it, and
with the just? Is not this the case?
And is not injustice equally fatal when existing in a single person; in the
first place rendering him incapable of action because he is not at unity
with himself, and in the second place making him an enemy to himself and
the just? Is not that true, Thrasymachus?
And O my friend, I said, surely the gods are just?
Granted that they are.
But if so, the unjust will be the enemy of the gods, and the just will be
Feast away in triumph, and take your fill of the argument; I will not
oppose you, lest I should displease the company.
Well then, proceed with your answers, and let me have the remainder of my
repast. For we have already shown that the just are clearly wiser and
better and abler than the unjust, and that the unjust are incapable of
common action; nay more, that to speak as we did of men who are evil acting
at any time vigorously together, is not strictly true, for if they had been
perfectly evil, they would have laid hands upon one another; but it is
evident that there must have been some remnant of justice in them, which
enabled them to combine; if there had not been they would have injured one
another as well as their victims; they were but half-villains in their
enterprises; for had they been whole villains, and utterly unjust, they
would have been utterly incapable of action. That, as I believe, is the
truth of the matter, and not what you said at first. But whether the just
have a better and happier life than the unjust is a further question which
we also proposed to consider. I think that they have, and for the reasons
which I have given; but still I should like to examine further, for no
light matter is at stake, nothing less than the rule of human life.
I will proceed by asking a question: Would you not say that a horse has
And the end or use of a horse or of anything would be that which could not
be accomplished, or not so well accomplished, by any other thing?
I do not understand, he said.
Let me explain: Can you see, except with the eye?
Or hear, except with the ear?
These then may be truly said to be the ends of these organs?
But you can cut off a vine-branch with a dagger or with a chisel, and in
many other ways?
And yet not so well as with a pruning-hook made for the purpose?
May we not say that this is the end of a pruning-hook?
Then now I think you will have no difficulty in understanding my meaning
when I asked the question whether the end of anything would be that which
could not be accomplished, or not so well accomplished, by any other thing?
I understand your meaning, he said, and assent.
And that to which an end is appointed has also an excellence? Need I ask
again whether the eye has an end?
And has not the eye an excellence?
And the ear has an end and an excellence also?
And the same is true of all other things; they have each of them an end and
a special excellence?
That is so.
Well, and can the eyes fulfil their end if they are wanting in their own
proper excellence and have a defect instead?
How can they, he said, if they are blind and cannot see?
You mean to say, if they have lost their proper excellence, which is sight;
but I have not arrived at that point yet. I would rather ask the question
more generally, and only enquire whether the things which fulfil their ends
fulfil them by their own proper excellence, and fail of fulfilling them by
their own defect?
Certainly, he replied.
I might say the same of the ears; when deprived of their own proper
excellence they cannot fulfil their end?
And the same observation will apply to all other things?
Well; and has not the soul an end which nothing else can fulfil? for
example, to superintend and command and deliberate and the like. Are not
these functions proper to the soul, and can they rightly be assigned to any
To no other.
And is not life to be reckoned among the ends of the soul?
Assuredly, he said.
And has not the soul an excellence also?
And can she or can she not fulfil her own ends when deprived of that
Then an evil soul must necessarily be an evil ruler and superintendent, and
the good soul a good ruler?
And we have admitted that justice is the excellence of the soul, and
injustice the defect of the soul?
That has been admitted.
Then the just soul and the just man will live well, and the unjust man will
That is what your argument proves.
And he who lives well is blessed and happy, and he who lives ill the
reverse of happy?
Then the just is happy, and the unjust miserable?
So be it.
But happiness and not misery is profitable.
Then, my blessed Thrasymachus, injustice can never be more profitable than
Let this, Socrates, he said, be your entertainment at the Bendidea.
For which I am indebted to you, I said, now that you have grown gentle
towards me and have left off scolding. Nevertheless, I have not been well
entertained; but that was my own fault and not yours. As an epicure
snatches a taste of every dish which is successively brought to table, he
not having allowed himself time to enjoy the one before, so have I gone
from one subject to another without having discovered what I sought at
first, the nature of justice. I left that enquiry and turned away to
consider whether justice is virtue and wisdom or evil and folly; and when
there arose a further question about the comparative advantages of justice
and injustice, I could not refrain from passing on to that. And the result
of the whole discussion has been that I know nothing at all. For I know
not what justice is, and therefore I am not likely to know whether it is or
is not a virtue, nor can I say whether the just man is happy or unhappy.
End Book I