Community of Thieves Essay

Community of Thieves Essay - 1 Whittaker Spencer Whittaker...

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1 Whittaker Spencer Whittaker Intro to Philosophy 27 February 2013 A Community of Thieves The argument of whether morality really exist as a concrete notion or whether it is just a result of social construction begins with Polemarchus telling Socrates that he has everything he needs despite his old age. He tells Socrates that the definition of a moral person is someone obliged to be good to his or her friends and harm their enemies. Of course, the great philosopher Socrates does not exactly take this statement with a grain of salt and finds some objections to it. He responds with an explanation known as the “skill argument” in which he elaborates on the deterioration of horses and humans in respect to their state of goodness. This leads to Socrates’ complete shredding of Polemarchus’ point of how moral people could possibly harm their enemies and how anyone who causes harm is therefore immoral. Of course this leads us to Thrasymarcus’ rebuttal in which he argues that morality does not really exist, and that it is a tool of those who are in power to control and subjugate others. Thrasymarcus explains that in order to have a good life one is to experience as much pleasure as possible. If a person doesn’t seek pleasure than a life of unhappiness he is destined to live. His conception of morality is essentially the advantage of the stronger and that the more powerful have the opportunity to seek pleasure more easily and often. And since the moral individuals are the ones who seek pleasure in everything, they in turn must act immoral to seek pleasure not only when necessary, but consistantly. Thrasymarcus believes in fact that morality doesn’t exist. Rather, the search for pleasure is what moves us through self-interest instead of a drive to be moral. Those who have power are the ones who contain the ability to find their
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2 pleasure more easily and therefore they can use it to manipulate those who are without. Self- interest drives everyone, but those who have the power are those who can seek self-interest. Rulers should also act to maximize their advantage, no matter who is looking, seek pleasure and you will live a life of happiness according to Thrasymarcus. What makes the rulers so powerful? They can more readily access pleasure and know how to seek it which may mean acting immoral no matter the situation or surroundings.
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