Tyranny and justice: Plato on the abuse of Power, in the Republic

José Gabriel Trindade Santos


Thrasymachus’ argument in Plato’s Republic I on justice and “the just” [man] and their opposites – injustice and “the unjust” [man] – has been subjected to a large number of interpretations. Our objectives here are: 1. to understand how on the basis the definition of justice as “the advantage of the stronger” (338c, 339a, 344c) injustice comes to be seen as “stronger, freer and more masterful than justice” (344c); 2. to read Plato’s criticism of this argument as a warning about the danger of using the law to promote the abuse of Power.

Keywords: Plato, Republic, justice/injustice, tyrant/tyranny.

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