Paperback è Πολιτεία PDF Þ

Paperback è Πολιτεία PDF Þ


Πολιτεία ☄ Πολιτεία PDF / Epub ✓ Author Plato – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk Presented in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and three different interlocutors this classic text is an enuiry into the notion of a perfect community and the ideal individual within it During t Presented in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and three different interlocutors this classic text is an enuiry into the notion of a perfect community and the ideal individual within it During the conversation other uestions are raised what is goodness; what is reality; and what is knowledge The Republic also addresses the purpose of education and the role of both women and men as guardians of the people With remarkable lucidity and deft use of allegory Plato arrives at a depiction of a state bound by harmony and ruled by philosopher kings.

  • Paperback
  • 416 pages
  • Πολιτεία
  • Plato
  • English
  • 13 June 2016
  • 9780140449143

About the Author: Plato

Πλάτων Arabic.



10 thoughts on “Πολιτεία

  1. Brendan Brendan says:

    Let me explain why I'd recommend this book to everyone Plato is stupid SeriouslyAnd it's important that you all understand that Western society is based on the fallacy ridden ramblings of an idiot Read this understand that he is not joking and understand that Plato is well and truly fucked in the headEvery single one of his works goes like thisSOCRATES Hello I will now prove this theorySTRAWMAN Surely you are wrongSOCRATES Nonsense Listen Strawman can we agree to the following wildly presumptive statement that is at the core of my argument? Insert wildly presumptive statement here— this time it's There is such a thing as Perfect Justice and There is such a thing as Perfect Beauty among othersSTRAWMAN Yes of course that is obviousSOCRATES Good Now that we have conveniently skipped over all of the logically necessary debate because my off the wall crazy ideas surely wouldn't stand up to any real scrutiny let me tell you an intolerably long hypothetical story Insert intolerably long hypothetical storySTRAWMAN My God Socrates You have completely won me over That is brilliant Your woefully simplistic theories should become the basis for future Western civilization That would be greatSOCRATES Ha ha My simple rhetorical device has duped them all I will now go celebrate by drinking hemlock and scoring a cameo in Bill and Ted's Excellent AdventureThe moral of the story is Plato is stupid

  2. Everyman Everyman says:

    All the criticisms of Plato are valid He raises straw arguments He manipulates discussions unfairly He doesn't offer realistic solutions And so onBut he is still and for very good reason the most influential philosopher in Western civilization He makes people think Most authors we read today are trying to persuade us to agree with their point of view Plato not so He wants you to disagree with him He wants you to argue with him He wants you to identify the fallacies in his arguments and some are deliberately fallacious In short he wants you to do the most difficult intellectual exercise there is He wants you to think and to think deeply The other thing to realize about Plato is that he is an exuisite poet and craftsman There is nothing accidental about what he writes; there is nothing superfluous Even the most minute seeming points are there for good reason Part of the joy of reading Plato for the third fourth fifth time is to see each time a bit about what he is doing and why he is doing it to come closer to appreciating his extraordinary genius and encountering ever deeply this incredible mind

  3. Henry Avila Henry Avila says:

    Plato's The Republic is a great but flawed masterpiece of western literature yes it makes sense mostly some of it I am the wisest man in the world because I know one thing that I know nothing said the smart man Socrates Plato is writing for Socrates his friend and teacher Late teacher since being forced to commit suicide by the uncomfortable citizens of Athens the famous poisoned cup of hemlock for corrupting the minds of youth Socrates didn't believe books were as effective as lectures big mistake Socrates advocates complete state control of everything land schools businesses homes and even children to be taken away from their parents and raised by the state In other words an early form of communism Plato agreed but Aristotle didn't he knew only parents would love their children which kids need Most of the book is dialogues between various men as how to establish a perfect state Socrates Plato wanted Greece ruled by philosopher kings With a professional army to back them up An unreachable goal as 24 centuries later has shown Greed is the primary motivation of the human race but people keep on trying to reach the elusive Utopia and failing forever? Socrates the wise man was correct

  4. Riku Sayuj Riku Sayuj says:

    Is the attempt to determine the way of man’s life so small a matter in your eyes—to determine how life may be passed by each one of us to the greatest advantage? 1344d I propose therefore that we inuire into the nature of justice and injustice first as they appear in the State and secondly in the individual proceeding from the greater to the lesser and comparing them 2368e—369a The Republic An Apology “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato”  Alfred North WhiteheadThe Famous Republic'The Republic' is either reverenced reviled or just plain ignored Though it keeps resurfacing it has been pushed back often being accused of bigotry racism elitism casteism anti democratic nature the list is endless But it is beyond doubt one of the preeminent philosophical works and has been uoted referenced or adapted by almost all of the major thinkers since The ideas of Socrates have had an afterlife that is as long and varied as the thousand year journey envisioned for souls in the famous Story of Er It is impossible to catalogue the full list of impacts but Whitehead's uote introductory to this review gives adeuate flavor The practical influence of Republic is difficult to gauge than its impact on the theorizing of later thinkers over the centuries individuals have discovered in Plato’s works the inspiration for undertaking political or social or educational reform and have used it as the springboard for much revolutionary thought and deedsRepublic has inspired in addition to all the expository analysis also countless creative interpretations which have shaped our vision of future possibilities limits and of extremities Many depictions of both utopian societies and their dystopian counterparts ranging from Thomas More’s Utopia to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver's Travels to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World to George Orwell’s 1984 have their roots in the ideal city brought to life by Socrates Glaucon and Adeimantus Contemporary films such as Gattaca and The Matrix may not owe direct inspiration to Republic but they participate in a long tradition of artistic works that ultimately trace their concerns back to the political social and metaphysical issues raised in RepublicBut in spite of all this the original work retains a reputation for being difficult and hard to penetrate This has meant that the scholars have or less appropriated this brilliantly composed treatise and that is a pity There is great suspense in every page as you eagerly try to work your way through Socrates’ arguments anticipating now guessing now failing now but always on the edge of your seats at the sparkle of his wit and wisdom The dialogues are constructed with an almost unbelievable care and subtlety The drama is breathtaking and all pervading even in the stock responses to theoretical or rhetorical uestions One is never allowed to sit and absorb passively but is forced to constantly interact with the dialogue It is as much fun to read as a Shakespearean dramaThe Offensive RepublicNow to examine some of the reasons why The Republic offends modern sensibilitiesMuch of the contemporary discomfort with Plato’s state arises from his countenancing of censorship a rigid caste system etc But these are in a way unfortunate misunderstandings A close reading of the text would make clear that these catch all descriptions of Plato’s state are not as representative as they are made out to be For example the caste system that is first to get blamed is hardly a rigid hereditary system but a strict meritocratic system that is much eual than anything that we have seen till date It involves a strict battery of tests similar to the aptitude tests of today based on which every individual is to be judged and opponents of I tests may relax these are meant to be much practical examinationsAlso the popular rendering of the title as “The Republic” itself is unfortunate giving it an obvious political and ideological overtone In the manuscripts and ancient citations the title of Republic is given as Politeia “Constitution” or Politeiai “Constitutions”; Peri dikaiou literally “concerning that which is just” is sometimes listed as an alternative titleThe Misunderstood RepublicI had planned on giving a blow by blow defense of the most reviled aspects of The Republic but that is not the point I wish to make here The primary mistake in criticizing The Republic is to assume that it was meant to be a political treatise in the first place It is not The whole argument begins from a uestion of identifying what ‘Justice’ is and whether it is beneficial to live a ‘Just Life’ This is the crux ‘Why’ and ‘How’ to be Just and ‘What’ is this “Justice’ anyway? That is what Socrates wants to explore He takes detours in this exploration He uses metaphors of State as larger manifestation of Caves etc But they all lead us back to the same basic uestionTo identify this basic concern we need only look at the complex structure of the dialogue itself Republic’s “narrative” is structured in an almost circular pattern This circular pattern is complex evoking the narrative patterns of epic poems such as Iliad and Odyssey Most basically the dialogue’s two main concerns defining justice and ascertaining its relationship to happiness are treated in two corresponding sections books 2 4 and books 8 9 that are interrupted by what is nominally a series of digressions in books 5 7 and 10 These nominal digressions of course create the dialogue’s most memorable metaphors but they are meant to be digressions that add to the core Not the other way aroundAt its most basic level Republic is an effort to forge a consistent and meaningful redefinition of “Justice” The aretê that is explored lies in nothing outward but rests solely in the mature reason and regard for what is beneficial to the soul Not all the details in these allegories stand up to logical analysis but they are not meant to This is made clear by the fact that The Republic’s interlocutors repeatedly draw attention to the incomplete provisional and at times unsatisfactory nature of their treatment of justice happiness the ideal political community the theory of the ideas the cognitive faculties of human beings etc The inadeuacy of “the method we are employing” is acknowledged at 4435c d at 6504b d and in many other placesThe Personal Constitution A Constitution of the Perfect LifeThe Perfect State sketched out which is the stub of almost all criticism is only an approximation devised to arrive at the Perfect Man and that is why the so called bad aspects can be deemed acceptable The mistake as stated already is to see it as a purely political treatise while it is in fact a treatise on justice and how to live the perfect life the ‘Constitution’ of a perfect life He will look at the city which is within him and take heed that no disorder occur in it such as might arise either from superfluity or from want; and upon this principle he will regulate his property and gain or spend according to his means In the end the state is not fleshed out enough to really form a complete constitution for any state that can exist in reality and not just as an idea But the psychological part it is curious how this part has generated so much less criticism in comparison is we return in the end and all the way in between to the original uestion of how an individual should order his life what his virtues should be It is a political critiue piggy backing on a  personal enuiry and hence any commentary of it cannot treat them differently Censorship slaves aristocracy are all wonderful aspects in an individual but not palatable in a state to modern eyes Hence we can only criticize that the greater to smaller euality is not well realized ie from state individual But then Socrates as above is always eager to make the point about the provisional nature of his metaphor which is only meant to incite thinking and not as an answer that is just not the way to deal with true lovers of truth with true philosophersCheeky counterproposal by the reviewer's alter ego “ Or all the personal stuff is just a convenient cloak for the political criticism that is the real purpose After all we cannot forget the historical milieu in which Plato composed it He had enough axes to grind”Indeed the we approach certain aspects of the text from analytic and conceptual standpoints the we find that Socrates and his companions make innumerable assumptions and leaps of logic that is not satisfactory or fully justified Each of these can be fairly scrutinized and contested and have been We may raise any number of uestions about its relevance to our experiences and value systems Much of Republic especially its political philosophy argument for Censorship and Social structuring is at odds with modern ideals; some readers will doubtless be dissatisfied with among other things its unapologetic elitism and naive almost laughable confidence in the integrity of “philosopher rulers” Some however may find that its critiue of ancient Athenian society opens the door to meaningful uestions about contemporary cultural practices and priorities And even meaningful uestions on how to organize our inner impulses and constitutionPhilosopher Be ThyselfWe need to understand that the Platonic Dialogues in principle are not meant to represent a simple doctrine that can be followed they instead are meant to prepare the way for philosophizing They are not easy guide books to follow They reuire work from the reader above and beyond the ideas presented That is one of the reasons for the dialogue nature in which they are structured Plato’s overarching purpose in writing the Republic was to effect a change in his readers similar to the change that Glaucon and Adeimantus undergo at Socrates’ hands in the fictional world of the dialogue This purpose can be summed up in the word protreptic from the Greek protrepein which means “turn someone forward” hence “propel” “urge on” “exhort” Plato uses literary art which in his case includes but is not limited to philosophical argument to move his reader toward a greater readiness to adopt a just way of lifeThe dialogues are thus intended to perform the function of a living teacher who makes his students think One must philosophize to understand them One must look at the microcosm of the dialogues as well as the macrocosm of the world that we inhabit simultaneously to understand them It is in this process that the dialogues assist insist and themselves provide a training inWe can only conclude by asking uestions in the true spirit of the dialectic method Can we then say that we are convinced that justice as defined by Socrates is something intrinsically valuable? Are we convinced that the just man can be “happy” even if he does not enjoy a reputation for justice nor any other material benefit in this life or after? OR Have Socrates and his companions persuaded us that the ideal city state they describe in Republic is truly the best political community possible? Do we believe that Socrates himself thinks so? Is that what we take away from such a deep examination of how to live our lives? Or do we let the Story of Er guide us back to the truer motives of the interlocutors? I really do not know as yet but whither the argument may blow thither we go

  5. Emily May Emily May says:

    My re reading of this for my university course has led me to the same conclusions I found when I first read it a couple of years back except this time I am fortunate enough to have understood it better than last time My conclusions being that Plato and through him Socrates was very intelligent believed he was intelligent than everyone else no matter how many times he declared himself unwise and very much loved to talk Socrates in particular must have been very fond of the sound of his own voiceYou can't give a book that revolutionised philosophy any less than 3 stars even if about 70% of it features many generalisations jumping to bizarre conclusions and claims without good reason And yes Plato and Socrates had some brilliant ideas all the brilliant because they came up with them first but they don't measure up to today's version of rational thinking Good but outdated I suppose the best thing about their ideas was that they laid the foundations for the next 2000 years of Western philosophy and politics Gender Euality?And though hardly feminists Socrates and Plato were some of the first to publicly suggest that education should be eual to both genders apart from military training and that women should have as large a political role as men seeing as they make up half of society Go early Greek gender euality Though I suppose the line whining and crying as if they were but women or something to that effect kind of pisses on that feminist bonfire Oh wellJustice?So here's some of the reasons why The Republic fails Firstly Socrates the character assumes that because one example demonstrates a certain type of relationship then this idea can be applied to all When he is arguing with Thrasymachus about justice Thrasymachus says that justice is whatever the rulers decide it to be and that they use this power for their own good and the weaker ie the subjects get screwed over Socrates then uses the example of a physician who is stronger than his patients but his agenda is only to help them Well1 Even if a physician selflessly helps his patients this does not prove that rulers have the best interests of their citizens in mind There is not a naturally occurring relationship between the two2 As Thrasymachus goes on to point out the physician is doing it for his own benefit because he is paid to do the jobStupidity ContradictionsSo then Socrates starts with the bullshit that doesn't get refuted because the author is on his side of course He says that the physician is divided into two roles that of physician and that of moneymaker yep So basically the two are separate and have nothing to do with each other um I beg to differ You see? Some of the arguments are ridiculous He also goes on to contradict himself later by stating that rulers do get a reward for ruling money If he had maintained his previous argument then they should have done it anyway for the simple benefit of their subjects and moneymaking should be a separate thing entirelyAgent vs Act VirtuePlato and Socrates talked a great deal about justice being an agent virtue and not just an act virtue They believed that it wasn't good enough to act justly you had to have a good soul as well Makes sense until you get to where you judge people based on them having a good soul or not and just how do you do that?Person A do you have a just soul?Person B oh yesPerson A Phew let's be friends????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????And they have a very warped view of what makes a person goodjust A just man values wisdom above all else does he? I imagine a person who likes to make friends with the super smart individuals and disregard the rest to be a bit of an ass Don't you?

  6. Roy Lotz Roy Lotz says:

    I’ve gotten into the habit of dividing up the books I’ve read by whether I read them before or after Plato’s Republic Before The Republic reading was a disorganized activity—much the same as wading through a sea of jumbled thoughts and opinions I had no basis from which to select books except by how much they appealed to my naïve tastes But after reading The Republic it was as if the entire intellectual landscape was put into perspective Reading became a focused activity meant to engage with certain uestions“uestion” is the key word here because in the end that’s what Plato is all about asking the right uestions the important uestions All academic disciplines are organized around a few basic uestions—“what is the nature of human cognition?” “what are the fundamental laws of the universe?”—and in The Republic Plato touches on almost every one of them That’s why shelving the book in the philosophy section doesn’t uite do it justice An exhaustive list of the disciplines touched upon in this dialogue would be massive—epistemology metaphysics psychology eschatology political science economics art literature music In fact it would be easier naming disciplines that aren’t touched uponThat’s how Plato lit up the intellectual landscape for me By posing these uestions in their most basic forms and attempting answers he makes it clear which uestions are the important ones in life and how difficult they are to answer And that’s why Plato’s Republic is the uintessential classic It has everything a classic should have—a uniue perspective brilliant ideas engagement with perennial issues and a charming writing style It is the greatest book of perhaps the Western tradition’s greatest thinker I don’t care who you are—you should read itNevertheless there are some perplexing and frustrating things about Plato For one it is extraordinarily difficult to figure out where Plato stands in relation to his work Unlike almost every later philosopher Plato didn’t write didactic works He puts his ideas—sometimes conflicting ideas—into the mouths of the people of his day The result is a kind of double confusion To what extent are the ideas expressed by Socrates actually Socrates’s? To what extent are they Plato’s? To what extent are they anyone’s? Perhaps Plato was just fond of playing intellectual games and creating philosophical pocket dramasAdded to this is a kind of subtle irony that creeps up in several of his dialogues In Phaedrus Plato has Socrates complain about the evils of writing; yet Plato obviously loved to write One of Plato’s most influential ideas is his theory of forms; yet one of the most influential arguments against the theory was put forward by Plato himself In The Republic as well as elsewhere Plato repeatedly euates knowledge with goodness and falsity with evil; yet he proposes to found his entire utopia on a massive lie And again in this book Plato puts forward one of the most famous arguments in history against poetry and the arts; yet Plato was one of the most artistic of all writers Plato proposes to banish the myths of Homer and Hesiod; then Plato ends his magnum opus with his own myth You see these contradictions again and again which leads you to wonder how many of his arguments are meant to be taken seriously?What’s some of the arguments put forward in his dialogues are—it must be said—frustratingly stupid relying on false analogies and several other types of fallacies This would be no mystery if he was a halfwit But the uality of his writing and the originality of his ideas make it clear that he was a genius This again makes you wonder if he is putting forth his ideas in earnestThere are many complaints commonly lodged at Plato and his pupil Aristotle Liberals criticize his hatred of democracy and freedom Moralists complain that he embraced slavery A friend of mine once told me that his philosophy professor called Aristotle the “father of racism” Scientists—such as Carl Sagan—disparage Plato’s anti empirical and mystical tendencies Nietzsche and his followers condemn Plato for dividing up the world into self evident good and bad The list of complaints can be extended almost endlessly And it should be said there is some justice in all of these criticisms But just you try and found an entire intellectual tradition spanning thousands of years and see if you do any betterIn Plato I find something so valuable that it could outweigh every one of those criticisms Plato's celebration of thinking for its own sake—argument for the sake of argument debate for the sake of debate Too often we consider intellectual activity as merely a means to some desirable end; how rarely we consider that thinking is its own reward Vigorous thought is one the keenest joys in life And that is why Plato is so valuable why he still has so much to offer our world—perhaps now than everA note on justice Even though Plato spills much ink in trying to prove that justice is desirable than injustice I think the real solution is in Glaucon’s speech in Book 2 where Plato manages to hit upon the solution provided by game theory It’s worth uoting at lengthMany have believed that to do injustice is by nature good; to suffer injustice evil; but that the evil is greater than the good Ie The evil suffered from injustice is greater than the good gained from acting unjustly And so when men have both done and suffered injustice and have had experience of both not being able to avoid the one and obtain the other they think that they had better agree among themselves to have neither; hence there arise laws and mutual covenants; and that which is ordained by law is termed by them lawful and just This they affirm to be the origin and nature of justice; it is a mean or compromise between the best of all which is to do injustice and not be punished and the worst of all which is to suffer injustice without the power of retaliation; and justice being at a middle point between the two is tolerated not as a good but the lesser evil and honored by reason of the inability of the men to do injusticeThis view—purportedly the common view of justice—is game theory in a nutshell Cheating your neighbor is for you the biggest positive since you get their resources without having to work But being cheated is the biggest negative since you lose both your resources and the work you invested in procuring them Creating laws to abolish cheating is a sort of compromise—avoiding the pain of being cheated at the expense of the gain from cheating That to me seems like the most logical explanation of justiceThis is just one example of why it's rewarding to read Plato because even when he's wrong he's right

  7. WILLIAM2 WILLIAM2 says:

    Halfway through now and the ability to see the book as a metaphor for civic and personal moral development becomes difficult The book is only useful if you are tracking the history of ideas which I am not The state Plato describes here is one that is highly prohibitive in almost every aspect Arts and culture are severely controlled for propaganda purposes There is a complete inability to view open transparent government as an option The guardians must be lied to and deceived constantly if they are to develop correctly Moreover to establish what we might call a footing for his premises there is an overwhelming amount of presumption on the part of the author Much of the reasoning seems specious It strikes this reader how Plato did not have a long and detailed historical record to call on as we do There are many assumptions for instance with respect to the education of the guardians that shows a weak grasp of human psychology The guardians should in effect be shielded from badness and wrongdoing if they are to develop the appropriate appreciation for virtue Well if they're not exposed to badness how will they know it when they see it? Other aspects of guardian nurturing and education too are severe if not totalitarian by today's standards First the very sick are to be left to die This was of course a sign of the times Medicine was primitive But there is not an iota of compassion about those left to die This indeed would connote softness something not wanted in our guardians who are to be simultaneously brave and happy not unlike the family dog Plato actually says that The overwhelming import of the reading so far has been to show me how very far we as a culture western have come in the than 2400 years since Republic's composition As Martin Luther King Jr said and I paraphrase the arc of history is long but it bends toward justice I stopped on p 134 unable to finish To use a line from Candide the book fell from my handsAC says I should not be reading this translation at all but GMA Grube's So I will

  8. Piyangie Piyangie says:

    The Republic is where Plato lays down his ideas of an ideal state and its rulers Plato's Utopian state is one which is just and his ideal rulers are philosophers Presented as a series of dialogue between Socrates and Plato's brothers Adeimantus and Glaucon in eleven parts Plato step by step forms his ideal state Part I and II its rulers Part IV and Part VII their education women's position Part VI and the position of art and poetry Part X in the new state Although some of his views are far fetched and absurd many of them are thought provoking And if you examine carefully you will see some truth in many of his viewpoints especially those relating to imperfect societies discussed in Part IXI truly enjoyed Plato's arguments although I cannot say that I agree with them all There are many insightful views though at the same time given the long years between the time in which it was written and which it was read some of the arguments are absurd according to modern standards Plato's Utopian state is one that cannot be realized in reality; even Plato had his doubts about it ever being in existence But on close examination on various governance in the world we see instances where views of Plato having been adopted Taking all these into account it is no wonder that The Republic is regarded as the cornerstone of western philosophy The translation I read was done by Sir Desmond Lee I found it easy to read There were many explanatory notes within that which helped me considerably if not fully to understand the text Overall I loved the read and very happy to say that finally one of my long reading wishes is fulfilled

  9. Trevor Trevor says:

    I’ve read this right through a couple of times now – three or there about I think And bits of it many many times This is one of the key books of ‘the western canon’ you really do need to be aware of it And you might be surprised at how freuently it is referenced particularly in science fiction – everything from The Giver to Brave New World to The Matrix And while the world Plato is presenting is meant to be a utopia it is generally used as the basis for the most terrifying of dystopias One of the things I noticed this time through was all the eugenics Not just in the selective breeding of the human stock but also in the murder of the ‘unfit’ I’ve always been very sensitive to ideas of killing people based on some notion of the ‘costs to society’ that they bring I believe such ideas undermine our very humanity to the point where the ‘improved’ society would no longer be fit to be called human This book is seeking to provide an answer to the uestion ‘what is justice?’ – or rather it starts by uestioning if it is just to help your friends and harm your enemies? I’m not sure it is immediately obvious that we might go from these uestions to answers concerning the division of labour in a society – but that seems to be a major consideration of the theory of justice being presented here Basically people are born with various levels of merit and a just society would identify those who are favoured with whatever merit they have and it would set them to the tasks that best suit whatever merit they have Plato talks of the merit of people as a bit like being assigned to different metals not unlike in the Olympics and those people metals differentiate them into different classifications – gold silver bronze and iron – and each will have their proper tasks in society Once you have been assigned to one of these classifications you are pretty much stuck there There are tasks that are appropriate to your abilities and the just society is one where people are assigned tasks that best meet their abilities For this reason it is important that parents don’t know their own children and that children are brought up in common by the whole of society That way you won’t end up with a bronze child from two gold parents being given a gold education that they will not be able to make any use of or their bronze child wreaking havoc trying to be a philosopher king when they would have been a better baker or blacksmith or something All the same the best people are still likely to have the best children and so the society should make all proper efforts to ensure that the best breeds with the best – in much the same way as you would if you were breeding race horsesThe best societies would be ruled by philosopher kings – and they would not be allowed to have any possessions of their own since they ought to be focused on the good of the society as a whole There is a kind of threat to such people – Plato believes they would be unlikely to really give a stuff about most things that others find very rewarding For instance wealth power prestige and so on They are likely to be seen as too ‘other worldly’ even by themselves and therefore they are likely to be uninterested in taking on the responsibility of ruling and they might need to be encouraged This is all for the good – because the sorts of people who want to rule are generally not the sort of people who should ever be allowed to rule This is one of the things in which me and Plato are very much on the same page – although for me rather than breeding a special class of philosopher kings to rule over us I am increasingly becoming an anarchist as I struggle to think of a single person in my life who has been a worthwhile leader I’ve certainly never met a philosopher I would be happy to have as my king These philosopher kings are expected to structure pretty well all aspects of life to make sure that the dumb or rather we differently abled with all too much base metal in our veins are kept content in our ignorance There are many many things that the mass of society really shouldn’t be troubling their all too small minds over It is also important that the philosopher kings do what they can to make sure that the rest of society doesn’t get their passions too excited by things like poetry either A large part of religion will need to go – particularly the bits where the gods were seen fighting with each other or doing immoral things to women dressed up as bulls and such The allegory of the cave is the most famous part of this dialogue It concerns the nature of education What always strikes me about it is the pain that is associated with learning the truth and how once one has learnt the truth one appears to be foolish to all those around them But that the point of learning is to return to those who are ignorant and to be forced to attempt to explain the truth of existence to them This is almost always a near fatal enterprise People generally don’t like being told they are wrong and being told ‘everything you have ever thought was true is actually false’ is hardly the first line in a new romance I keep going on about Marx’s utopia being based on the idea of there being no division of labour – so it is interesting that Plato’s is based on the exact opposite idea to this In fact Plato says that people really only have one thing that they are likely to be good at and that they must stick to that He may have been both the first eugenicist and the first FordistTaylorist tooHis discussion of the different types of government in book viii is a bit of a highlight to this I think I found his discussion of democracy particularly interesting I’m not sure I agree with it but I thought his discussion of how it tended towards tyranny was all a bit chilling and perhaps also a bit too close to home The power of money to buy democracy the fact tyrants need to remove the best of those around them and so becomes increasingly stupid and focused on giving the people ‘what they want’ – mostly bread and circuses – looks all uncomfortably like Trump’s America writ large

  10. Mackey Mackey says:

    It's been far too long ago since I read this to write a critical review however it should be reuired reading for all students in America at the very least Oh how far we have strayed

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10 thoughts on “Πολιτεία

  1. Brendan Brendan says:

    Let me explain why I'd recommend this book to everyone Plato is stupid SeriouslyAnd it's important that you all understand that Western society is based on the fallacy ridden ramblings of an idiot Read this understand that he is not joking and understand that Plato is well and truly fucked in the headEvery single one of his works goes like thisSOCRATES Hello I will now prove this theorySTRAWMAN Surely you are wrongSOCRATES Nonsense Listen Strawman can we agree to the following wildly presumptive statement that is at the core of my argument? Insert wildly presumptive statement here— this time it's There is such a thing as Perfect Justice and There is such a thing as Perfect Beauty among othersSTRAWMAN Yes of course that is obviousSOCRATES Good Now that we have conveniently skipped over all of the logically necessary debate because my off the wall crazy ideas surely wouldn't stand up to any real scrutiny let me tell you an intolerably long hypothetical story Insert intolerably long hypothetical storySTRAWMAN My God Socrates You have completely won me over That is brilliant Your woefully simplistic theories should become the basis for future Western civilization That would be greatSOCRATES Ha ha My simple rhetorical device has duped them all I will now go celebrate by drinking hemlock and scoring a cameo in Bill and Ted's Excellent AdventureThe moral of the story is Plato is stupid

  2. Everyman Everyman says:

    All the criticisms of Plato are valid He raises straw arguments He manipulates discussions unfairly He doesn't offer realistic solutions And so onBut he is still and for very good reason the most influential philosopher in Western civilization He makes people think Most authors we read today are trying to persuade us to agree with their point of view Plato not so He wants you to disagree with him He wants you to argue with him He wants you to identify the fallacies in his arguments and some are deliberately fallacious In short he wants you to do the most difficult intellectual exercise there is He wants you to think and to think deeply The other thing to realize about Plato is that he is an exuisite poet and craftsman There is nothing accidental about what he writes; there is nothing superfluous Even the most minute seeming points are there for good reason Part of the joy of reading Plato for the third fourth fifth time is to see each time a bit about what he is doing and why he is doing it to come closer to appreciating his extraordinary genius and encountering ever deeply this incredible mind

  3. Henry Avila Henry Avila says:

    Plato's The Republic is a great but flawed masterpiece of western literature yes it makes sense mostly some of it I am the wisest man in the world because I know one thing that I know nothing said the smart man Socrates Plato is writing for Socrates his friend and teacher Late teacher since being forced to commit suicide by the uncomfortable citizens of Athens the famous poisoned cup of hemlock for corrupting the minds of youth Socrates didn't believe books were as effective as lectures big mistake Socrates advocates complete state control of everything land schools businesses homes and even children to be taken away from their parents and raised by the state In other words an early form of communism Plato agreed but Aristotle didn't he knew only parents would love their children which kids need Most of the book is dialogues between various men as how to establish a perfect state Socrates Plato wanted Greece ruled by philosopher kings With a professional army to back them up An unreachable goal as 24 centuries later has shown Greed is the primary motivation of the human race but people keep on trying to reach the elusive Utopia and failing forever? Socrates the wise man was correct

  4. Riku Sayuj Riku Sayuj says:

    Is the attempt to determine the way of man’s life so small a matter in your eyes—to determine how life may be passed by each one of us to the greatest advantage? 1344d I propose therefore that we inuire into the nature of justice and injustice first as they appear in the State and secondly in the individual proceeding from the greater to the lesser and comparing them 2368e—369a The Republic An Apology “The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato”  Alfred North WhiteheadThe Famous Republic'The Republic' is either reverenced reviled or just plain ignored Though it keeps resurfacing it has been pushed back often being accused of bigotry racism elitism casteism anti democratic nature the list is endless But it is beyond doubt one of the preeminent philosophical works and has been uoted referenced or adapted by almost all of the major thinkers since The ideas of Socrates have had an afterlife that is as long and varied as the thousand year journey envisioned for souls in the famous Story of Er It is impossible to catalogue the full list of impacts but Whitehead's uote introductory to this review gives adeuate flavor The practical influence of Republic is difficult to gauge than its impact on the theorizing of later thinkers over the centuries individuals have discovered in Plato’s works the inspiration for undertaking political or social or educational reform and have used it as the springboard for much revolutionary thought and deedsRepublic has inspired in addition to all the expository analysis also countless creative interpretations which have shaped our vision of future possibilities limits and of extremities Many depictions of both utopian societies and their dystopian counterparts ranging from Thomas More’s Utopia to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver's Travels to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World to George Orwell’s 1984 have their roots in the ideal city brought to life by Socrates Glaucon and Adeimantus Contemporary films such as Gattaca and The Matrix may not owe direct inspiration to Republic but they participate in a long tradition of artistic works that ultimately trace their concerns back to the political social and metaphysical issues raised in RepublicBut in spite of all this the original work retains a reputation for being difficult and hard to penetrate This has meant that the scholars have or less appropriated this brilliantly composed treatise and that is a pity There is great suspense in every page as you eagerly try to work your way through Socrates’ arguments anticipating now guessing now failing now but always on the edge of your seats at the sparkle of his wit and wisdom The dialogues are constructed with an almost unbelievable care and subtlety The drama is breathtaking and all pervading even in the stock responses to theoretical or rhetorical uestions One is never allowed to sit and absorb passively but is forced to constantly interact with the dialogue It is as much fun to read as a Shakespearean dramaThe Offensive RepublicNow to examine some of the reasons why The Republic offends modern sensibilitiesMuch of the contemporary discomfort with Plato’s state arises from his countenancing of censorship a rigid caste system etc But these are in a way unfortunate misunderstandings A close reading of the text would make clear that these catch all descriptions of Plato’s state are not as representative as they are made out to be For example the caste system that is first to get blamed is hardly a rigid hereditary system but a strict meritocratic system that is much eual than anything that we have seen till date It involves a strict battery of tests similar to the aptitude tests of today based on which every individual is to be judged and opponents of I tests may relax these are meant to be much practical examinationsAlso the popular rendering of the title as “The Republic” itself is unfortunate giving it an obvious political and ideological overtone In the manuscripts and ancient citations the title of Republic is given as Politeia “Constitution” or Politeiai “Constitutions”; Peri dikaiou literally “concerning that which is just” is sometimes listed as an alternative titleThe Misunderstood RepublicI had planned on giving a blow by blow defense of the most reviled aspects of The Republic but that is not the point I wish to make here The primary mistake in criticizing The Republic is to assume that it was meant to be a political treatise in the first place It is not The whole argument begins from a uestion of identifying what ‘Justice’ is and whether it is beneficial to live a ‘Just Life’ This is the crux ‘Why’ and ‘How’ to be Just and ‘What’ is this “Justice’ anyway? That is what Socrates wants to explore He takes detours in this exploration He uses metaphors of State as larger manifestation of Caves etc But they all lead us back to the same basic uestionTo identify this basic concern we need only look at the complex structure of the dialogue itself Republic’s “narrative” is structured in an almost circular pattern This circular pattern is complex evoking the narrative patterns of epic poems such as Iliad and Odyssey Most basically the dialogue’s two main concerns defining justice and ascertaining its relationship to happiness are treated in two corresponding sections books 2 4 and books 8 9 that are interrupted by what is nominally a series of digressions in books 5 7 and 10 These nominal digressions of course create the dialogue’s most memorable metaphors but they are meant to be digressions that add to the core Not the other way aroundAt its most basic level Republic is an effort to forge a consistent and meaningful redefinition of “Justice” The aretê that is explored lies in nothing outward but rests solely in the mature reason and regard for what is beneficial to the soul Not all the details in these allegories stand up to logical analysis but they are not meant to This is made clear by the fact that The Republic’s interlocutors repeatedly draw attention to the incomplete provisional and at times unsatisfactory nature of their treatment of justice happiness the ideal political community the theory of the ideas the cognitive faculties of human beings etc The inadeuacy of “the method we are employing” is acknowledged at 4435c d at 6504b d and in many other placesThe Personal Constitution A Constitution of the Perfect LifeThe Perfect State sketched out which is the stub of almost all criticism is only an approximation devised to arrive at the Perfect Man and that is why the so called bad aspects can be deemed acceptable The mistake as stated already is to see it as a purely political treatise while it is in fact a treatise on justice and how to live the perfect life the ‘Constitution’ of a perfect life He will look at the city which is within him and take heed that no disorder occur in it such as might arise either from superfluity or from want; and upon this principle he will regulate his property and gain or spend according to his means In the end the state is not fleshed out enough to really form a complete constitution for any state that can exist in reality and not just as an idea But the psychological part it is curious how this part has generated so much less criticism in comparison is we return in the end and all the way in between to the original uestion of how an individual should order his life what his virtues should be It is a political critiue piggy backing on a  personal enuiry and hence any commentary of it cannot treat them differently Censorship slaves aristocracy are all wonderful aspects in an individual but not palatable in a state to modern eyes Hence we can only criticize that the greater to smaller euality is not well realized ie from state individual But then Socrates as above is always eager to make the point about the provisional nature of his metaphor which is only meant to incite thinking and not as an answer that is just not the way to deal with true lovers of truth with true philosophersCheeky counterproposal by the reviewer's alter ego “ Or all the personal stuff is just a convenient cloak for the political criticism that is the real purpose After all we cannot forget the historical milieu in which Plato composed it He had enough axes to grind”Indeed the we approach certain aspects of the text from analytic and conceptual standpoints the we find that Socrates and his companions make innumerable assumptions and leaps of logic that is not satisfactory or fully justified Each of these can be fairly scrutinized and contested and have been We may raise any number of uestions about its relevance to our experiences and value systems Much of Republic especially its political philosophy argument for Censorship and Social structuring is at odds with modern ideals; some readers will doubtless be dissatisfied with among other things its unapologetic elitism and naive almost laughable confidence in the integrity of “philosopher rulers” Some however may find that its critiue of ancient Athenian society opens the door to meaningful uestions about contemporary cultural practices and priorities And even meaningful uestions on how to organize our inner impulses and constitutionPhilosopher Be ThyselfWe need to understand that the Platonic Dialogues in principle are not meant to represent a simple doctrine that can be followed they instead are meant to prepare the way for philosophizing They are not easy guide books to follow They reuire work from the reader above and beyond the ideas presented That is one of the reasons for the dialogue nature in which they are structured Plato’s overarching purpose in writing the Republic was to effect a change in his readers similar to the change that Glaucon and Adeimantus undergo at Socrates’ hands in the fictional world of the dialogue This purpose can be summed up in the word protreptic from the Greek protrepein which means “turn someone forward” hence “propel” “urge on” “exhort” Plato uses literary art which in his case includes but is not limited to philosophical argument to move his reader toward a greater readiness to adopt a just way of lifeThe dialogues are thus intended to perform the function of a living teacher who makes his students think One must philosophize to understand them One must look at the microcosm of the dialogues as well as the macrocosm of the world that we inhabit simultaneously to understand them It is in this process that the dialogues assist insist and themselves provide a training inWe can only conclude by asking uestions in the true spirit of the dialectic method Can we then say that we are convinced that justice as defined by Socrates is something intrinsically valuable? Are we convinced that the just man can be “happy” even if he does not enjoy a reputation for justice nor any other material benefit in this life or after? OR Have Socrates and his companions persuaded us that the ideal city state they describe in Republic is truly the best political community possible? Do we believe that Socrates himself thinks so? Is that what we take away from such a deep examination of how to live our lives? Or do we let the Story of Er guide us back to the truer motives of the interlocutors? I really do not know as yet but whither the argument may blow thither we go

  5. Emily May Emily May says:

    My re reading of this for my university course has led me to the same conclusions I found when I first read it a couple of years back except this time I am fortunate enough to have understood it better than last time My conclusions being that Plato and through him Socrates was very intelligent believed he was intelligent than everyone else no matter how many times he declared himself unwise and very much loved to talk Socrates in particular must have been very fond of the sound of his own voiceYou can't give a book that revolutionised philosophy any less than 3 stars even if about 70% of it features many generalisations jumping to bizarre conclusions and claims without good reason And yes Plato and Socrates had some brilliant ideas all the brilliant because they came up with them first but they don't measure up to today's version of rational thinking Good but outdated I suppose the best thing about their ideas was that they laid the foundations for the next 2000 years of Western philosophy and politics Gender Euality?And though hardly feminists Socrates and Plato were some of the first to publicly suggest that education should be eual to both genders apart from military training and that women should have as large a political role as men seeing as they make up half of society Go early Greek gender euality Though I suppose the line whining and crying as if they were but women or something to that effect kind of pisses on that feminist bonfire Oh wellJustice?So here's some of the reasons why The Republic fails Firstly Socrates the character assumes that because one example demonstrates a certain type of relationship then this idea can be applied to all When he is arguing with Thrasymachus about justice Thrasymachus says that justice is whatever the rulers decide it to be and that they use this power for their own good and the weaker ie the subjects get screwed over Socrates then uses the example of a physician who is stronger than his patients but his agenda is only to help them Well1 Even if a physician selflessly helps his patients this does not prove that rulers have the best interests of their citizens in mind There is not a naturally occurring relationship between the two2 As Thrasymachus goes on to point out the physician is doing it for his own benefit because he is paid to do the jobStupidity ContradictionsSo then Socrates starts with the bullshit that doesn't get refuted because the author is on his side of course He says that the physician is divided into two roles that of physician and that of moneymaker yep So basically the two are separate and have nothing to do with each other um I beg to differ You see? Some of the arguments are ridiculous He also goes on to contradict himself later by stating that rulers do get a reward for ruling money If he had maintained his previous argument then they should have done it anyway for the simple benefit of their subjects and moneymaking should be a separate thing entirelyAgent vs Act VirtuePlato and Socrates talked a great deal about justice being an agent virtue and not just an act virtue They believed that it wasn't good enough to act justly you had to have a good soul as well Makes sense until you get to where you judge people based on them having a good soul or not and just how do you do that?Person A do you have a just soul?Person B oh yesPerson A Phew let's be friends????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????And they have a very warped view of what makes a person goodjust A just man values wisdom above all else does he? I imagine a person who likes to make friends with the super smart individuals and disregard the rest to be a bit of an ass Don't you?

  6. Roy Lotz Roy Lotz says:

    I’ve gotten into the habit of dividing up the books I’ve read by whether I read them before or after Plato’s Republic Before The Republic reading was a disorganized activity—much the same as wading through a sea of jumbled thoughts and opinions I had no basis from which to select books except by how much they appealed to my naïve tastes But after reading The Republic it was as if the entire intellectual landscape was put into perspective Reading became a focused activity meant to engage with certain uestions“uestion” is the key word here because in the end that’s what Plato is all about asking the right uestions the important uestions All academic disciplines are organized around a few basic uestions—“what is the nature of human cognition?” “what are the fundamental laws of the universe?”—and in The Republic Plato touches on almost every one of them That’s why shelving the book in the philosophy section doesn’t uite do it justice An exhaustive list of the disciplines touched upon in this dialogue would be massive—epistemology metaphysics psychology eschatology political science economics art literature music In fact it would be easier naming disciplines that aren’t touched uponThat’s how Plato lit up the intellectual landscape for me By posing these uestions in their most basic forms and attempting answers he makes it clear which uestions are the important ones in life and how difficult they are to answer And that’s why Plato’s Republic is the uintessential classic It has everything a classic should have—a uniue perspective brilliant ideas engagement with perennial issues and a charming writing style It is the greatest book of perhaps the Western tradition’s greatest thinker I don’t care who you are—you should read itNevertheless there are some perplexing and frustrating things about Plato For one it is extraordinarily difficult to figure out where Plato stands in relation to his work Unlike almost every later philosopher Plato didn’t write didactic works He puts his ideas—sometimes conflicting ideas—into the mouths of the people of his day The result is a kind of double confusion To what extent are the ideas expressed by Socrates actually Socrates’s? To what extent are they Plato’s? To what extent are they anyone’s? Perhaps Plato was just fond of playing intellectual games and creating philosophical pocket dramasAdded to this is a kind of subtle irony that creeps up in several of his dialogues In Phaedrus Plato has Socrates complain about the evils of writing; yet Plato obviously loved to write One of Plato’s most influential ideas is his theory of forms; yet one of the most influential arguments against the theory was put forward by Plato himself In The Republic as well as elsewhere Plato repeatedly euates knowledge with goodness and falsity with evil; yet he proposes to found his entire utopia on a massive lie And again in this book Plato puts forward one of the most famous arguments in history against poetry and the arts; yet Plato was one of the most artistic of all writers Plato proposes to banish the myths of Homer and Hesiod; then Plato ends his magnum opus with his own myth You see these contradictions again and again which leads you to wonder how many of his arguments are meant to be taken seriously?What’s some of the arguments put forward in his dialogues are—it must be said—frustratingly stupid relying on false analogies and several other types of fallacies This would be no mystery if he was a halfwit But the uality of his writing and the originality of his ideas make it clear that he was a genius This again makes you wonder if he is putting forth his ideas in earnestThere are many complaints commonly lodged at Plato and his pupil Aristotle Liberals criticize his hatred of democracy and freedom Moralists complain that he embraced slavery A friend of mine once told me that his philosophy professor called Aristotle the “father of racism” Scientists—such as Carl Sagan—disparage Plato’s anti empirical and mystical tendencies Nietzsche and his followers condemn Plato for dividing up the world into self evident good and bad The list of complaints can be extended almost endlessly And it should be said there is some justice in all of these criticisms But just you try and found an entire intellectual tradition spanning thousands of years and see if you do any betterIn Plato I find something so valuable that it could outweigh every one of those criticisms Plato's celebration of thinking for its own sake—argument for the sake of argument debate for the sake of debate Too often we consider intellectual activity as merely a means to some desirable end; how rarely we consider that thinking is its own reward Vigorous thought is one the keenest joys in life And that is why Plato is so valuable why he still has so much to offer our world—perhaps now than everA note on justice Even though Plato spills much ink in trying to prove that justice is desirable than injustice I think the real solution is in Glaucon’s speech in Book 2 where Plato manages to hit upon the solution provided by game theory It’s worth uoting at lengthMany have believed that to do injustice is by nature good; to suffer injustice evil; but that the evil is greater than the good Ie The evil suffered from injustice is greater than the good gained from acting unjustly And so when men have both done and suffered injustice and have had experience of both not being able to avoid the one and obtain the other they think that they had better agree among themselves to have neither; hence there arise laws and mutual covenants; and that which is ordained by law is termed by them lawful and just This they affirm to be the origin and nature of justice; it is a mean or compromise between the best of all which is to do injustice and not be punished and the worst of all which is to suffer injustice without the power of retaliation; and justice being at a middle point between the two is tolerated not as a good but the lesser evil and honored by reason of the inability of the men to do injusticeThis view—purportedly the common view of justice—is game theory in a nutshell Cheating your neighbor is for you the biggest positive since you get their resources without having to work But being cheated is the biggest negative since you lose both your resources and the work you invested in procuring them Creating laws to abolish cheating is a sort of compromise—avoiding the pain of being cheated at the expense of the gain from cheating That to me seems like the most logical explanation of justiceThis is just one example of why it's rewarding to read Plato because even when he's wrong he's right

  7. WILLIAM2 WILLIAM2 says:

    Halfway through now and the ability to see the book as a metaphor for civic and personal moral development becomes difficult The book is only useful if you are tracking the history of ideas which I am not The state Plato describes here is one that is highly prohibitive in almost every aspect Arts and culture are severely controlled for propaganda purposes There is a complete inability to view open transparent government as an option The guardians must be lied to and deceived constantly if they are to develop correctly Moreover to establish what we might call a footing for his premises there is an overwhelming amount of presumption on the part of the author Much of the reasoning seems specious It strikes this reader how Plato did not have a long and detailed historical record to call on as we do There are many assumptions for instance with respect to the education of the guardians that shows a weak grasp of human psychology The guardians should in effect be shielded from badness and wrongdoing if they are to develop the appropriate appreciation for virtue Well if they're not exposed to badness how will they know it when they see it? Other aspects of guardian nurturing and education too are severe if not totalitarian by today's standards First the very sick are to be left to die This was of course a sign of the times Medicine was primitive But there is not an iota of compassion about those left to die This indeed would connote softness something not wanted in our guardians who are to be simultaneously brave and happy not unlike the family dog Plato actually says that The overwhelming import of the reading so far has been to show me how very far we as a culture western have come in the than 2400 years since Republic's composition As Martin Luther King Jr said and I paraphrase the arc of history is long but it bends toward justice I stopped on p 134 unable to finish To use a line from Candide the book fell from my handsAC says I should not be reading this translation at all but GMA Grube's So I will

  8. Piyangie Piyangie says:

    The Republic is where Plato lays down his ideas of an ideal state and its rulers Plato's Utopian state is one which is just and his ideal rulers are philosophers Presented as a series of dialogue between Socrates and Plato's brothers Adeimantus and Glaucon in eleven parts Plato step by step forms his ideal state Part I and II its rulers Part IV and Part VII their education women's position Part VI and the position of art and poetry Part X in the new state Although some of his views are far fetched and absurd many of them are thought provoking And if you examine carefully you will see some truth in many of his viewpoints especially those relating to imperfect societies discussed in Part IXI truly enjoyed Plato's arguments although I cannot say that I agree with them all There are many insightful views though at the same time given the long years between the time in which it was written and which it was read some of the arguments are absurd according to modern standards Plato's Utopian state is one that cannot be realized in reality; even Plato had his doubts about it ever being in existence But on close examination on various governance in the world we see instances where views of Plato having been adopted Taking all these into account it is no wonder that The Republic is regarded as the cornerstone of western philosophy The translation I read was done by Sir Desmond Lee I found it easy to read There were many explanatory notes within that which helped me considerably if not fully to understand the text Overall I loved the read and very happy to say that finally one of my long reading wishes is fulfilled

  9. Trevor Trevor says:

    I’ve read this right through a couple of times now – three or there about I think And bits of it many many times This is one of the key books of ‘the western canon’ you really do need to be aware of it And you might be surprised at how freuently it is referenced particularly in science fiction – everything from The Giver to Brave New World to The Matrix And while the world Plato is presenting is meant to be a utopia it is generally used as the basis for the most terrifying of dystopias One of the things I noticed this time through was all the eugenics Not just in the selective breeding of the human stock but also in the murder of the ‘unfit’ I’ve always been very sensitive to ideas of killing people based on some notion of the ‘costs to society’ that they bring I believe such ideas undermine our very humanity to the point where the ‘improved’ society would no longer be fit to be called human This book is seeking to provide an answer to the uestion ‘what is justice?’ – or rather it starts by uestioning if it is just to help your friends and harm your enemies? I’m not sure it is immediately obvious that we might go from these uestions to answers concerning the division of labour in a society – but that seems to be a major consideration of the theory of justice being presented here Basically people are born with various levels of merit and a just society would identify those who are favoured with whatever merit they have and it would set them to the tasks that best suit whatever merit they have Plato talks of the merit of people as a bit like being assigned to different metals not unlike in the Olympics and those people metals differentiate them into different classifications – gold silver bronze and iron – and each will have their proper tasks in society Once you have been assigned to one of these classifications you are pretty much stuck there There are tasks that are appropriate to your abilities and the just society is one where people are assigned tasks that best meet their abilities For this reason it is important that parents don’t know their own children and that children are brought up in common by the whole of society That way you won’t end up with a bronze child from two gold parents being given a gold education that they will not be able to make any use of or their bronze child wreaking havoc trying to be a philosopher king when they would have been a better baker or blacksmith or something All the same the best people are still likely to have the best children and so the society should make all proper efforts to ensure that the best breeds with the best – in much the same way as you would if you were breeding race horsesThe best societies would be ruled by philosopher kings – and they would not be allowed to have any possessions of their own since they ought to be focused on the good of the society as a whole There is a kind of threat to such people – Plato believes they would be unlikely to really give a stuff about most things that others find very rewarding For instance wealth power prestige and so on They are likely to be seen as too ‘other worldly’ even by themselves and therefore they are likely to be uninterested in taking on the responsibility of ruling and they might need to be encouraged This is all for the good – because the sorts of people who want to rule are generally not the sort of people who should ever be allowed to rule This is one of the things in which me and Plato are very much on the same page – although for me rather than breeding a special class of philosopher kings to rule over us I am increasingly becoming an anarchist as I struggle to think of a single person in my life who has been a worthwhile leader I’ve certainly never met a philosopher I would be happy to have as my king These philosopher kings are expected to structure pretty well all aspects of life to make sure that the dumb or rather we differently abled with all too much base metal in our veins are kept content in our ignorance There are many many things that the mass of society really shouldn’t be troubling their all too small minds over It is also important that the philosopher kings do what they can to make sure that the rest of society doesn’t get their passions too excited by things like poetry either A large part of religion will need to go – particularly the bits where the gods were seen fighting with each other or doing immoral things to women dressed up as bulls and such The allegory of the cave is the most famous part of this dialogue It concerns the nature of education What always strikes me about it is the pain that is associated with learning the truth and how once one has learnt the truth one appears to be foolish to all those around them But that the point of learning is to return to those who are ignorant and to be forced to attempt to explain the truth of existence to them This is almost always a near fatal enterprise People generally don’t like being told they are wrong and being told ‘everything you have ever thought was true is actually false’ is hardly the first line in a new romance I keep going on about Marx’s utopia being based on the idea of there being no division of labour – so it is interesting that Plato’s is based on the exact opposite idea to this In fact Plato says that people really only have one thing that they are likely to be good at and that they must stick to that He may have been both the first eugenicist and the first FordistTaylorist tooHis discussion of the different types of government in book viii is a bit of a highlight to this I think I found his discussion of democracy particularly interesting I’m not sure I agree with it but I thought his discussion of how it tended towards tyranny was all a bit chilling and perhaps also a bit too close to home The power of money to buy democracy the fact tyrants need to remove the best of those around them and so becomes increasingly stupid and focused on giving the people ‘what they want’ – mostly bread and circuses – looks all uncomfortably like Trump’s America writ large

  10. Mackey Mackey says:

    It's been far too long ago since I read this to write a critical review however it should be reuired reading for all students in America at the very least Oh how far we have strayed

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