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Plato Republic PDF
[PDF] Plato Republic PDF (1.24 MB)
Author: Plato
No. Of Pages: 484
PDF Size: 1.24 MB
Language: English
Category: eBooks & Novels
Source: Drive Files
Plato Republic PDF

Plato Republic PDF Summary

Why do males behave in a morally upright manner? Is it because they’re terrified of the societal consequences? Do they shudder at the thought of divine wrath? Do the more powerful members of society utilise the law to frighten the weaker members of society? Or do men behave justly when it is in their best interests? Is justice, independent of its rewards and penalties, a good thing in and of itself? What does it mean to be just? Plato attempts to address these issues in The Republic. He wants to explain and describe justice in such a way that it illustrates how precious it is in and of itself. He offers a single solution to these two problems: a definition of justice based on human psychology rather than visible behaviour.

Plato’s method in The Republic is to describe societal, or political, justice first, then develop an analogous concept of individual justice. In Books II, III, and IV, Plato defines political justice as harmony in a formed political body. A society is ideal when the interactions between its three primary classes are harmonious: producers (craftsmen, farmers, artisans, and so on), auxiliaries (warriors), and guardians (rulers). Each group must do its given task and be in the appropriate position of power in relation to the others. Auxiliaries must uphold rulers’ principles, and producers must limit themselves to employing the skills that nature has given them (farming, blacksmithing, painting, etc.). Justice is a specialisation concept that requires each person to fulfil the social responsibility that nature has bestowed upon him and not to engage in any other activity.

At the end of Book IV, Plato tries to show that individual justice is similar to political justice. He claims that each person’s soul has a three-part structure that corresponds to society’s three classes. There is a rational part of the soul that seeks truth and is responsible for our philosophical inclinations; a spirited part of the soul that seeks honour and is responsible for our feelings of anger and indignation; and an appetitive part of the soul that lusts after a variety of things, most notably money (since money must be used to fulfil any other base desire). In terms of a just society, the just person is defined by the three aspects of his soul achieving the essential power and influence relationships with one another. The logical aspect of the soul rules in a just person, the spirited element of the soul backs up this rule, and the appetitive part of the soul submits and follows reason wherever it goes. To put it another way, the whole soul of a just person strives to fulfil the wants of the rational half, just as the entire community of a just society strives to fulfil the rulers’ wishes.

There are several links between a just society and a just person. In actuality, each of society’s three layers is dominated by one of the three elements of the soul. The appetites of producers—their cravings for money, luxury, and pleasure—rule their life. Warriors are guided by their spirits, who motivate them to be bold. Leaders seek information and are directed by their reasoning abilities. The rulers, known as the philosopher kings, are the subject of Books V through VII.

While hammering out his theory of the Forms, Plato depicts who these people are via a series of three analogies—the allegories of the sun, the line, and the cave. Plato divided the cosmos into two realms: the visible (which we see with our senses) and the intelligible (which we cannot perceive with our senses) (which we only grasp with our minds). We can perceive the visible world, which is the universe. Forms, which are abstract, changeless absolutes like goodness, beauty, redness, and sweetness that exist in permanent relation to the visible realm and allow it, make up the intelligible universe. (An apple is red and tasty, according to this theory, since it participates in the forms of redness and sweetness.) Only the forms are objects of knowledge because they contain the eternal, unchanging truth that must be grasped by the mind rather than the senses.

Only philosophers, whose minds have been trained to comprehend the forms, are capable of knowing anything. Philosophers must understand the Form of the Good, which is the source of all other forms, as well as knowledge, truth, and beauty, in order to be competent rulers. Plato does not define this shape in detail, but he feels it is equivalent to the sun in the visible cosmos in the intelligible realm. Plato uses the cave allegory to depict the philosopher’s soul progressing through different degrees of insight (represented by the line) from the visible realm to the intelligible, and finally realising the Form of the Good. The purpose of education is to infuse the soul with the appropriate desires—to fill the soul with a hunger for truth, so that it aspires to advance beyond the visible world, into the intelligible, and eventually to the Form of the Good.

Only philosophers are endowed with both insight and justice. Their souls, more than others, seek to meet the demands of the rational portion. Plato contends that justice is valuable in and of itself after comparing the philosopher king with the most unjust form of man, represented by the tyrant, who is ruled only by his irrational desires. He presents three reasons in Book IX for concluding that being just is beneficial. He uses his own words to create a psychological portrait of the tyrant in order to explain how injustice torments a man’s mind. A healthy, pleasant, trouble-free, and calm soul. Following that, he claims that while each of the three main character types—money-loving, honor-loving, and truth-loving—has their own conception of pleasure and the corresponding good life, each choosing their own life as the most pleasurable, only the philosopher can judge because only he has experienced all three types of pleasure. Others should accept the philosopher’s verdict and conclude that the pleasures associated with philosophy are the most enjoyable, and that living a good life is also the most pleasurable. He seeks to demonstrate that only intellectual pleasure is actually enjoyable, and that all other pleasure is only the absence of pain.

It’s worth emphasising that none of these arguments establishes that justice is always accompanied with actual joy, rather than proving that justice is desirable apart from its effects. None of these, most likely, are meant to be the major motivations for seeking justice. Instead, the appeal of justice is probably due to the tight relationship that occurs between a fair existence and the forms. The fair life is attractive in and of itself since it implies recognising these fundamental principles and imitating their order and harmony in one’s own life. To put it another way, justice is good because it is associated with the ultimate good, the form of the good.

Plato ends The Republic on a surprising note. After defining justice and establishing it as the ultimate good, he exiles poets from his city. He claims that poets use unjust impulses to appeal to the lowest part of the brain. By forcing us to experience comparable emotions in real life, poetry allows us to indulge in ignoble sensations in sympathy with the individuals we read about. To summaries, poetry teaches us to be unjust. Finally, Plato narrates the story of Er, which depicts a soul’s journey after death. Just spirits are rewarded for a thousand years, while evil spirits are punished for the same amount of time. After that, each soul must decide on its own fate.

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