Platos republic thesis

He also astutely notes that the famous ring that makes its bearer invisible is meant as an argumentative device in Glaucon's case against justice. That is, the story of the ring is meant to support a deep universal truth about human psychology, from which the merely instrumental value of justice follows. The defect in Glaucon's theory, Shields points out, is that it implicitly accepts a conception of justice, but does not argue for it, as it was meant to do.

In "The Gods and Piety of Plato's Republic ," Mark McPherran notes that whereas the Socrates of the Euthyphro and Plato's other brief ethical works apparently can find no value in the traditional religious practices of sacrifice and prayer, the Republic carves out a place for divinities and their worship, even though the virtue of piety receives no separate discussion. He takes Plato to equate piety with justice; so construed, piety is as much a cardinal virtue as justice. Platonic divinities, McPherran suggests, are of two kinds: the forms themselves are divine, but Plato also countenances the existence of divine souls.

Gabriel Richardson Lear's essay, "Plato on Learning to Love Beauty," notes that the guardians-in-training of kallipolis must learn to love beauty in all of its manifestations, and since justice is beautiful, they must come to appreciate that virtue in its guise as beautiful.

She takes Plato to locate our sense of beauty in the spirited part of the soul, and therefore surprisingly the love of beauty is a manifestation of our innate competitiveness, our hunger for admiration, praise, and honor. So, the reason why a guardian must learn to recognize and love the beauty and not merely the goodness of justice lies in the need to orient the whole soul, and not merely reason, in the right direction.

Is Plato's Republic Just? Essay - Words | Major Tests

We must, in other words, react to justice with both admiration and something akin to sensual delight, and not merely with rational approval. In "Methods of Reasoning about Justice in Plato's Republic , " Gerasimos Santas finds in the dialogue three competing theories about how to determine what justice is. First, there is the empirical method of Thrasymachus: since a city's laws constitute justice for that city, we need do no more, to discover what justice is, than find out what any given city counts as legal.

Second, Glaucon proposes a contractual method: justice consists in whatever is decided by an agreement made by predominantly selfish people under conditions of scarcity. Third, Plato's own method is the one proposed by Socrates is Book I: it rests on the hypothesis that the chief good of anything that has a function is its functioning well.

Here Santas draws upon the interpretation that he sets out more fully in his book, Goodness and Justice: Plato, Aristotle, and the Moderns. He emphasizes the point that Plato is not merely positing three tendencies or categories of motivational influences, but something stranger: three separate psychic entities, each with its own mental life; what kind of mental life each has is barely sketched in Book IV, but more fully described in later Books. In his treatment of this later material, Lorenz makes a nice point about Plato's reason for locating the oligarchic man's principal drive in the lowest part of the soul: he does not merely make money as a means to satisfying his appetites; rather, he loves the very activity of making money.

The essay ends with a discussion of whether, in Plato's view, the lower parts of the soul cease to exist, after the body has perished, or whether those parts, once properly disciplined, are always unified with reason. As I understand her complex and difficult essay, it holds that, according to the Socrates of the Republic , every action -- but not every desire -- seeks its object on the assumption that it is good to attain. David Keyt's "Plato and the Ship of State" offers an admirably close and careful reading of Plato's comparison between a rebellion on a hypothetical ship and the political condition of unhealthy cities Republic VI aa.


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Keyt convincingly argues that this simile deserves as much careful attention from scholars and readers as has been given to the similes of sun, line, and cave. He notes that the simile of the ship must be construed as having argumentative and not merely illustrative force, and that there are important lessons to be learned from it about Plato's political philosophy and the larger project of the whole dialogue. The economic class, on Keyt's reading, must have a basis for evaluating the quality of its rulers, and this requires that they have the ability to use Socratic cross-examination to distinguish true from false guardians.

Two essays in the volume are devoted to the metaphysics and epistemology of the central Books. Michael Ferejohn's "Knowledge, Recollection, and the Forms in Republic VII" notes that the prisoners in the cave can name the shadows on the wall with reasonable success, and asks what explanation Plato can offer for their mastery of this skill. His controversial reply is that, for Plato, the acquisition of general concepts and mastery of general terms would not be possible for someone unless he had previously beheld the forms.

On his reading, Plato holds that ethical expertise, and therefore a study of abstract entities, is a prerequisite of political leadership primarily because the ordinary acquaintance every language-speaker had with the forms underwrites the ability to make only the easiest among our decisions and practical classifications.


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Hard questions about what to do can be resolved only through philosophical inquiry. Terry Penner's essay, "The Forms in the Republic ," argues that Plato's aim, in positing such forms as goodness and beauty, is not to affirm the existence of an ideal case of goodness or beauty the most good object, the most beautiful object , but rather to uphold the existence of entities that ground eternally true scientific laws.

To defend his view, he proposes what might be called a "deflationary" reading of many familiar components of the dialogue; that is, he supplies a reading of the best known metaphysical passages of the Republic that requires no "self-predicational" assumptions, and no bizarre notion that there are degrees of existence or reality.

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Part of the motivation for Penner's campaign lies in his opposition to readings of the dialogue that attribute to Plato an impersonal outlook on ethical life -- readings according to which the highest praise that can be given any undertaking is that it is, like the form of goodness, absolutely good rather than good for oneself. A fine essay by Rachel G. Singpurwalla, "Plato's Defense of Justice in the Republic " completes the volume. She addresses herself to a problem raised by David Sachs more than forty years ago: Socrates' defense of justice seems to have nothing to do with ordinary justice.

Socrates affirms, in Books IV and throughout, the great value of a unified soul; but even if we accept that thesis, what has this kind of justice to do with commonplace acts of justice, which are undertaken for the good of others? Singpurwalla surveys two kinds of answers that other scholars have offered as solutions to this problem, and then proposes a new approach.

Many of these thinkers shared a common idea on what justice should look like but many also disagree on how they should go about establishing that republic. Plato and Aristotle exemplify this idea as although Plato taught Aristotle, they have vastly different answers to the question.

Both wrote books explicating their different opinions, Plato wrote…. Adeimantus told Guardians that the value of the city and its interest must be good to the Guardians. Perhaps, the city doesn 't make the people, but does it dispossess them to many pleasing things? The resolution….

Essay 1 The Republic is a book written by Plato, which takes place in the house of Cephalus. The Republic by Plato is mainly a dialogue or debate between Socrates, the main character, and several other people.

Justice in Plato's The Republic Essay

The issue that is discussed during the debate is the definition of justice in the individual and the state; as well as, the ideal state. Socrates had numerous debates regarding the definition of justice with Cephalus, Polemarchus, and Thrasymachus in the first four parts of the book; however….

Justice The Republic is a book written by Plato, which takes place in the house of Cephalus. Essays Essays FlashCards. Browse Essays.

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Show More. They must understand and guide the others to happiness.

In this cave there are men who are bound and they see only the shadows cast by the fire behind them onto a wall in front of them. They assume the shadows to be real because they have never seen anything other than that all their lives.

The Republic Essays

One man is set free to leave the cave and into the outside world. He will eventually be able to see all the real things and recognize the shadows cast on the wall in the cave are not real. He would then want to go back down to the cave to rescue his fellow prisoners, so to teach and guide them to the right way. The second virtue is courage.

In the state, the soldiers represent courage. They fight and defend for their city. They obey the rulers and are their allies. He will try to persuade the rulers and soldiers that they do not have parents but rather they were born from the earth.