24 January 2006

"A Grossly Fallacious Argument"

That is David Reeve's verdict, at least, on the argument we've been looking at. Here are his objections, in Philosopher-Kings:

Now it is true that the Craftsman does not try to "outdo" his fellow Craftsmen in that he does not try to go beyond the principles of his (and their) Craft. But the Unjust man does not try to "outdo" his fellows in that way either. Instead, he tries to get the better of them by practicing the Craft of Injustice as well as possible. Moreover, the fact that the Unjust man tries to "outdo" everyone in the sense of trying to get the better of them does not in the least show that Injustice is not a Craft--practitioners of competitive Crafts, such as Generalship or Boxing, do it all the time. Hence Socrates has not succeeded in showing that Injustice is not a Craft, and, therefore, not a virtue.
Now is this correct?--or rather should we think, with Nettleship, that:
Socrates' argument seems unconvincing, not only because of its abstract character but for a further reason. It goes very much to the root of the whole question, and people are very seldom able to face the ultimate issues raised by any question.
What is the root of the whole question? Let me know what you think of the merits of Reeve's objections, and I'll give you Nettleship's judgment, tomorrow.

(By the way, can Somebody tell me the Reason for all of the Upper Case Letters?)