Ethical Perspectives

September 2016

A Game-Theory Solution to the Inconsistency between Thrasymachus and Glaucon in Plato's Republic

  • Hun Chung


In Book I of Platoís Republic, Thrasymachus contends two major claims: (i) justice is the advantage of the stronger, and (ii) justice is the good of the other, while injustice is to oneís own profit and advantage. In the beginning of Book II, Glaucon self-proclaims that he will be representing Thrasymachusí claims in a better way, and provides a story of how justice has originated from a state-of-nature situation. However, Glauconís story of the origin of justice has an implication that justice is the advantage of the weak rather than the stronger. This is inconsistent with Thrasymachusí first claim, which states that justice is the advantage of the stronger. This is a problem for Glaucon since he is supposed to be representing Thrasymachusí original claims in a better way. In the present article, I provide two solutions to this puzzle with the help of elementary game theory.

 Page : 383 - 410

To  Ethical Perspectives 3/2016