Early in Plato’s Republic, Socrates debates a sophist, a teacher of rhetoric, named Thrasymachus, about the nature and worth of justice. Thrasymachus’s position, no more unknown to us today than it was in Socrates’s and Plato’s day, is that justice is the advantage of the stronger. On this view, justice simply names the rules set out by rulers to benefit themselves; justice is contingent on the interest and will of the rulers. Whether a political association is ruled by one, a few, or many, the people in charge create justice through law and decree, to which the citizens must conform

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