In the “Antiphon” section of The Sophists the excerpts explore the subject of justice. From there they begin to compare the benefits and detriments of the “nomoi” and the “phusis”. I found the selection from Anonymous Iamblichi especially intriguing due to its take on government and society.
In Anonymous Iamblichi the author supports the nomoi and states that all good things come from it. The nomoi is described as the societal laws set forth to benefit the community. These laws are often the laws that the government establishes to keep peace and order. On the other hand the phusis are the actions we take to benefit the individual. These actions are usually influenced by a desire for personal power and success. The anonymous author in this section states that we need society to survive and therefore will thrive by following the nomoi laws. He/ She even states that by living in the absence of nomoi the individual would “suffer more damage than they would by living alone” (Curd and McKirahan 158). The author goes on to state that the nomoi establishes a sense of trust, safety, and joy. By abiding by the nomoi one has no enemies and “it is [therefore] obvious that power itself – real power – is preserved through nomos and justice” (Curd and McKirahan 158).
This passage intrigued me because the subject discussed is still very prevalent in our lives today. We live in a society controlled by our government. We abide by the rules they set forth and live with the decisions they make. We often complain and argue about our nomoi since we are all influenced by the phusis as well. However, what we forget, and what this passage reminds us, is that we owe much of our security and happiness to our government and nomoi. As humans we thrive and survive through human interaction and personal connections, but only by following the nomoi are these connections possible.