plato the republic
Plato: Political Philosophy; Reeve C.D.C. Book Summary. He does this to address the second and driving question of the dialogue: “is the just person happier than the unjust person?” or “what is the relation of justice to happiness?” Given the two central questions of the discussion, Plato’s philosophical concerns in the dialogue are ethical and political. Socrates points out that one is just when each of the three parts of the soul performs its function (442d). ), Reeve. 6 of the Most Important Speeches in History, The Worst Epidemic in History? What Was It like to Be a Jew in Nazi Occupied Rome? According to Sachs, Socrates’ defense of justice does not include compelling reasons to think that a person with a balanced soul will refrain from acts that are traditionally thought to be unjust such as say, theft, murder, or adultery. In other passages Socrates seems to mean that same account of justice ought to apply to the city and to the individual since the X-ness of the whole is due to the X-ness of the parts (435d). The discussion between Socrates and Polemarchus follows (331d-336b). Socrates indicates justice and injustice do not escape the notice of the gods, that the gods love the just and hate the unjust, and that good things come to those whom the gods love (612e-613a). David Sachs, in his influential article “A Fallacy in Plato’s Republic”, argues that Socrates’ defense of justice entails a crucial problem which renders the defense problematic. He proposes to look for justice in the city first and then to proceed by analogy to find justice in the individual (368c-369a). They are led to Polemarchus’ house (328b). Thus, it is very difficult for us to conclude that Socrates takes the political discussion as seriously as he does the moral question (see Annas, Julia. Sachs implies that justice, as this is traditionally understood, includes actions in relation to others, it includes considerations of other people’s good, and also includes strong motivations not to act unjustly. Socrates proceeds to discuss the education of philosopher kings (502c-d). Several commentators focused on these elements to dismiss the Republic as a proto-totalitarian text (see Popper, Karl. And he also taught that politicians claimed to serve justice and to sit in judgment on their fellow citizens when at the same time those same politicians and "leaders" of the state could not even define justice and might, in fact, be said to be culpable (guilty) of certain injustices perpetrated against their fellow citizens. The most important thing philosophers should study is the Form of the Good (505a). © 2020 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The function of the rational part is thinking, that of the spirited part the experience of emotions, and that of the appetitive part the pursuit of bodily desires. The Scourge of Smallpox in the Americas, Rational – Represents the truth-seeking, philosophical inclination, Appetitive – Combines all human lusts, primarily financial. Socrates then proceeds to find the corresponding four virtues in the individual (434d). This objection amounts to the claim that the second approach may show that the just person will do just actions but it does this by sacrificing Socrates’ claim that being just is always in one’s interest. (iii) We often do not know who our friends and enemies are. They insist that he needs to address the comment he made earlier that the guardians will possess the women and the children of the city in common (449b-d). Thrasymachus points out that the stronger are really only those who do not make mistakes as to what is to their advantage (340d). Socrates announces that he will begin discussing the regimes and individual that deviate the least from the just city and individual and proceed to discuss the ones that deviate the most (545b-c). Other interpreters indicate that the Republic is essentially about both ethics and politics (among others see Santas, Gerasimos. from your Reading List will also remove any But, Socrates also spends a lot of time in the dialogue on political matters in relation to the question of political justice such as education, the positions and relations among political classes, war, property, the causes of political strife and change of regimes, and several other matters. Discussions on Plato’s Ethics and Political Philosophy, Discussions of Plato’s Defense of Justice in the Republic, Discussions of Political Measures Introduced in the Just City, Discussions of the Role of Women in the Just City, Discussions on Plato’s Moral Psychology in the Republic. The cause of change in regime is lack of unity in the rulers (545d). The just person’s love of the forms is the desire to contemplate and also imitate or instantiate these in the world. The individual who becomes an actual tyrant of a city is the unhappiest of all (578b-580a). Socrates proceeds to outline the structure of the philosopher king’s education so that they can reach an understanding of the Forms (521d). Socrates responds with a discussion of art or craft and points out that its aim is to do what is good for its subjects, not what is good for the practitioner (341c). Lorenz, Hendrik. This wide scope of the dialogue presents various interpretative difficulties and has resulted in thousands of scholarly works. Thus, the argument suggests, in addition to the main ethical question the dialogue is also about political philosophy. Socrates explains the process by which an individual becomes timocratic: he listens to his mother complain about his father’s lack of interest in honor and success (549d). Socrates explains how good art can lead to the formation of good character and make people more likely to follow their reason (400e-402c). Imitative poetry prevents the immortal soul from attaining its greatest reward (608c-d). The wisdom of the just city is found in its rulers and it is the type of knowledge that allows them to rule the city well (428b-d). But unlike Sparta, the just city has philosophers as rulers, a rigorous system of education in intellectual matters, and it is not timocratic or honor loving. This is so that the parents think of all the children as their own. The just person’s soul entails desires for certain kinds of objects the most important of which is knowledge. Socrates proceeds penultimately, to discuss democracy. These differences may be construed as a critique of Sparta’s political life. Socrates reemphasizes the importance of the guardian’s education and suggests that the guardians will possess wives and children in common (423e). For example, at (435a), he seems to say that the same account of justice ought to apply to the city and to the individual since the same account of any predicate X must apply to all things that are X. True education is the turning around of the soul from shadows and visible objects to true understanding of the Forms (518c-d). Socrates is now ready to answer the question of whether justice is more profitable than injustice that goes unpunished (444e-445a). “The Analysis of the Soul in Plato’s. Socrates responds by indicating that the natural differences between men and women are not relevant when it comes to the jobs of protecting and ruling the city. Written in 380 BC, The Republic essentially consists of Socrates discussing the meaning and nature of justice with various men, speculating how different hypothetical cities, underpinned by different forms of justice, would fare. He points out that we choose everything with a view to the good (505e). The freedom or license aimed at in the democracy becomes so extreme that any limitations on anyone’s freedom seem unfair. Every person has a soul of three parts, mirroring the three classes in society. In the first of the four sections of the line, Socrates places images/shadows, in the second section visible objects, in the third section truths arrived at via hypotheses as mathematicians do, and in the last section the Forms themselves. The best guardian men are to have sex with the best guardian women to produce offspring of a similar nature (458d-459d). Socrates speaks to Cephalus about old age, the benefits of being wealthy, and justice (328e-331d). Socrates ends the discussion by prompting Glaucon and the others to do well both in this life and in the afterlife (621c-d). They should do so since they are better able to know the truth and since they have the relevant practical knowledge by which to rule. What Do We Know About the People of Roman Vindolanda? The best guardian men will also be allowed to have sex with as many women as they desire in order to increase the likelihood of giving birth to children with similar natures (460a-b). The city/soul analogy is quite puzzling since Socrates seems to apply it in different ways, thus there is much controversy about the exact extent of the analogy. He has assembled several friends and acquaintances in his house on a feast-day in honor of the Thracian goddess, Bendis (the Greek mythological goddess Artemis, goddess of the moon). Both sexes are naturally suited for these tasks (454d-e). Justice is different under different political regimes according to the laws, which are made to serve the interests of the strong (the ruling class in each regime, 338e-339a). There are several competing candidates. Thus, Plato presents Socrates defending psychic health rather than justice. Socrates describes a city that allows for luxuries (“a feverish city,” 372e-373e). Singpurwalla attempts to make her case by showing the following: (1) that according to Socrates our happiness largely resides in being unified with others (she cites the tyrant’s unhappiness due to bad relations with others as evidence for this, 567a-580a); (2) that being unified with others entails considering their own good when we act (she cites Socrates’ claims that when people are unified they share in each other’s pleasures and successes and failures as evidence for this, 462b-e, 463e-464d); (3) thus, behaving unjustly, which involves disregarding another’s good, is incompatible with being unified with others and with our happiness.


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