[PEN-L:4320] Re: Irony I. Footnote on Plato

Sam Pawlett epawlett at uniserve.com
Mon Mar 15 14:27:50 PST 1999

I've always wondered just how much Francis Cornford was influenced by Marxism. Anyone know? His translations of Plato contain a lot of Marxish language. He translates Thrasymachus like this:

"In every case, the laws are made by the ruling party in its own interest; a democracy makes democratic laws, a despot autocratic one and so on. By making these laws they define as 'right' for their subjects whatever is for their interest, and they call anyone who breaks then a 'wrongdoer' and punish him accordingly. That is what I mean: in all states alike 'right' has the same meaning, namely what is for the interest of the party established in power and that is the strongest. So the sound conclusion is that what is 'right' is the same everywhere: the interest of the stronger party."

One could also draw a nihilistic or relativistic conclusion from this too. The very concept of justice itself is used by the stronger to rule the weaker, to submit the weaker to their wills. The law of the jungle so to speak.


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