Socrates defends the analogy of the city and the individual (435a-b) and proceeds to distinguish three analogous parts in the soul with their natural functions (436b). Another position is that even though the discussion of political matters is instrumental to addressing the main ethical question of the dialogue, Socrates makes several important contributions to political philosophy. “The City-Soul Analogy”, in Ferrari, G.R.F. As is evident from Books I and II, Socrates’ main aim in the dialogue is to prove that the just person is better off than the unjust person. To support his view, Thrasymachus first claims that the governments, which are the stronger parties, always pass laws based on their own interest, and then argues that subjects must always obey these laws, therefore morality is the advantage of the stronger. Socrates moves on to discuss the manner in which stories should be told (392d). is considered as family and treated as such. Images. 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). O’Connor, David K. “Rewriting the Poets in Plato’s Characters”, in Ferrari, G.R.F. 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). The second issue is that even if thinking of it as a classic in political philosophy is warranted, it is very difficult to situate it in terms of its political position. It is generally accepted that the Republic belongs to the dialogues of Plato’s middle period. Thus he allows his appetitive part to become a more dominant part of his soul (553c). and children be held in common. They find that the Republic has been such a seminal work in the history of political philosophy precisely because it raises such issues as its political stance while discussing many of the features of such political positions. Some may follow convention and object that women should be given different jobs because they differ from men by nature (453a-c). 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 philosopher and the Female in the Political Thought of Plato”, in Kraut, Richard (ed. from their parents and reared together, so that no one knows which Socrates then discusses the requirement that all spouses Ferrari, G.R.F., “The Three-Part Soul”, in Ferrari, G.R.F. He also points out that this is the only possible route by which to reach complete happiness in both public and private life (473e). Socrates points out that the shepherd’s concern for his sheep is different from his concern to make money, which is extraneous to the art (345c) and that no power or art provides what is beneficial to itself (346e). On the way to defending the just life, Socrates considers a tremendous variety of subjects such as several rival theories of justice, competing views of human happiness, education, the nature and importance of philosophy and philosophers, knowledge, the structure of reality, the Forms, the virtues and vices, good and bad souls, good and bad political regimes, the family, the role of women in society, the role of art in society, and even the afterlife. Socrates explains that these rules of procreation are Thereafter, Socrates discusses how the guardians will conduct war (466e). Socrates proceeds to discuss how this measure is for the best and Glaucon allows him to skip discussing its feasibility (458a-c). naturally rational. Socrates launches care even more about their own family. this question, Socrates deals with a few other issues pertaining The guardians need to be educated very carefully to be able to do their job of protecting the city’s citizens, laws, and customs well (376d). Thus, these social reforms seem to be developed for their own sake. The only way to make sure that philosophy is properly appreciated and does not meet hostility is to wipe an existing city clean and begin it anew (501a). Choose the part of The Republic which you want to read from the table of contents to get started. The discussion bet… In order to save Socrates’ defense of justice one needs to show that there is a logical and a causal connection between having a balanced soul and performing socially just actions. It is often taught in courses that focus on political theory or political philosophy. Assuming that the just city could come into being, Socrates indicates that it would eventually change since everything which comes into being must decay (546a-b). Those who eventually become philosopher kings will initially be educated like the other guardians in poetry, music, and physical education (521d-e). The philosopher’s natural abilities and virtues prove that they have what is necessary to rule well: they love what is rather than what becomes (485a-b), they hate falsehood (485c), they are moderate (485d-e), they are courageous (486a-b), they are quick learners (486c), they have a good memory (486c-d), they like proportion since the truth is like it, and they have a pleasant nature (486d-487a). Very soon though, its faults are clearly apparent. And don’t the strong rulers make mistakes and sometimes create laws that do not serve their advantage (339c)? Discussion between Socrates and Thrasymachus follows (336b-354c). Phaedo 78 … killed. 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. Polemarchus claims that justice is helping one’s friends and harming one’s enemies and that this is what one owes people (332c). This will lead to class conflicts (547a). respects men and women have different natures, he believes that Socrates distinguishes three types of persons: one who pursues wisdom, another who pursues honor, and another who pursues profit (579d-581c). Socrates offers three argument in favor of the just life over the unjust life: (i) the just man is wise and good, and the unjust man is ignorant and bad (349b); (ii) injustice produces internal disharmony which prevents effective actions (351b); (iii) virtue is excellence at a thing’s function and the just person lives a happier life than the unjust person, since he performs the various functions of the human soul well (352d). He divides good things into three classes: things good in themselves, things good both in themselves and for their consequences, and things good only for their consequences (357b-d). The freedom or license aimed at in the democracy becomes so extreme that any limitations on anyone’s freedom seem unfair. Platonic Ethics, Old and New). In this book, Plato uses Socratic dialogue to discuss a wide range of topics. The democratic individual has no shame and no self-discipline (560d). The lowest two parts represent the visible realm and the top two parts the intelligible realm. Audio Plato The Republic is a dialogue, after all, so if you're feeling like recreating that sense of conversation, listening to it on audio book could be the perfect solution. 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). The Republic is a popular book by Plato. The second issue has to do with situating the Republic’s political stance. In most cities the citizens’ (all entail a systematic discussion of ethics and/or political philosophy in the Republic). Socrates offers the analogy of the divided line to explain the Form of the Good even further (509d-511d). The tyrant is forced to commit a number of acts to gain and retain power: accuse people falsely, attack his kinsmen, bring people to trial under false pretenses, kill many people, exile many people, and purport to cancel the debts of the poor to gain their support (565e-566a). Those with balanced souls ruled by reason are able to keep their unnecessary desires from becoming lawless and extreme (571d-572b). In Plato’s Republic Book 1, Thrasymachus argues that morality is the advantage of the stronger. Now, in furthering his concept of the Ideal State, Socrates divides the citizens into three groups: the Guardians are divided into two groups, the rulers and the auxiliaries; the rulers take priority in ruling the state, and the auxiliaries aid them. Socrates is asked to defend justice for itself, not for the reputation it allows for (367b). But before answering Socrates explains the multiples by which people are punished and rewarded (615a-b). When it comes Moreover, considering it a political work would be somewhat mistaken. Oligarchy arises out of timocracy and it emphasizes wealth rather than honor (550c-e). Plato's Republic Plato's Republic THE REPUBLIC by Plato (360 B.C.) Then they will receive education in mathematics: arithmetic and number (522c), plane geometry (526c), and solid geometry (528b). He also adds the claim that injustice is in every way better than justice and that the unjust person who commits injustice undetected is always happier than the just person (343e-344c). might have up to four or five spouses in a single one of these festivals. C.D.C. Following these, they will study astronomy (528e), and harmonics (530d). This book has 587 pages in the PDF version. Cooper, John M. “The Psychology of Justice in Plato” in Kraut, Richard (ed. True education is the turning around of the soul from shadows and visible objects to true understanding of the Forms (518c-d). to the guardians’ lifestyle, all of them relating to war. Adeimantus complains that the guardians in the just city will not be very happy (419a). Given the problems of the first two approaches, a third one attempts to show that the just person will do what is just in relation to others while at the same time doing what is in the just person’s interests. The idea of writing treatises on systems of government was followed some decades later by Plato's most prominent pupil Aristotle, whose Politika systematises many of Plato's concepts, in some cases differing from his conclusions. Thereafter, Socrates returns to the subject of poetry and claims that the measures introduced to exclude imitative poetry from the just city seem clearly justified now (595a). Ethics and political philosophy seem to be different sides of the same coin. He provides a long and complicated, but unified argument, in defense of the just life and its necessary connection to the happy life. to barbarian—i.e., non-Greek—enemies, anything goes. The final question to be asked is whether this is a plausible requirement—whether This approach of bridging the gap between a just soul and just actions may have some drawbacks. on the same political roles. Socrates goes on to argue that the measure of allowing the women to perform the same tasks as the men in this way is not only feasible but also best. Moreover, its individual terms are vulnerable; that is to say, how does one know who is a friend and who an enemy? A crucial piece of evidence for this approach is Socrates’ presentation of the philosopher who agrees to rule the city even though this will interfere with his desire to learn. anywhere in this project, Polemarchus and Adeimantus interrupt him. THE REPUBLIC Plato translated by Benjamin Jowett Plato (~428-~348 BC) - One of the greatest and most influential Greek philosophers, he was a disciple of Socrates and the teacher of Aristotle. She aims to show that Socrates has a good reason to think that it is in everyone’s interest to act justly because doing so satisfies a deeply ingrained human need, namely, the need to be unified with others. in the relevant respect—the division among appetitive, spirited, If guardians have sex at an undesignated time U. S. A. Socrates points out that the aim is to make the whole city, and not any particular class, as happy as possible (420b). Thus, Plato presents Socrates defending psychic health rather than justice. The first question is “what is justice?”  Socrates addresses this question both in terms of political communities and in terms of the individual person or soul. Socrates is dissatisfied with the discussion since an adequate account of justice is necessary before they can address whether the just life is better than the unjust life (354b). Glaucon gives a speech defending injustice: (i) justice originates as a compromise between weak people who are afraid that suffering injustice is worse than doing it (358e-359a);  (ii) people act justly because this is necessary and unavoidable, so justice is good only for its consequences (story of the ring of Gyges’ ancestor, 359c-360d); (iii) the unjust person with the reputation for justice is happier than the just person with the reputation for injustice (360d-362c). its aims and concerns. Socrates proceeds to outline the structure of the philosopher king’s education so that they can reach an understanding of the Forms (521d). The just city will follow traditional Greek religious customs (427b). “The Divided Soul and the Desire for Good in Plato’s. Thus, one of the most pressing issues regarding the Republic is whether Socrates defends justice successfully or not. Socrates reluctantly agrees (450a-451b) and begins with the suggestion that the guardian women should perform the same job as the male guardians (451c-d). Glaucon renews Thrasymachus’ argument to challenge Socrates to defend justice by itself without any consideration of what comes from it (358b ff.). into a lengthy discussion about the lifestyle of the guardians. The timocratic individual’s soul is at a middle point between reason and spirit. The courage of the just city is found in its military and it is correct and lawful belief about what to fear and what not to fear (429a-430b). The dialogue explores two central questions. Socrates then proceeds to find the corresponding four virtues in the individual (434d). The just city should be only as large in size as would permit it to be unified and stable (423b). Socrates begins by discussing the origins of political life and constructs a just city in speech that satisfies only basic human necessities (369b-372c). “The Naked Old Women in the Palaestra”, in Kraut, Richard (ed. Dahl, Norman O. Socrates concludes by suggesting that the easiest way to bring the just city into being would be to expel everyone over the age of ten out of an existing city (540e-541b). When it comes to Greek enemies, he orders that In the just city, everyone In Book VIII he criticizes democracy as an unjust regime and thus he seems to launch a critique against Athenian democracy. 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. Both sexes are naturally suited for these tasks (454d-e). He also explains that anyone who behaves Since current political regimes lead to either the corruption or the destruction of the philosopher, he should avoid politics and lead a quiet private life (496c-d). Socrates argues that if poets had knowledge of the truth they would want to be people who do great things rather than remain poets (599b). Book X of Plato's Reputblic deals with aesthetic theory, the immortality of the soul, and the destiny of man. ... Click anywhere in the line to jump to another position: book: book 1 book 2 book 3 book 4 book 5 book 6 book 7 book 8 book 9 book … The tyrant comes about by presenting himself as a champion of the people against the class of the few people who are wealthy (565d-566a). about sharing spouses and children in common. It aims to debate and conclusively determine the meaning of Justice. Singpurwalla suggests a fourth approach which can defend Socrates contra Sachs and which will avoid the criticisms launched against the other approaches. The line also represents degrees of clarity and opacity as the lowest sections are more opaque and the higher sections clearer. 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. Socrates describes a city that allows for luxuries (“a feverish city,” 372e-373e). Socrates explains how good art can lead to the formation of good character and make people more likely to follow their reason (400e-402c). ), Urmson, James O. For guardians, sexual intercourse who are most admirable and thus whom we most wish to reproduce, About Plato's Republic. Socrates’ objections to Polemarchus’ definition are as follows: (i) Is this appropriate in medicine or cooking? Socrates picks up the argument that was interrupted in Book V.  Glaucon remembers that Socrates was about to describe the four types of unjust regime along with their corresponding unjust individuals (543c-544b). Blossner, Norbert. This is the case since the most suited people for the job will be performing it (456c). Socrates proceeds to offer a third proof that the just are happier than the unjust (583b). Socrates walks to the Athens harbor, the Piraeus, with Glaucon, Plato's brother.Socrates and Glaucon are invited to Polemarchus ' house by Polemarchus and Adeimantus.They join Thrasymachus and Polemarchus' father, Cephalus.Socrates asks Cephalus if age is as much a hardship as people say. They care about the good of the whole, but they Another relevant consideration is that there are several indications in the dialogue that the aim in the discussion is more pressing than the means (the just city). As written by Plato, The Republic does not have these indicators. Socrates and Glaucon visit the Piraeus to attend a festival in honor of the Thracian goddess Bendis (327a). The first is whether the Republic is primarily about ethics or about politics. The Republic entails elements of socialism as when Socrates expresses the desire to achieve happiness for the whole city not for any particular group of it (420b) and when he argues against inequalities in wealth (421d). Socrates indicates that the tyrant faces the dilemma to either live with worthless people or with good people who may eventually depose him and chooses to live with worthless people (567d). children descend from which adults. The first deviant regime from just kingship or aristocracy will be timocracy, that emphasizes the pursuit of honor rather than wisdom and justice (547d ff.). Cf. Moss, Jessica. But no other Dialogue of Plato has the same largeness of view and the same perfection of style; no other shows an e… The tyrannical person is mad with lust (573c) and this leads him to seek any means by which to satisfy his desires and to resist anyone who gets in his way (573d-574d). Plato: Political Philosophy; Reeve C.D.C. The paradigm of the happy unjust person is the tyrant who is able to satisfy all his desires (344a-b). Plato’s Republic – Key Insights: Plato’s Republic is one of the most well-known pieces of philosophical work. Thrasymachus suggests that some arts, such as that of shepherds, do not do this but rather aim at the advantage of the practitioner (343c). Socrates seems to argue against allowing much freedom to individuals and to criticize the democratic tendency to treat humans as equals. He uses a comparison with optical illusions (602c) to argue that imitative poetry causes the parts of the soul to be at war with each other and this leads to injustice (603c-605b). Philosophers love and pursue all of wisdom (475b-c) and they especially love the sight of truth (475e). This wide scope of the dialogue presents various interpretative difficulties and has resulted in thousands of scholarly works. as festivals. By using instances of psychological conflict, he distinguishes the function of the rational part from that of the appetitive part of the soul (439a). Start studying Plato's The Republic - Book 2. Socrates requires clarification of the definition: does it mean that justice is what the stronger think is beneficial to them or what is actually beneficial to them (339b)? It is far to relative to serve as a formulation of the justice. This city will be militaristic. What is justice? Socrates proceeds to argue that these arrangements will ensure that unity spreads throughout the city (462a-465d). Philosopher Kings). But before he can get The souls of the dead go up through an opening on the right if they were just, or below through an opening on the left if they were unjust (614d). Socrates explains the virtues of the individual’s soul and how they correspond to the virtues of the city (441c-442d). He divides such manners into simple narration (in third person) and imitative narration (in first person, 392d). The various souls discuss their rewards and punishments (614e-615a). He explains what it is by distinguishing several levels of imitation through the example of a couch: there is the Form of the couch, the particular couch, and a painting of a couch (596a-598b). In Book I, Socrates entertains two distinct definitions of justice. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Lorenz, Hendrik. (iv) It does not seem to be just to treat anyone badly, not even an enemy (335b). The tyrant eliminates the rich, brave, and wise people in the city since he perceives them as threats to his power (567c). Sexual relations between these groups is forbidden. A second approach to bridging the gap between the just soul and just actions has been to show that the just person’s knowledge of the good, directly motivates him to perform just actions and to refrain from unjust ones (see Cooper, John “The Psychology of Justice in Plato’s Republic” and White, N. A Companion to Plato’s Republic). He divides a line into two unequal sections once and then into two unequal sections again. In Plato’s early dialogues, Socrates refutes the accounts of his interlocutors and the discussion ends with no satisfactory answer to the matter investigated. The most serious charge against imitative poetry is that it even corrupts decent people (605c). Od. There should be neither too much wealth nor too much poverty in the city since these cause social strife (421d-422a). 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). Thus, the argument suggests, in addition to the main ethical question the dialogue is also about political philosophy. These two observations raise two issues. Those with philosophical natures need to practice philosophy all their lives, especially when they are older (498a-c). (For a thorough discussion of these issues and the various interpretations of the city/soul analogy see Ferrari, G.R.F. Socrates is now ready to answer the question of whether justice is more profitable than injustice that goes unpunished (444e-445a). Socrates speaks to Cephalus about old age, the benefits of being wealthy, and justice (328e-331d). Some have argued that the Republic is neither a precursor of these political positions nor does it fit any of them. Thrasymachus defines justice as the advantage or what is beneficial to the stronger (338c). so they can watch and learn the art as any young apprentice does. They do this in order to explain what justice is and then they proceed to illustrate justice by analogy in the human soul. in this section Socrates declares that females will be reared and Read The Republic, free online version of the book by Plato, on He suggests that they should only allow very limited ways by which innovations may be introduced to education or change in the laws (424b-425e). In Book II, he proposes to construct the just city in speech in order to find justice in it and then to proceed to find justice in the individual (368a). In response to Thrasymachus, Glaucon, and Adeimantus, Socrates seeks to show that it is always in an individual’s interest to be just, rather than unjust. He states He proposes to look for justice in the city first and then to proceed by analogy to find justice in the individual (368c-369a). “Was Plato a Feminist?”, Saxonhouse, Arlene. It’s a facade if people think that it benefits them, it only really benefits the elite.” Physical education should be geared to benefit the soul rather than the body, since the body necessarily benefits when the soul is in a good condition, whereas the soul does not necessarily benefit when the body is in a good condition (410b-c). Glaucon allows this since Socrates has already defended justice by itself in the soul. The core themes are justice, happiness, and how society should be organized. One such contribution is his description of political regimes in Book VIII and his classification of them on a scale of more or less just. He also adopts several measures in the just city, which were part of the Spartan constitution. The discussion between Socrates and Polemarchus follows (331d-336b). Overview. Poetry is to be censored since the poets may not know which is; thus may lead the soul astray (595b). The Republic is arguably the most popular and most widely taught of Plato's writings.Although it contains its dramatic moments and it employs certain literary devices, it is not a play, a novel, a story; it is not, in a strict sense, an essay. These differences may be construed as a critique of Sparta’s political life. will only take place during certain fixed times of year, designated Vlastos, Gregory. Males and females will be made husband and wife at The city is unified because it shares all This is so that the parents think of all the children as their own. If Socrates is able to show how a just city is always happier than unjust cities, then he can have a model by which to argue that a just person is always happier than an unjust one. Other interpreters indicate that the Republic is essentially about both ethics and politics (among others see Santas, Gerasimos. Plato and His Pals In this famous painting by Raphael called the "School of Athens," Plato and another famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle, stand front and center. Socrates proceeds to discuss the living and housing conditions of the guardians: they will not have private property, they will have little privacy, they will receive what they need from the city via taxation of the other classes, and they will live communally and have common messes (415e-416e). Email: Each of these could provide important contributions to political philosophy. SparkNotes is brought to you by Barnes & Noble. Socrates goes on to explain why philosophers should rule the city. Socrates points out that one is just when each of the three parts of the soul performs its function (442d). Modern ethics is more focused on determining whether an action is morally permissible or not whereas ancient ethics is more focused on happiness or the good life. If it is primarily about ethics then perhaps its recognition as a seminal political work is unwarranted. and sisters. Socrates adds that only if the rational part rules the soul, will each part of the soul find its proper pleasure (586d-587a). Sachs’ critique indicates that as Socrates presents the just person, the person’s balanced soul does not entail a sufficient causal or logical connection to performing socially just actions. ), Reeve. One would not claim that it is just to return weapons one owes to a mad friend (331c), thus justice is not being truthful and returning what one owes as Cephalus claims. 2 It is captious to object that the actual discussion of the philosopher occupies only a few pages.. 3 This is the main theme of the Republic, of which Plato never loses sight.. 4 For κατὰ ταὐτὰ ὡσαύτως ἔχοντος Cf. There are also elements of fascism or totalitarianism. Singpurwalla’s position tries to show that even though the average person may not be able to attain the knowledge of the form of the good, he can still be motivated to act justly since this is in his interest. Socrates claims that the model of the just city cannot come into being until philosophers rule as kings or kings become philosophers (473c-d). Summary and Analysis Book III: Section III Summary. cowardly in war will be stripped of their role as a guardian. The ones receiving this type of education need to exhibit the natural abilities suited to a philosopher discussed earlier.