A History of Western Political Thought by J. S. McClelland

By J. S. McClelland

This can be a nice ebook to achieve a greater knowing of a number of the recommendations of western politcal thought...its sparknotes for any poli sci significant, yet on an highbrow level...its a very good publication.

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Thrasymachus says that justice is always the interest of the stronger, and that would be the case even where the interest of the stronger is publicly proclaimed as the interest of everybody. Thrasymachus claims a knowledge which is worldly knowledge, but not everyday knowledge. In the Republic Socrates is also laying claim to knowledge beyond the appearances, and so it is important for Plato to distinguish between ‘real’ real knowledge beyond the appearances and bogus real knowledge beyond the appearances of the kind that Thrasymachus possesses.

Thrasymachus is worthy of his hire. He has a reputation as someone worth listening to and we can assume that he has done well in this kind of discussion before. Thrasymachus is worldly. He makes a claim to an expertise which looks as if it is based on experience of the political world: no matter where you go you will find that all states are in fact divided into the powerful and the weak, no matter how that fact is disguised. Thrasymachus’ expertise is something like the expertise of political science, seeing beyond the appearances to what really is the case.

That is a tall order. Plato has to convince his audience that justice really is what he says it is and then he has to show that audience that we have good reasons for wanting justice. Justice is obviously a very odd virtue, different in kind from wisdom, courage and selfcontrol, which, with justice, go up to make the catalogue of the virtues. The difference between justice and the other virtues is that the other virtues are worth practising even though others do not practise them. It is to my advantage to be wise if others are foolish, brave (though not foolhardy) if others are poltroons, and temperate if others are profligates.

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