Plato And The Republic Term Paper

Length: 3 pages Subject: Philosophy Type: Term Paper Paper: #72044129 Related Topics: Allegory Of The Cave, Plato, Virtual Reality, Oligopoly
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Plato's Republic

In What Ways is The Republic Still Relevant Today?

The Republic is Plato's best known work and gives and account of Socrates as he tackles several of some of the most intellectually important topics that humanity has known. This book has not only survived the test of time, but it is one of the world's most influential books that has ever been written. The book starts by giving an argument that deals with the nature of justice that sets the foundation for the rest of the topics and the assumptions about what an ideal relationship with the state might be from a variety of different perspectives. For example, Socrates argues that one should be just for their own self-interest, which is also presented as the means to organizing society. There are ten books in the series however and a wide range of different topics are covered -- everything from what knowledge constitutes, to the allegory about the cave, and to the ideal form and evolution of the form of government. The role of art in the society is also reviewed and Socrates is pictured as not a fan of imitative art. Although this work was produced more than two millennia ago, all of the themes that are presented in the book are still extremely relevant in today's world as all of the topics covered have never been completely settled and the discussions and debates continue in contemporary society.

Plato and Political Forms

Socrates argues that through individual contributions to the greater good that can lead to a democracy however this form of government can be fleeting in its existence. For example, once the majority of economic resources in a society become consolidated into the hands of a few, in an oligopoly form, the ranks of the underprivileged will work to overcome these


Furthermore, the same types of trends can exist in a democracy except instead of wealth and resources, a demagogue can work to consolidate power through clever appeals to the populous. As a result, the final form of government that persists in the book in which the demagogue has consolidate all of the power for himself.

This model seems immensely relevant today even in the U.S., especially with the presidential primaries that are now running. For example, a couple of the most popular presidential contenders seem to appeal widely to the populist. Donald Trump has already secured the candidacy for the Republican Party and Bernie Sanders will most likely not secure the Democratic Party nomination, although he has definitely proved his popularity and helped to shape the debate. It is more likely that Trump would be a demagogue-type figure in my opinion for many reasons. One reason for example, Trump seems to be focused on his own self-interest as he has been for his entire life. He has consolidated resources to the extent that he is a multi-billionaire who now wishes to extend his power in a different sphere.

Bernie Sanders seems like a different case, but even as so, power has been known to corrupt and it is not certain that he could be a benevolent leader. Yet, in contrast to Trump, Sanders has not worked to accumulate financial resources and has been consistent on most issues throughout his career which seem to indicate that some of his motivations might be consistent with a candidate that is authentically concerned with the public good. Yet, the institutions that govern the primaries, have largely excluded this candidate from the media on many fronts. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, advocates for many populists' causes, however also has strong ties to the corporate and political institutions at large and cannot be considered a political outsider from any perspective.

In my opinion, one of the contributions of The Republic is to realize that there are different power dynamics in play in such political forms and how these dynamics can play out. Many of the factors are different in today's environment however. For example, it is far from clear if the marginalized classes could actually rise up against…

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