republic (plato)


  • [53] Voegelin[edit] Many critics have suggested that the dialogue’s political discussion actually serves as an analogy for the individual soul, in which there are also many
    different “members” that can either conflict or else be integra

  • Book V–VI: The Ship of State[edit] Main article: Ship of State See also: Form of the Good and Plato’s political philosophy Socrates, having to his satisfaction defined the
    just constitution of both city and psyche, moves to elaborate upon the four unjust constitutions of these.

  • After attributing the origin of society to the individual not being self-sufficient and having many needs which he cannot supply himself, Socrates first describes a “healthy
    state” made up of producers who make enough for a modest subsistence, but Glaucon considers this hardly different than “a city of pigs.”

  • Julian Baggini argued that although the work “was wrong on almost every point, the questions it raises and the methods it uses are essential to the western tradition of philosophy.

  • [51] Popper insists that Republic “was meant by its author not so much as a theoretical treatise, but as a topical political manifesto”,[52] and Bertrand Russell argues that
    at least in intent, and all in all not so far from what was possible in ancient Greek city-states, the form of government portrayed in the Republic was meant as a practical one by Plato.

  • • Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World has a dystopian government that bears a resemblance to the form of government described in the Republic, featuring the separation of people
    by professional class, assignment of profession and purpose by the state, and the absence of traditional family units, replaced by state-organized breeding.

  • Plato however had managed to grasp the ideas specific to his time: Plato is not the man to dabble in abstract theories and principles; his truth-loving mind has recognized
    and represented the truth of the world in which he lived, the truth of the one spirit that lived in him as in Greece itself.

  • [34] For Hegel, Plato’s Republic is not an abstract theory or ideal which is too good for the real nature of man, but rather is not ideal enough, not good enough for the ideals
    already inherent or nascent in the reality of his time; a time when Greece was entering decline.

  • Rather, its purpose is said to be to show how things would have to be connected, and how one thing would lead to another—often with highly problematic results—if one would
    opt for certain principles and carry them through rigorously.

  • Socrates claims that if the people believed “this myth…[it] would have a good effect, making them more inclined to care for the state and one another.

  • Such individual freedoms were excluded from Plato’s Republic: Plato recognized and caught up the true spirit of his times, and brought it forward in a more definite way, in
    that he desired to make this new principle an impossibility in his Republic.

  • A person is wise if he is ruled by the part of the soul that knows “what is beneficial for each part and for the whole,” courageous if his spirited part “preserves in the
    midst of pleasures and pains” the decisions reached by the rational part, and temperate if the three parts agree that the rational part lead (442c–d).

  • Book II–IV: The city and the soul[edit] See also: Plato’s theory of soul and Cardinal virtues Socrates suggests that they use the city as an image to seek how justice comes
    to be in the soul of an individual.

  • [19] Sometimes we let our passions rule our actions or way of thinking, although they should be controlled, so that we can increase our happiness.

  • One such nascent idea was about to crush the Greek way of life: modern freedoms—or Christian freedoms in Hegel’s view—such as the individual’s choice of his social class,
    or of what property to pursue, or which career to follow.

  • [13] He argues that psychological conflict points to a divided soul, since a completely unified soul could not behave in opposite ways towards the same object, at the same
    time, and in the same respect (436b).

  • Adeimantus and Polemarchus interrupt, asking Socrates instead first to explain how the sharing of wives and children in the guardian class is to be defined and legislated,
    a theme first touched on in Book III.

  • Since the philosopher recognizes what is truly good only he is fit to rule society according to Plato.

  • • See also Ring of Gyges: Cultural influences Criticism Gadamer[edit] In his 1934 Plato und die Dichter (Plato and the Poets), as well as several other works, Hans-Georg Gadamer
    describes the utopic city of the Republic as a heuristic utopia that should not be pursued or even be used as an orientation-point for political development.

  • He describes how an aristocrat may become weak or detached from political and material affluence, and how his son will respond to this by becoming overly ambitious.The timocrat
    in turn may be defeated by the courts or vested interests; his son responds by accumulating wealth in order to gain power in society and defend himself against the same predicament, thereby becoming an oligarch.

  • Book VI–VII: Allegories of the Sun, Divided Line, and Cave[edit] Main articles: Analogy of the Sun, Analogy of the Divided Line, and Allegory of the Cave See also: Problem
    of universals, Platonic epistemology, and Theory of Forms The Allegory of the Cave primarily depicts Plato’s distinction between the world of appearances and the ‘real’ world of the Forms.,[17] Just as visible objects must be illuminated in
    order to be seen, so must also be true of objects of knowledge if light is cast on them.

  • Although there are significant differences in the specifics of the system, Heinlein and Plato both describe systems of limited franchise, with a political class that has supposedly
    earned their power and wisely governs the whole.

  • In Books V–VII the abolition of riches among the guardian class (not unlike Max Weber’s bureaucracy) leads controversially to the abandonment of the typical family, and as
    such no child may know his or her parents and the parents may not know their own children.

  • These three waves challenge Socrates’ claims that • both male and female guardians ought to receive the same education • human reproduction ought to be regulated by the state
    and all offspring should be ignorant of their actual biological parents • such a city and its corresponding philosopher-king could actually come to be in the real world.

  • He suggests that the unjust should not fear divine judgement, since the very poets who wrote about such judgement also wrote that the gods would grant forgiveness to those
    who made religious sacrifice.

  • Three are suggested: • Cephalus: To give each what is owed to them (331c) • Polemarchus: To give to each what is appropriate to him (332c) • Thrasymachus: What is advantageous
    for the stronger (338c) Socrates refutes each definition in turn: • One may owe it to someone to return them a knife one has borrowed, but if he has since gone mad and would only harm himself with it, returning the knife would not be just.

  • They also decide to regulate narrative and musical style so as to encourage the four cardinal virtues: wisdom, courage, justice and temperance.

  • The first real philosophical question posed by Plato in the book is when Socrates asks “is life painful at that age, or what report do you make of it?

  • Thus every sort of confusion is revealed within us; and this is that weakness of the human mind on which the art of conjuring and deceiving by light and shadow and other ingenious
    devices imposes, having an effect upon us like magic.

  • [20] Zeno’s Republic was controversial and was viewed with some embarrassment by some of the later Stoics due to its defenses of free love, incest, and cannibalism and due
    to its opposition to ordinary education and the building of temples, law-courts, and gymnasia.

  • Book X: Myth of Er[edit] See also: Myth of Er Concluding a theme brought up most explicitly in the Analogies of the Sun and Divided Line in Book VI, Socrates finally rejects
    any form of imitative art and concludes that such artists have no place in the just city.

  • Therefore, these philosophers unwittingly projected man as an individual in modern society onto a primordial state of nature.

  • The philosopher, however, will not be deceived by the shadows and will hence be able to see the ‘real’ world, the world above that of appearances; the philosopher will gain
    knowledge of things in themselves.

  • And the same may be said of lust and anger and all the other affections, of desire and pain and pleasure, which are held to be inseparable from every action—in all of them
    poetry feeds and waters the passions instead of drying them up; she lets them rule, although they ought to be controlled, if mankind are ever to increase in happiness and virtue.

  • • Polemarchus suggests that what is appropriate is to do good to friends and bad to enemies, but harming someone tends to make them unjust, and so on his definition, justice
    would tend to create injustice.

  • It follows from this definition that one cannot be just if one does not have the other cardinal virtues.

  • [36] The Republic expounded a number of ideas that fascism promoted, such as rule by an elite promoting the state as the ultimate end, opposition to democracy, protecting
    the class system and promoting class collaboration, rejection of egalitarianism, promoting the militarization of a nation by creating a class of warriors, demanding that citizens perform civic duties in the interest of the state, and utilizing
    state intervention in education to promote the development of warriors and future rulers of the state.

  • This requires extensive use of coercion,[22] although persuasion is preferred and is possible if the young are properly raised.

  • [35] Greece being at a crossroads, Plato’s new “constitution” in the Republic was an attempt to preserve Greece: it was a reactionary reply to the new freedoms of private
    property etc., that were eventually given legal form through Rome.

  • “And whenever any one informs us that he has found a man who knows all the arts, and all things else that anybody knows, and every single thing with a higher degree of accuracy
    than any other man—whoever tells us this, I think that we can only imagine to be a simple creature who is likely to have been deceived by some wizard or actor whom he met, and whom he thought all-knowing, because he himself was unable to analyze
    the nature of knowledge and ignorance and imitation.

  • Cephalus answers by saying that many are unhappy about old age because they miss their youth, but he finds that “old age brings us profound repose and freedom from this and
    other passions.

  • [3][4] In the dialogue, Socrates discusses the meaning of justice and whether the just man is happier than the unjust woman with various Athenians and foreigners.

  • Aristocracy degenerates into timocracy when, due to miscalculation on the part of its governing class, the next generation includes persons of an inferior nature, inclined
    not just to cultivating virtues but also producing wealth.

  • Without it we might not have philosophy as we know it.

  • In a tyrannical government, the city is enslaved to the tyrant, who uses his guards to remove the best social elements and individuals from the city to retain power (since
    they pose a threat), while leaving the worst.

  • Socrates says that it is pointless to worry over specific laws, like those pertaining to contracts, since proper education ensures lawful behavior, and poor education causes
    lawlessness (425a–425c).

  • Augustine of Hippo wrote his The City of God; Augustine equally described a model of the “ideal city”, in his case the eternal Jerusalem, using a visionary language not unlike
    that of the preceding philosophers.

  • No man can overleap his time, the spirit of his time is his spirit also; but the point at issue is, to recognize that spirit by its content.

  • Socrates asserts that both male and female guardians be given the same education, that all wives and children be shared, and that they be prohibited from owning private property
    so that guardians will not become possessive and keep their focus on the good of the whole city.

  • Glaucon would like Socrates to prove that justice is not only desirable for its consequences, but also for its own sake.

  • Socrates counters the objection that people raised in censorship will be too naive to judge concerning vice by arguing that adults can learn about vice once their character
    has been formed; before that, they are too impressionable to encounter vice without danger.

  • [48][49][50] Popper thought Plato’s envisioned state totalitarian as it advocated a government composed only of a distinct hereditary ruling class, with the working class—who
    Popper argues Plato regards as “human cattle”—given no role in decision making.

  • This interpretation argues that large passages in Plato’s writing are ironic, a line of thought initially pursued by Kierkegaard.

  • Glaucon uses this argument to challenge Socrates to defend the position that the just life is better than the unjust life.

  • They suggest that the second part of the guardians’ education should be in gymnastics.

  • To demonstrate the problem, he tells the story of Gyges, who – with the help of a ring that turns him invisible – achieves great advantages for himself by committing injustices.

  • Moreover, according to this view, all those who practice justice do so unwillingly and out of fear of punishment, and the life of the unpunished unjust man is far more blessed
    than that of the just man.

  • The arachnids can be seen as much closer to a Republic society than the humans.

  • “[28] He identifies Plato’s ideal society with the early Church as described in the Acts of the Apostles.

  • They find wisdom among the guardian rulers, courage among the guardian warriors (or auxiliaries), temperance among all classes of the city in agreeing about who should rule
    and who should be ruled.

  • More’s island Utopia is also similar to Plato’s Republic in some aspects, among them common property and the lack of privacy.

  • Many think that anyone would and should use the ring as Gyges did if they had it.

  • The philosophers have seen the “Forms” and therefore know what is good.

  • In the fictional tale known as the myth or parable of the metals, Socrates presents the Noble Lie (gennaion pseudos), to convince everyone in the city to perform their social

  • Book VIII–IX: Plato’s five regimes[edit] In Books VIII–IX stand Plato’s criticism of the forms of government.

  • [30][31][32][33] Hegel[edit] Hegel respected Plato’s theories of state and ethics much more than those of the early modern philosophers such as Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau,
    whose theories proceeded from a fictional “state of nature” defined by humanity’s “natural” needs, desires and freedom.

  • However, Thrasymachus ceases to engage actively with Socrates’s arguments, and Socrates himself seems to think that his arguments are inadequate, since he has not offered
    any definition of justice.

  • There are jests which you would be ashamed to make yourself, and yet on the comic stage, or indeed in private, when you hear them, you are greatly amused by them, and are
    not at all disgusted at their unseemliness—the case of pity is repeated—there is a principle in human nature which is disposed to raise a laugh, and this which you once restrained by reason, because you were afraid of being thought a buffoon,
    is now let out again; and having stimulated the risible faculty at the theatre, you are betrayed unconsciously to yourself into playing the comic poet at home.

  • They should be educated and allowed to serve in the military; the best among them might be tomorrow’s philosophers or rulers.

  • Finally, Socrates defines justice in the city as the state in which each class performs only its own work, not meddling in the work of the other classes (433b).

  • Everyone would prefer to get away with harm to others without suffering it themselves, but since they cannot, they agree not to do harm to others so as not to suffer it themselves.

  • The virtues discovered in the city are then sought in the individual soul.

  • [8] However, the first book of the Republic, which shares many features with earlier dialogues, is thought to have originally been written as a separate work, and then the
    remaining books were conjoined to it, perhaps with modifications to the original of the first book.


Works Cited

[‘Henri Estienne (ed.), Platonis opera quae extant omnia, Vol. 2, 1578, p. 327.

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National Public Radio (8 August 2007). Plato’s ‘Republic’ Still Influential, Author Says Archived 20 September 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Talk of the Nation.
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Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
o ^ Baird, Forrest E.; Walter Kaufmann (2008). From Plato to Derrida. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-13-158591-1.
o ^ Although “there would be jarring anachronisms
if any of the candidate specific dates between 432 and 404 were assigned”. Nails, Debra (2002), The People of Plato: A Prosopography of Plato and Other Socratics. Hackett Publishing. ISBN 0-87220-564-9, p. 324
o ^ Jump up to:a b Brandwood, Leonard,
The Chronology of Plato’s Dialogues (Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 251.
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o ^ Plutarch, On Stoic self-contradictions, 1034F
o ^ Res publica is not an exact translation
of Plato’s Greek title politeia. Rather, politeia is a general term for the actual and potential forms of government for a polis or city-state, and Plato attempts to survey all possible forms of the state, while Cicero’s discussion focuses more
on the improvement of the Roman Republic.
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Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. p. xix.
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o ^ (Fakhry 2001, p. 114)
o ^ GRAT. Decr. D. 8 dicta Gratiani § 1 ante c. 1: Nam jure naturali omnia sunt communia omnibus.
o ^ GRAT. Decr. D. 8 dicta
Gratiani § 1 ante c. 1: Unde apud Platonem illa civitas justissime ordinata traditur, in qua quisque proprios nescit affectus.
o ^ Interpreting Thomas More’s Utopia By John Charles Olin Fordham Univ Press, 1989. ISBN 0-8232-1233-5
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of the Ideal in Plato’s ‘Republic’ and St. Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ ” by K. Corrigan Moreana 1990, vol. 27, no.104, pp. 27–49
o ^ “Thomas More: On the Margins of Modernity ” by J. H. Hexter The Journal of British Studies, Vol. 1 (Nov., 1961),
pp. 20–37 JSTOR “We find it in Plato’s Republic, and in Utopia More acknowledges his debt to that book.”
o ^ “More on Utopia” by Brendan Bradshaw The Historical Journal, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Mar., 1981), pp. 1–27 JSTOR “claims that Utopia not merely
emulated Plato’s Republic but excelled it.”
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Abby (5 February 2016). “The most popular required reading at America’s top 10 colleges”. Business Insider. Archived from the original on 7 May 2021.
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Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association (73rd). Boston, MA.
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appeared [2] – In 1977 Andriessen had been awarded several prizes for this composition [3]
o ^ Donald McQuarie “Utopia and Transcendence: An Analysis of Their Decline in Contemporary Science Fiction” The Journal of Popular Culture xiv (2), 242–250.
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o ^ The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real By William Irwin. Open Court Publishing, 2002/ ISBN 0-8126-9501-1 “written for those fans of the film who are already philosophers.”
o ^ Popper accuses
Plato of betraying Socrates. He was not the first to do so. Thomas Jefferson made the same statement in a letter to his friend John Adams in 1814, “Socrates had reason indeed to complain of the misrepresentations of Plato; for in truth his dialogues
are libels on Socrates.” (Jefferson, Thomas. “To John Adams Monticello, July 5, 1814”. University of Groningen.)
o ^ Gilbert Ryle, reviewing Popper’s text just two years after its publication (Ryle, G. (1 April 1947). “Popper, K.R. – The Open Society
and its Enemies”. Mind. 56 (222): 167–172. doi:10.1093/mind/LVI.222.167. JSTOR 2250518.) and agreeing with him, wrote that Plato “was Socrates’ Judas.” (Ryle, G. (1947). p. 169)
o ^ Burke, T.E. (1983). The Philosophy of Popper. Manchester: Manchester
University Press. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-71900911-2.
o ^ Popper, Karl (1950) The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol. 1: The Spell of Plato, New York: Routledge.
o ^ Popper, Karl (1950) The Open Society and Its Enemies, Vol. 1: The Spell of Plato, New
York: Routledge. p. 162.
o ^ Russell, B. (2004) History of Western Philosophy, end of Book I, part 2, ch. 14.
o ^ For an oft-cited argument that the analogy does not work, see T. Penner, “Thought and Desire in Plato.” in G Vlastos ed., Plato,
Vol. 2. Anchor Books, 1971
o ^ Blössner, Norbert. The City-Soul Analogy, G. R. F. Ferrari (Translator). In: G. R. F. Ferrari (Ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Plato’s Republic, Cambridge University Press, 2007. (Ch. 13; pp. 345–385).
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of Political Philosophy, co-editor with Joseph Cropsey, 3rd. ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987, p.68
o ^ History of Political Philosophy, co-editor with Joseph Cropsey, 3rd. ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987, p. 60
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Malcolm Schofield, “Plato and Practical Politics”, in C. Rowe and M. Schofield (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought, Cambridge University Press 2005, pp. 293–302.
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(1898). “The Oxyrhynchus papyri”. p. 187. Archived from the original on 3 May 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
o ^ Mountain Man Graphics. “Plato’s Republic at Nag Hammadi c.350 CE”.
Photo credit:’]