In Plato's Republic, he states that democracy is second only to tyranny as the worst form of government because tyranny arises from democracy. This goes against what most people believe of democracy. Today, democracy is viewed as the best political system because the prime tenets of a democracy are freedom and equality. Essentially, democracy is all about free people governing themselves. However, Plato is critical of democracy precisely because of these features. Democracy, in Plato's belief, gives people too much freedom, which can lead to chaos. He also believes that when everyone believes that they are equal and that they have both the right and the ability to govern others, this brings a lot of people seeking power to want to be in politics. This means that people may be wanting to be in power because they believe that they can have this esteemed position, but…… [Read More]
From this we need to understand that the existence of entities, beings which superior power and knowledge is accepted.
People not only accept that these being actually exist, but they obey their commands. From this one can deduce that morality is connected with power. People obey the commands of the gods because the gods are what they are. The implications are that on the one side, the gods have access to supreme knowledge and hence they know and set the truth and that, on the other hand they are powerful enough to impose their knowledge of truth to the ones who are less powerful. but, being less powerful implies the idea that one is also afraid of those who are more powerful.
Therefore, truth loses its value in itself and becomes correlated and supported by the possession of power. It becomes more and more obvious that this can not be…… [Read More]
Socrates: A Just Life
Socrates' view on man's search for justice is one of the great guiding lights provided by the Ancient Greek civilization. Provided for civilization through the writings of his student, Plato, Socrates lays the framework for the idea that justice is good and that every man seeks to find through self-examination what good is. From this basic concept, the Socratic method of teaching, which has been passed down through the ages, developed. In the Socratic method of teaching, it is understood that each student already possesses the answers to the question and that the role of the teacher is to help each student find that answer within himself. Thus, Socrates said the same about the general seeking of justice. That everyman knows what justice is but must, through self-examination, uncover what that concept truly means.
In his book epublic, Plato speaks through his teacher Socrates and uses…… [Read More]
Plato’s Republic: A Definition of Justice
According to Plato, “justice is the excellence of the soul, and injustice the defect of the soul” (20). Another definition of it, however, is that justice is “the repayment of a debt” (4). This is a rather narrow definition of justice, and it is one that Socrates unpacks—but it to can get to the heart of the underlying meaning. The just man is one who pursues the good, while the unjust man is one who pursues evil. Of course, as is always the case with Socrates, everything must come around eventually to a definition of the good, which Plato defines in the dialogue as transcendental ideals that objectively exist as universals: to know justice is, as Socrates explains in the Allegory of the Cave, to pursue the ultimate reality, which exists high above, where the source of all good is to be found—in God.…… [Read More]
Purple in Plato’s Republic
The achievement of the “good of the whole” is the purpose of Socrates’ constitution, proposed in Plato’s Republic. To explain this purpose to Adeimantus in Book IV of The Republic, Plato has Socrates invoke the analogy of the “purple eye,” (90) which is employed at the opening of the Book, after Adeimantus states that Socrates’ citizen-guardians would live in misery because they would always be “on guard,” as it were, and would never actually enjoy themselves.
Plato uses the theme of purple throughout the text, which has symbolic power (as it represents royalty and majesty) to craft the response of Socrates. The ideal is what Socrates has in mind—the highest reality—which is made plain in the Allegory of the Cave in Book VII of The Republic. It is from this cave that the ignorant must emerge, so that they might see reality for what it is,…… [Read More]
Plato's work is idealistic and, as such, some of the rationale behind many of the conclusions he draws on do not necessarily have a logical or practical motivation. Nevertheless, they are logically tied to most of the assumptions he makes in his work, which is why his conclusions could, ideally, be transposed into the society he had projected. The most important conclusion of his work may be that each part of society is closely related and coordinated with all the others. This is why issues such as education and general knowledge will need to be customized so as to best fit the needs of society and to support the governing infrastructure.
1. Danzig, Gabriel, "Rhetoric and the Ring: Herodotus and Plato on the Story of Gyges as a Politically Expedient Tale," Greece & Rome journal, Volume 55, Issue 02, October 2008, Cambridge University Press, 18 August 2008, pp.169-192
2.…… [Read More]
Thus the law enforcing agencies, the soldiers and militia fall in this category of courage.
The third part is self-discipline. Socrates explained that it is not easy to allow oneself to be ruled. But when every section of a community accepts its rulers and understands that some people rule while others are the ruled, they are exhibiting self-discipline. This is needed for a community to function smoothly. When all these elements are found, we realize that the ability to a community to allow every person to do his job without creating conflict is morality. This is the outer morality that helps keep a community intact.
In almost similar fashion, the person must function smoothly and remain intact too. Any conflict within a person's mind would create discord and this would lead to immorality. Socrates introduces his tripartite philosophy in this case and explains that the mind is divided into three…… [Read More]
His argument is that the two extreme sides are opposed by nature hence they exist in a state of "civil war." he third part of the soul is identified as the "spirited part" which is "far from being [appetitive], for in the civil war in the soul it aligns itself far more with the rational part" (Plato: book IV).
he healthy soul is the one where reason, assisted by spirit, rules over desire, be it for food, sex, etc. A healthy soul - according to Socrates - means that the individual is just inside and out, in the sense that on the one hand, the individual will be ruled by reason thus he will be just on the inside, and on the other, he will be just on the outside because someone who is ruled by reason cannot rob or cheat: "Both together will they not be the best defenders…… [Read More]
In his model, Plato is therefore unjust.
Just as his social and political arrangement of a city is inappropriate for humans, so too is his argument for the humans in that political and social arrangement. Most of his arguments for the individuals in this society can be found in his fifth book. hile be first begins with the argument that men and women should be treated equally in education, occupation, and war -- a modern idea -- this furthers his unjust expectations of humans. It is an attempt to further dehumanize the humans that live in his society by refusing to acknowledge their emotional and human characteristics by acknowledging, instead, the characteristics that can be used to make use of them in society. In an even greater assault of these human ideas, Plato states that the wives of guardians will be chosen for them, as well as wondering how "marriages…… [Read More]
While this is not yet true for the United tates, might the country be dangerously close? If one could return to the events on 9/11, is it not possible that the diminished freedoms brought about by legislation such as the Patriot Act and its successor almost smack of tyranny? These are important questions to consider if the much-mentioned American "way of life" is to be preserved. Tyranny is far from desirable, and governments would do well to consider its dangers as these might relate to democracy.
The answer to this question is therefore dangerously close to yes, if certain paradigms are not curbed and warnings not heeded. While I do not fully agree with Aristotle's placement of democracy in the sequence so far away from the ideal tate, it is nonetheless important to consider specific governmental paradigms. Citizens should take great care when choosing their rulers. Many believe that the…… [Read More]
Plato's Republic And Justice
Justice is ultimately an unknowable concept, if we accept Plato's ideas of 'form' or the essential nature of concepts. In the Republic, Plato presents several intelligent and well-thought-out discussions about the nature of justice. He refutes the arguments that justice is simply rewarding friends, or asserting the interests of the strong. He ultimately concludes that the goal of life is the pursuit of what is just, and that a just life makes man happy. However, if we accept Plato's ideal of the 'form', or essential nature of a concept, it is thereby impossible to truly understand the concept of justice. The best that we, or even the brilliant and inquisitive Plato can attempt, is to achieve a clear representation of the ideal or 'form' of justice.
In Plato's Republic, he provides a challenging discussion of the nature of justice and injustice. In Book One, Socrates contemplates…… [Read More]
Plato and Socrates -- Human Soul
There are a number of philosophical tenets that have been the subject of intense scrutiny since humans coalesced into formal societies. ho are we as a species? here do we fit in with the universe? hat is morality? Do the ends justify the means? Moreover, most of all, why are we here and are we free to act as individuals toward greater good? Free will, for instance, or the idea of that human's make choices unconstrained, has been contested even as a concept. The paradigm that humans may make rational choices and that life is not predetermined from "divine" beings allows one to look at a number of philosophical constructs that are on a continuum between the idea that determinism is false and that of hard determinism, or the idea that determinism is true and free will completely impossible forms the crux of a…… [Read More]
Plato and Descartes
Plato concept of innate goodness and Descartes descriptions of human reasoning for being good both provide a foundation for man's need to better understand the basic and spiritual goodness found within human nature. In Plato's Republic, he provides many anthologies that help one to discover their own goodness. Descartes gives many logical reasons within his work, Meditations, that help to explain why the human mind reflects God's natural ability to be good, but when human error occurs, the ability to have a pure mind disappears. This paper will discuss the similarities of Plato's and Descartes' concept of man's ability to be good.
Book VI of The Republic defines Plato's concept of "good" and provides many various descriptions to help guide others to better understand the nature of what it means to be "good." Plato's idea of "being good" eventually will lead to an "end in itself" and…… [Read More]
Plato and Aristotle
Both Plato and Aristotle attempted to philosophically construct the ideal society and the most suitable form of government. Two of the main areas on which the two philosophers disagree are the importance of private property and on the need for a guardian class. Aristotle derides holding property in common on the basis that it is impractical. In Politics, Part V of Book 2, he states, "there is always a difficulty in men living together and having all human relations in common, but especially in their having common property." Aristotle offers two main arguments to promote his opinion. The first is based largely on semantics and therefore misses the point Plato was attempting to make in his Republic. Aristotle's defense of private property is weakest in this respect: that which is held in common by the state is consequentially shared by all citizens. Even women and children come…… [Read More]
Philosopher-kings strive to lead individuals out of the cave, and to perceive 'the real,' the pure and ideal world of the forms rather than the shadows of ideals. This idealistic concept is one reason why Plato is so determined that every human being assume his ideal place in the social order, whether working at a trade, fighting, or engaging in philosophy.
hile Plato's version of a social contract between the different classes of society is, in his view, a mutually beneficial one, in Hobbes' view the social contract between sovereign in subjects is unequal, but extremely necessary because life is not worth living without such a contract. If there is any part of Plato that Hobbes would agree with, it is the "Myth of Gyges" which is told by an opponent of Socrates, the advocate of tyranny Glaucon (a kind of precursor to Hobbes). Gyges was a shepherd who became…… [Read More]
The rulers correspond with the mind/soul- just as the mind directs the body in the individual, the rulers direct the body of the state (i.e. The guardians and workers.)
Part Two: Aristotle on Pride
Aristotle claims that pride is not a vice, but a major moral virtue. He opens his argument by saying that the word pride itself implies gratness, and therefore a proud man is one who considers hiomself-worthy of great things- in contrast to a moderate man who is worth little and considers himself worthy of like amount, or the foolish man, who thinks himself more worthy than he actually is. Aristotle also distinguishes the humble man, as the one who does not consider himself worthy of his own good fortunes. The point is that the proud man claims what he deserves, and nothing more, whereas other sorts claim either more or less than is to their credit.…… [Read More]
It lacks unity among members and it also doesn't work for the common good. Socrates defines oligarchy as "A political system which is based on property value, so that the rich have political power, and the poor are excluded from government.'" (286)
The person running an oligarchy would be obsessive about money. He will also be "thrifty and hard-working." Being an opportunist, he would try to "make a profit out of every situation, and he's a hoarder -- an attribute which is commonly admired in people." (291) Money is important but education would not mean much to him. Such a person would be marred by internal conflict. "he isn't single, he's divided into two. His condition is simply that his better desires by and large control his worse ones." (292) While some of the governments in the world proclaim democracy, there are actually oligarchies. Pakistan would be one such country…… [Read More]
The image is quite close to a contemporary understanding, for it carries a Christian connotation, which is an element of importance in the present democratic values.("Virtue is free, and as a man honours or dishonours her he will have more or less of her") (Plato, 2000). Since every soul is responsible for choosing his own life, every person must take full responsibility for being just or unjust.
However, we can see that virtue alone is not enough, we need knowledge as well, we need to justify our actions with reasons ("but his virtue was a matter of habit only, and he had no philosophy") (Plato, 2000). The winner is not the good, but the wise.
The symbols of the river of Unmindfulness and the plain of Forgetfulness through which the souls must pass in their travel towards a new life can signify that the ignorant and those don't learn from…… [Read More]
Plato's theory of eing and ecoming, and its relations to the forms, is rooted in the dichotomy between being and not-being. Prior to Socrates the Sophists, from Parminedes to Gorgias, had argued that because it was impossible by definition for Nothing to exist, it was impossible to describe or vocalize a negative state, and therefore also impossible to utter falsehood. "And now arises the greatest difficulty of all. If Not-being is inconceivable, how can Not-being be refuted? (Plato, Sophist) All that could be said must be somehow true, as false speech would not be speech and therefore could not be uttered. eing was arranged across the divide from an incomprehensible and/or impossible Not-eing. In addition, the nature of eing itself was somewhat suspect, as it was seen alternately as a great static or fluctuation One-ness, or as a multitude of ones; either position had flaws.
When Socrates/Plato arrived at a…… [Read More]
Plato, the soul is a grounded aspect of human nature; it is innate, and based upon an adequate understanding of human actions. Plato, from observing human tendencies, arrives at the conclusion that there must be three separate portions of the soul. This notion is based upon the fact that people are often drawn towards certain actions while they are simultaneously pulled away from them; an alcoholic may desire a drink, but at the same time may want to resist such behavior. This sort of conflict, residing in a single individual, could be interpreted or explained in a number of ways; Plato, however, rests his explanation upon a principle that he believes to be the truth: "It is obvious that the same thing will not be willing to do or undergo opposites in the same part of itself, in relation to the same thing, at the same time. So, if we…… [Read More]
" (p. 55)
Socrates doesn't argue the point during that discussion but expresses his concern. He later gives many examples to illustrate why morality and justice are more beneficial. However he doesn't specifically answer the argument that given a chance, everyone would sin. Socrates however makes it clear that a man with a moral sense deeply embedded in him wouldn't commit sin even if he were to remain invisible from his fellows because he knows that morality has greater rewards. This person is moved by the inner conviction that morality is indeed as good as God makes it sound. He therefore sticks to moral actions in order to please the God and to get ample rewards. "...morality does have the reputation it enjoys among gods and men. e've found that actually being moral entails benefits..." (p. 369)
Socrates is a suitable person for making this argument because he remained just…… [Read More]
All the aspects of society are based on the models of the Forms, or the ideals of perfection. In other words, if we translate this belief into practical terms, Plato's theory really means that we should strive for the highest possible ideals in life.
Although Plato had a great influence on estern thought, there are many thinkers and philosophers who disagree with the basic premises, and dualism, of this theory. For example, the philosopher Emmanuel Kant states that man has certain limitations in his search for truth and knowledge. Unlike Plato, Kant believed that we could not have knowledge of or 'know' the truth that exists behind ordinary reality. He referred to the word of true reality as the noumenal world. However to understand this noumenal world is to understand the "thing in itself'; a possibly that Kant believed was beyond human capabilities. Therefore, although Kant acknowledged that there was…… [Read More]
There is some truth to the idea that certain appetites are difficult to control. As animals, we seek things like food and sex, as these are among our most basest needs. As humans, we may seek some of these things to excess, and indulge in them readily when they are available. There is a case to be made that our desire for recreation (alcohol, drugs, leisure time) can also be taken to extreme levels. These are also animal responses, since we have developed systems of living where many of us do not worry for our survival. The idea is that other animals, if they did not fear for their survival, would also indulge in whatever other activities they find pleasant. There is evidence that some animals play; and many alpha predators from cats to crocodiles spend most of their time relaxing, so easy is it for them to…… [Read More]
This view corresponds roughly with Freud's analysis of the soul, which consists of the unconscious id, dark and ugly, needing to be molded by the ego, which balances needs and maintains order, both sitting under the super-ego, which represents the wisdom of social convention and knowledge. Plato believes that in constructing the soul in this way he is able to define morality as those actions which tend to bring the soul into balance, just as by defining society in the way he does he thinks he can define justice. The key to both morality and justice, according to Plato, is order.
Although Plato's view of the soul is robust and illuminating, there are some possibilities which it does not account for, corresponding with the same notions which have been used to criticize Freud. Specifically, he doesn't seem to be able to account for the possibility of a spiritual component to…… [Read More]
He believes the Forms to have more reality than what we see around us in the visible world. The world we see around us is elusive and transitory. (This chair can be burned into a pile of ash and no longer take the form of a chair.) The ideal world of Forms, however, is permanent. (Nothing can destroy the Ideal Chair.) We see the concrete world and know it only by making reference to the abstract reality of the Ideal Forms.
One alternative to this view was offered by Plato's student, Aristotle. He argued that when we see the world we see the things in themselves that make up subjective reality, and after we see many of such things we formulate knowledge of a supposed abstract reality. In this view we move, not from abstract to concrete, but from concrete to abstract. We learn to make abstractions by viewing the…… [Read More]
Plato's The Republic
Throughout the book, the ideas of Plato and his peers center on the social conditions of an ideal republic, which lead each person to the perfect possible life. Socrates, who was Plato's mentor, acts as a moderator during Plato's discussions, presenting a series of questions and topics that contribute to Plato's ideas of a perfect society. At the beginning of The Republic, Plato asks the fundamental question of what is justice? This becomes one of the key issues of the book, along with Plato's ideas about forms.
Socrates had just attended a festival and was returning to Athens when he met Polemarchos on the road. Polemarchos insisted that Socrates join him at his home to meet his family and friends. The group began a conversation about justice. Polemarchos said that justice was giving back what is owed. Socrates argued that if he returned a weapon to a…… [Read More]
The issue of justice is also very closely related to that of morality. In the epublic, morality is again a function of the class division dictated by soul dominance. With every individual's place in society rigidly defined, social interaction were also defined. There would be a prescribed way of dealing with someone lese based on which class each member was, and since most immoral behavior has some form of jealousy at its root, the ideal state has carefully removed all such temptations to jealousy. The reason for the ascetic life of the philosopher-kings and warriors is so the commoners see the way of life that the rulers lead and are turned off by it; being ruled by desire and seeing nothing in that way of life to desire, they would cease even to desire power. For Plato, it would have been immoral for someone not equipped to rule to attempt…… [Read More]
Plato on Justice
he Greek word which Plato uses to mean "justice" -- dike or dikaios -- is also synonymous with law and can also mean "the just"; as Allan Bloom (1991) notes, Plato uses a more specific term -- dikaiosyne -- in the Republic, which means something more like "justice, the virtue" (p. 442). Gregory Vlastos (1981) goes even further to note that, with Plato's very vocabulary for these concepts of justice, "the sense is so much broader: they could be used to cover all which is morally right" (p. 111). his terminology links it with justice as it would be conceived within Plato's theory of forms, and Dominic Scott (2006) notes that -- following that theory -- this introduces "another connotation of virtue" as being "a genus of which such qualities as justice, courage, temperance and wisdom are species" (p. 14). Slippage of terminology seems to be looming…… [Read More]
Why do people behave justly? Is it because they fear societal punishment? Or do they do so because it is good for them and thus society as a whole? Is justice, regardless of its rewards and punishments, a good thing in and of itself? How should justice be defined? Plato responds to such questions in the Republic and concludes that justice is worthwhile in and of itself.
In Book III of the Republic, Plato continues his discourse on "guardians" (373d-374e) as well as other roles that make up a society. In order to educate guardians so they can gain the necessary character traits, he notes the importance of music and poetry, with an emphasis on simplicity of style. These guardians will be motivated by beauty and the arts (401d-403c). Such studies of art and literature, along with physical training, will develop a just soul. By stressing the importance…… [Read More]
Thrasymachus sustains that obedience to rulers is just (Republic, 399b7) and this comes in no contradiction with what Hobbes sustains. In a contractual society, laws must be obeyed, but this is simply the result of the renunciation of one's freedoms in return of security. However, what Hobbes always argues for in his writings is that individuals pursue their self-interest because this is their nature. Laws are restrictions in the path of pursuing one's interest. Thrasymachus makes it clear in his argumentation that he is in favour of everyone supporting their own interest and that this is the position he defends. This is one of the most obvious similarities with Hobbes. He described justice as seeking another's interest, and injustice as involving seeking one's own interest.
Hobbes supports that the ideal state of the human being is the state of nature, from which people moved to the commonwealth presented in the…… [Read More]
In The Republic, Plato uses several analogies, myths, and allegories to illustrate his philosophical and political stances and concepts. These myths serve to clarify, simplify and explain to his readers and students complex ideas. For example, in one of the most famous passages of The Republic, the myth of the cave, Plato demonstrates his otherwise complicated concept of the Forms. The world that our senses encounter creates illusions, like the shadows formed on the walls of the cave. Only the philosopher who is willing to comprehend the truth can leave the cave and witness the origin of these shadows, that which causes them to appear: the Forms. Furthermore, Plato uses the sun as a symbol of the ultimate Form of the Good. Through this myth the student is able to visually conceptualize an otherwise abstract notion of Forms or Archetypes.
Similarly, Plato uses myth to describe his political…… [Read More]
Plato vs. De Tocqueville -- The ideal vs. The real vision of the democratic character and the democratic state
Both the Greek philosopher Plato and French traveler Alexis de Tocqueville approached different 'lived' versions of contemporary democracy as outsiders looking in. Plato (using the persona and voice of the deceased teacher Socrates) critiqued ancient Greek democracy with the aim of putting in that democracy's stead an idealized version of a republic, run entirely by philosopher kings who were judged to be the most fit to rule. Alexis de Tocqueville, in contrast, came from France to American. He came from a nation that had experienced a difficult relationship with its monarchy to a nation where the democracy of the masses was something to be aspired to rather than something to be feared and dreaded. Although de Tocqueville did allow that democracy had its potential to become abusive, when the popular will…… [Read More]
However, the most important argument seems to be the happiness of the city. If responding to an inner need of fulfilling your tasks -- which derive from your very way of being- means happiness for each and every person living from the city, then it is easy to understand how personal happiness and justice contribute to social justice. Justice is the realization of the potential of all the individuals.
This realization is at its turn a manifestation of nature which is a reflection of the idea of good (here we must underline the importance of the "ideas" in Plato's Republic).
The city can very well be interpreted as a metaphor for the individual. If for the individual happiness means the harmony between reason and feeling and the manifestation of his own nature, then it is easy to see the analogy with the just people living in the just city obeying…… [Read More]
To paraphrase Marx several centuries later, this can most easily be summed up as "from each according to his ability to each according to his needs," or, for Plato, "if each person does one thing for which he is naturally suited, and does it at the opportune moment" (48). Here, Plato is acknowledging that not every individual is equal, nor has the same abilities as everyone else. This, in the long-term, will bring about the best society possible, because each person is really actualizing -- called the "healthy city." To ensure that this happens, education must be healthy and must ensures that the right education be given to the right person. He focuses on the guardians of the city, and then turns to who should rule -- deciding that personal freedom is not really valued, but the ruler should uphold the good of the state. Social classes are quite rigid,…… [Read More]
Plato held that a just state would be run by philosopher guardians. Plato thinks that, given their education, talents, virtues and the way their lives would be controlled in his Republic, such people are the best possible rulers. Is he right about this?
One of the contradictions in Platonic philosophy is that its oligarchic structure of rule by philosopher kings who are 'the best' and 'most fit' to create a 'just' state embodies an antidemocratic and unjust philosophy. The idea that only those temperamentally fit to rule should rule has often been used to justify tyranny. Socrates, at the beginning of the Republic, calls for his listeners to strive to live a good life, not one that is merely pleasurable or self-serving. However, despite his calls for justice, a society which denies individual autonomy can never be just and dictatorships almost inevitably produce self-serving regimes.
At the beginning of the…… [Read More]
This may be true, but only to a limited extent. If human experience is limited, then so is the acquired knowledge and truth can not exist partially only. On the one hand. On the other hand, it is safe to say that unlimited experience is impossible at least empirically (419a).
Therefore, truth might be based on experience but experience is not enough. The fact that people are chained to the wall is a metaphor which suggests the fact that human perceptions are influenced and shaped by the environment we live in through its customs, beliefs and values. It becomes obvious how difficult it is to have a free mind. Returning to the issue of experience, we may have a person breaking free from the chain and thus being able to move around the cave.
Now he can see the statues and the fire and with the use of reason he…… [Read More]
Although ook III in Plato's The Republic is titled 'The Arts in Education', it has come to be known as the author's censorship treatise. In order to provide an 'ideal' education for the state's guardians, or rulers, and to ensure social and moral welfare of the citizens, Plato argues that art and literature should be censored. y controlling the creative output of artists, poets, and writer; and by amending or deleting their previous work, the state would ensure that, "some tales are to be told, and others are not to be told to our disciples from their youth upward, if we mean them to honor the gods and their parents, and to value friendship with one another" (p66). While agreeing with Plato's commitment to improving education, and with his belief in upholding social and moral values, this paper disagrees with the control and censorship of art, literature, or…… [Read More]
Plato and the Little Prince
Plato's Allegory of the Cave and the Little Prince of Antoine de Saint Exuprey
Plato's Allegory of the Cave in Book Seven of The Republic portrays a world in darkness, the darkness of a cavern. Individuals in the darkness of the cavern of the lived texture of reality, of a daily existence of neckties and golf as Antoine de Saint Exuprey might say, sit around a burning fire. This image represents human beings the world. The fire the human beings gaze at is the fire of the enlightenment the philosophers of humanity, are seeking, often in vain. Occasionally, the humans at the fire catch glimpses of a higher form of reality upon the walls of the cave in the form of shadows. The shadows, which represent how most human beings see reality, are really only dimly filtered versions of the true nature of the forms,…… [Read More]
They do not occupy space. Nevertheless, although the Form of a circle has never been seen -- -indeed, could never be seen -- -mathematicians and others do in fact know what a circle is. That they can define a circle is evidence that they know what it is. For Plato, therefore, the Form "circularity" exists, but not in the physical world of space and time. It exists as a changeless object in the world of Forms or Ideas, which can be known only by reason."
Forms have greater reality than objects in the physical world both because of their perfection and stability and because they are models of reality (Vincent, 2005). Circularity, squareness, and triangularity are all good examples of what Plato meant by Forms. An object in the physical world may be called a circle or a square or a triangle only to the extent that it resembles the…… [Read More]
The Sociological Implications of Plato's Allegory of the Cave
Social enlightenment is an abstract concept indeed, and one that is tied closely to collective ways of understanding and perceiving complex cultural dimensions such are hierarchies, forms of governance and variances of individual economic burden. However, our understanding of this abstract concept may be enhanced by Plato's well-known "Allegory of the Cave." Comprising Chapter VII of Plato's critically important The Republic, the allegory examines the experience of socially-imposed ignorance and the consequences of enlightenment. In doing so, it offers an extremely compelling discussion on the human condition that is remarkable in its relevance to our lives today. Namely, the allegory forces us to examine our conceptions of awareness and to reflect on that which we truly know as opposed to that which we believe we know. Indeed, the most compelling aspect of the Plato allegory is the degree to…… [Read More]
Plato & Aristotle
The Platonic theory of knowledge is divided into two parts: a quest first to discover whether there are any unchanging objects and to identify and describe them and second to illustrate how they could be known by the use of reason, that is, via the dialectical method. Plato used various literary devices for illustrating his theory; the most famous of these is the allegory of the cave in ook VII of The Republic. The allegory depicts ordinary people as living locked in a cave, which represents the world of sense-experience; in the cave people see only unreal objects, shadows, or images. ut through a painful process, which involves the rejection and overcoming of the familiar sensible world, they begin an ascent out of the cave into reality; this process is the analogue of the application of the dialectical method, which allows one to apprehend unchanging objects and…… [Read More]
Plato, Descartes, And the Matrix
The Matrix can be compared with Plato and Descartes. While that might seem like a very odd comparison, there are many similarities. In each scenario, there is the concept of reality and how to determine what is real and what is not. While it may seem as though it is easy to tell if something is real or not real, the truth is more complicated. People can have experiences in their lives that feel completely unreal to them, and they can have dreams that feel so real that they have trouble understanding why they have ended once they wake up. Naturally, that is a serious concern for people who are attempting to really understand the truth. There are some differences in the three works, though, because Plato was fixated more on people seeing something while they were awake and not being exposed to anything else.…… [Read More]
and, through the scientific study of modern, cognitive science, the idea that 'I' am doing the thinking in a way that is separate from my body and that this can be rationally deducted, simply by thinking and without scientific experimentation would be confounded.
However, those using empiricism as their main philosophical view of the world have also been able to twist the empiricism to use science's supposed rationalism and objectivity to justify tyranny of 'the best,' as in the case of eugenics, and the notion of 'survival of the fittest,' which suggests that the 'best' (morally, racially, and ethically) thrive and should be allowed to triumph over the 'weak.' In reality, Darwin's actual theory merely supports the idea that those best suited to an environment survive, not that survivors are innately better or superior creatures (a mutated moth that can blend in with a coal-blackened environment is not 'better' than…… [Read More]
" He also confirmed to himself that God was the origin of his thought, and therefore because his thoughts were real, God must also be real.
3. Descartes -- Senses and Knowledge
When we went outside as a class, part of Descartes ideas was visible in our observations. All the students had a different perception of the external world. Some focused on certain people and certain objects, which were not seen in the same exact way as another student. This shows that the human mind sees a unique version of what our senses tell us is reality. Reality, might however, escape the limitations of the human mind. For instance, a particular relation to a person and an object, this case a tree, might be seen as being a certain way in my mind but a much different way in another student's mind. Each person's unique experience, through the perception of…… [Read More]
Philosophers are those most endowed to comprehend reality, therefore they ought to be granted state leadership. At the same time, people ought to realize their potential, an action which implied not only virtuosity, but also the achievement of happiness.
Lucretius on the other hand argued that dedicating oneself to the pleasures of the body is nothing but a road to perdition and that it is likely to bring more pain and misery than happiness. Just like Plato he argued for a rational view of the world and a rational approach to politics. According to him, inner balance was a strategic factor for the individual's happiness and for the society's well being. However, people had to accept pain and deal with (in a rational manner) and not simply choose to ignore it. He underlines that hardship is a natural element of life and that people should demonstrate their dignity and strength…… [Read More]
In essence this means that humanity lives in a state of illusion that has been technologically constructed by an intelligence that provides people with an illusionary reality. In the film it appears that humanity is being kept in a state of illusion in order to be used as an energy source.
We can relate the scenario in the Matrix to the cave allegory in that the entire world has become trapped in a highly technologized ' cave' where mankind exists in a false and dreamlike state, completely unaware of the actual reality of their imprisonment.
However, there are a few people who are aware of the "shadows" that exist outside the cave. There are a number of human beings who have become aware of the "forms" or the true and horrific reality of their world and the true nature of human existence. Under the leadership of the mysterious Morpheus, they…… [Read More]
Using the ring of Gyges as his 'proof,' he finds the last reason to be the most persuasive.
What Socrates definition of justice in the state is as found in Book IV? Compare the parts of the just state to the parts of the just soul. Describe the virtues of each.
Socrates defines justice in terms of balance, as every person doing what he is best suited to do -- to rule, fight, or labor. This is why the just state is structured into three classes, the philosopher kings who rule, the military class that defends the state, and the ordinary laborers. The philosopher kings govern by virtue of knowing best, the military class is necessary to defend the state, and the laborers are necessary to do the practical work of the land, so people can eat. All classes are necessary, and correspond to the soul, mind, and body split…… [Read More]
The text deals at length and often with a great variety of matters which bear on the human condition, but there are matters which would certainly have no place in a modern treatise on politics"
Therefore, it is rather hard to determine the extent to which Plato used this means of communication, the dialogues, to point out to the actual necessities of the society he lived in and the aspects that needed changes. In particular, the arguments he provides from the realities of the time are provided by Plato to merely support his own line of thought related to the philosophical ideas on happiness and justice.
An aspect that firmly relates to the way in which the "Republic" is constructed and that uses the arguments on the ideal state is related to the role the state may have in providing its citizens (here, the term "citizen" must be understood as…… [Read More]
Plato's The Cave
The chief theme addressed in the "Allegory of the Cave" by Plato is that: mankind often fails to comprehend the world's actual reality, believing they grasp whatever they come across, see and feel around them. In truth, humanity simply recognizes shadows of different entities' actual forms.
Plato's work depicts captives shackled such that all they are able to view is the cave's rear wall, upon which dance shadows cast by things moved between the light from a huge fire behind their backs and the cave wall. "How could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?" As their vision is limited to the cave wall, they are unaware of the fact that what they see are only shadows. They believe their eyes perceive actual things. For instance, if a man's shadow were to dance upon the wall, they would feel…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
Too many leaders today do not see much as necessarily bad or good, and they simply go through their life without realizing there is so much more out there to be done and seen, just like the people in Plato's Cave. They have blinders on -- some of which are part of society, and some of which are self-inflicted. If only they would break out of the chains which enslave them in that Cave they could climb up into the light where they could truly see, and they would be aware of all the beauty and wonder in this world.
Unfortunately, the people in the Cave choose not to make an attempt at going outside, and because they do not strive to see more and to learn more, they do not teach the children to see more and to learn more. The cycle simply perpetuates, and this is the case…… [Read More]
Just as their problems are caused by humans, their problems can also be solved by humans. This fact is exemplified by the existence of politics, where people learn to befriend and utilize people who would otherwise do them harm. Skill at politics, as Shorris noted, is what distinguished the rich from the poor: "Rich people know…how to negotiate instead of using force. They know how to use politics to get along, to get power. (5).
The Return to the Cave
In the third section of the allegory, Socrates speculates on what would happen if this former prisoner were to return to the cave. Having seen the light, he will have been happy for his edification and piteous of those stuck in the cave, believing their lives dark and ignorant. If he were to return to the cave, he would not be as content as he was when he was previously…… [Read More]
"I believe myself able to speak about Homer better than any man; and that neither Metrodorus of Lampsacus, nor Stesimbrotus of Thasos, nor Glaucon, nor any one else who ever was, had as good ideas about Homer as I have, or as many."
Plato's main purpose in Ion is to differentiate between gift of true knowledge and gift of shallow speech.
True knowledge is not limited to one artist but must expand beyond mere information about one person's work to an entire brand of study. For example someone who truly appreciate the written word will notice every new book that comes out, will analyze works of many writers and studies literature in depth. This happens because he is naturally attracted to the power of the written word and hence his soul awakens every time someone mentions something exceptional they have read or heard. But the same was not true for…… [Read More]
aking Life and Plato's Republic
Richard Linklater's 2001 film aking Life explores the nature of reality and its relationship to dreaming, and in particular the way in which the worlds of dreaming and reality intersect and cloud each other. At one point, as the main character essentially walks through his dreams, interacting with a variety of characters engaged in philosophical discussion, he comes upon a man playing ukulele who espouses and interpretation of dreaming very similar to Plato's allegory of the cave in his Republic. The ukulele-playing man describes the notion of lucid dreaming as a means of truly "living," and his description of lucid dreaming can be interpreted as the enactment of the goal in Plato's allegory. By comparing the scene with the ukulele-playing man in aking Life with Plato's allegory of the cave in The Republic, it will be possible to see how the former reinterprets the latter…… [Read More]
It is noted that students be chosen at an early age and that only those students with a true love of learning and never ending quest for knowledge will become true philosophers.
The student of philosophy must possess the virtues of courage, magnificence, apprehension and memory as his natural gifts and that without proper education, these very qualities may result in men who are regarded as utterly useless or depraved.
The educators' responsibilities increase with the most gifted minds as when they are ill-educated, they have greatest capacity for the greatest crimes and true evil. Conversely, Socrates and his cronies appear to believe that only a very few individuals are capable of understanding philosophy and that lesser minds have no need to learn philosophy as they are not as capable of accomplishment of good or evil.
In my opinion, the statement which has withstood the test of time appears in…… [Read More]
epublic, Plato conceptualizes the concept of the good primarily in terms of justice. Justice in turn extends from and manifests as harmony, both at the macrocosmic or universal levels as with the movement of the celestial bodies, and at the microcosmic or mundane levels as in political or social life. Plato also discusses the nature, essence, and importance of absolute good as an archetypal Form. The Form of Good is the seed of all things good, just, and harmonious in the universe. Plato is only slightly less concerned with Good from a moral standpoint, as the philosopher seems to take for granted that moral Good and virtue fall under the rubric of the Form of Good. In Leviathan, Hobbes's concern with good has much more to do with the process of critical thinking and understanding the relative nature of human judgment. Human concern with good reflects the constant need to…… [Read More]
In other words, like Plato, the body is inferior and its substance is irrelevant for true and certain knowledge. The intellect with its faculties (judgment, imagination, memory, free will, etc.) is most important.
The sixth meditation is the crucial one. He shows the body as "an extended, non-thinking thing" (VII: 78). This is accepted as being close to who he is, but not as close as the mind part. "And accordingly," he says, "it is certain that I am really distinct from my body, and can exist without it" (VII: 78). In other words, the mind and the body are separate, not dependent on each other. This is not exactly an argument for the immortality of the soul in the Platonic way. but, as Wilson says, "He now determines that there is no reason why the death or destruction of the body should entail the death or destruction of the…… [Read More]
In ancient Greece, there were a number of ideas that were considered to be some of the most desirable attributes in society. In Plato's Republic these ideas are taken in different directions with a critical inward look at humanity and what characteristics need to be embraced. One of the better areas where this is discussed is through Glaucon's arguments about justice. To fully understand these ideas requires explaining one of his claims in contrast with these views. This will offer the greatest insights as to what were the most common ideas in Greek society.
Glaucon believes that all good is divided from one of three classes to include: what is desired for only the consequences, things that are desired for self-interests and what is desired for self-interests along with the benefits received. The focus of this discussion will be on what is desired for self-interests and…… [Read More]
Plato and Machiavelli, and how their ideas on leadership compare and contrast with each other. To do this, their respective works the epublic and the Prince will be used.
In addition to the works by the two main authors considered, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy will provide important insight on Machiavelli and his work. Indeed, the piece authored by Nederman (2009) contains a section that specifically considers The Prince and Machiavelli's concept of leadership. In addition, Farmer's work also contains several good chapters on leadership, ethics, and how Machiavelli's concept of these is to be understood. For Plato's work, Goethals and Sorenson (2005) provided some good insight into his ideas of leadership and what these mean for ethical leadership today.
These works provide a valuable addition to the primary works by the authors themselves, as well as how the two might be compared with each other.
Application to Ethical Leadership…… [Read More]
Republic is Plato attempting to demonstrate through the character and discourse of Socrates that justice is better than justice is the good which men must strive for, regardless of whether they could be unjust and still be rewarded. Heuses dialectic, the asking and answering of questions which led the hearer from one point to another, with logic by obtaining agreement to each point before going on to the next, and so building an argument.
The Republic is an expansive work that touches on many areas of Plato's philosophy. And if we can understand it, we have moved a long way toward an understanding of Plato, who stands as one of the cornerstones of the Western philosophical tradition. The question at the center of the Republic is whether it is better to live justly or unjustly. To answer this question, Plato first constructs a perfectly Just City.
The two young listeners…… [Read More]