In Book I of The Republic, the argument of what is just and what is unjust is presented. Two distinctive men carry on this debate, Socrates and Thrasymachus, both having different methods for this philosophical discussion. This discussion starts when Simonides gives his definition of justice, "…it is just to give to each what is owed to him" (331e). From this statement, Socrates begins to delve into the minds of the men around him and have them add what they believe Simonides meant, and how they feel about justice. In this essay I will make an attempt to explain Socrates and Thrasymachus’s methods.
Socrates approach to the discussion is to ask more questions and to answer people’s questions with another question. He also refutes what the others are saying, "But what about this? Should one also give one’s enemies whatever is owed to them" (332b). By doing this he is able to figure out what the other people’s beliefs are, but in the process he never directly says how he feels. He uses analogies and induction’s to help understand the individual’s definitions. He compares justice to people’s trades, such as doctors, farmers, and shoemakers.
Thrasymachus, unlike Socrates, is a very opinionated man on the subject at hand. He has a very strong presence from the second he enters the discussion, "Polemarchus and I were frightened and flustered as he roared into our midst: What nonsense have you two been talking, Socrates?" (336c). Thrasymachus’s method is to get straight to the point about the question of justice, he does not believe in prancing around and making
light conversation, which Socrates and Polemarchus have been doing. He also goes on to question Socrates credibility in the matter. It is evident that Thrasymachus is a strong willed person who is very opinionated. He is also not afraid to run his mouth at anyone, "Tell me Socrates, do you still have a wet nurse?… because she’s letting you run around with a snotty nose, and doesn’t wipe it when she needs to!"(343a).
As you can see, Thrasymachus and Socrates take two totally different approaches to debating and general discussions. Although Socrates demeanor is much more relaxed than Thrasymachus’s, he does seem to be more effective in his discussions and gains more respect from his peers.