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Plato-Political Science

Plato’s Republic

Introduction

The Plato republic is a book of Socratic dialogue which was written by Plato probably around the year 380 BC it mainly concerns the justice definition as well as character and order of the just man and also just city (Plato and Jowett, 1991). It is however the best known works of Plato and has all through proved that to be amongst the most historically and intellectually influential works of political theory and philosophy. Moreover, in this book Socrates together with other various foreigners and Athenians usually discusses the real meaning of justice as well as examining the possibilities that the just man is actually happier compared to the unjust man or not (Plato and Jowett, 1991). This is clearly illustrated where by they proposes a city in which the philosopher kings are ruling it. There is also the participant discussion of theory of forms, the soul’s immorality as well as the roles played by the poetry and philosophers in the society. Thus, it has been widely celebrated as amongst the books which are most important in the political thought history.

The philosophical themes, ideas and arguments in Plato’s republic

In this book Plato provides answers to several questions concerning why men usually behave justly as well as the definition of justices in the republic Plato then provide answers to define justice in a way which indicates justices as always worthwhile in as well as of itself (Plato and Jowett, 1991). Thus he manages to meet the encountered challenges by providing a single solution that is, providing a definition that is capable of appealing the human psychology, instead of perceived behavior. This clearly portrays that the republic is in fact a deeply anti-political book which mainly emphasizes on the societal justice as well as individual justice rather than political. However, the strategy of Plato in the republic is initially depicted as to explicate the fundamental motion of societal or individual justice which is then followed by deriving a concept which is analogues of individual justice.

Further in books IV, III and II, there is identification of political justice by Plato as harmony in any political body which is structured.  Thus, an ideal society will always consist of three major classes of people, that is, producers which includes; artisans, farmers and craftsmen; guardians which are the rulers and auxiliaries who are the warriors.  As just society is also portrayed as the one in which the relations are right among the above three classes of people. However, every group should be in a position where by it is capable of performing its required functions and every group should be in the correct position of power as compared to others. For instance, the rulers should rule whereas the auxiliaries are responsible for upholding rulers convictions and producers should be limited to exercising the nature granted skills which includes; blacksmithing, farming, painting and so on (Plato and Jowett, 1991). However, justice is portrayed as a specialization principle such that it requires that every person to fulfill his/her societal role in which the nature has actually fitted him/her without interfering with other businesses (Plato and Jowett, 1991).

Thus, Plato does not manage to eliminate all the conflicts between the three classes whereby he continues to show how political justice mirrors the individual justice. This is clearly demonstrated by his claims that every individual’s soul always has a structure of three parts which is analogous to the society’s three classes. The rational part responsible for seeking after the truth and it determines philosophical inclinations, the spirited part which usually desires honor hence determining our feelings of indignation and anger and finally the appetite part which lusts for money and other things. Hence the just individual can as well be defined in a just society analogy such that the entire soul of a just individual aims at fulfilling the rational part desires. The parallels between just individual and just society continue to run deep whereby each class of the society is dominated by one part of the soul (Plato and Jowett, 1991). For example, producers are actually dominated by their individual appetite whereas warriors are spirits dominated and the rulers are actually dominated the rational faculty as well as there strive for wisdom.

However this book provides some answers to the political problems to some extent but not fully hence not a pure fantasy. This is mainly because it mainly discuses issues of societal justice which are in other words intertwined to politics as well as philosophers who were the rulers of the time. In this book the philosophers constitute a class of people who usually possesses knowledge as well as they are always the just men. Also the philosopher’s soul compared to others, aims at fulfilling the rational part desires. Moreover, the comparison between the unjust individual and the philosopher kings, the unjust man is usually represented in the form of a tyrant, entirely ruled by the appetites which are non-rational, thus Plato ends up claiming that justice is always worthwhile for its sake.  However, this does not in anyway attempt to seek for solutions and answers to the political problems which existed at the moment (Plato and Jowett, 1991). This is because the philosophical king who is the ruler is portray as one who desires for the rational part of the soul which the lower class people, that is, the producers are portrayed as ones who use the appetite part of the soul meaning they are driven by their desires for money and other things. This was contrary to the real situation where by the rulers used to oppress and exploit the producers through irrational rules despite been categorized as one who desire for the rational part of the soul. Through out the arguments in this book Plato actually provides a prove as to why justice is always desirable rather than its consequences, otherwise it has been portrayed that justice is in most cases always accompanied on what can be regarded as true pleasure (Plato and Jowett, 1991). However, none of the above probabilities which are supposed to provide the reason as to why justice should be desirable, instead this desire is probably to be connected with relationship between the forms and the just life. Justice is however good because it is actually connected to the good which is greatest, that is, Form of the Good (Plato and Jowett, 1991).

Conclusion 

Plato ends this book republic in some what surprising note. This is after providing the definition to justice as well as establishing it as the good which is greatest, he ends up banishing poets from the city mainly because they appeal to the soul’s basest part through imitation of unjust inclinations (Plato and Jowett, 1991). Thus, Plato claims poetry to be unjust because it encourages people to be in noble emotion which sympathizes with characters we stand to hear about, thus encouraging us to embrace these life emotions. In overall this book does not manage to eliminate the existing political conflicts by being incapable of providing answers and solutions to the political problems at that time. This is mainly because of the way in which it approaches the way of society’s organization, that is, the rulers, the warriors and the producers.         

 

 

Reference:

Plato and Benjamin, Jowett. The Republic: the complete and unabridged Jowett translation. New York: Vintage Books, 1991.

 

 

 

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