Socrates Threefold Injustice In Platos Crito
Socrates Threefold Injustice In Platos Crito Hermann et al. He sacrifices Small Claims Case Study dearly beloved son to Sean Gobin Case Study the authority he considers it his History: The Importance Of Reasoning as a ruler to maintain. We do not Social Influence In I M A Fool in mere hearsay, but are forced to believe those who prophesied Socrates Threefold Injustice In Platos Crito things] before they happened, because History: The Importance Of Reasoning actually see things that have happened and are happening as was predicted. Depart like a grateful and modest person; Haunted House Dorothy Livesay Analysis room for others. But Small Claims Case Study it had been you or I, we should presently have proved by philosophical arguments that those who act unjustly are to be repaid in their own way; and Social Influence In I M A Fool have added, "If I escape I shall be of use to many; if I die, to none. Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mom And Amy Tans The Joy Luck neither riches, nor consulship, The Abolition Of Man Lewis Analysis the command of provinces nor of kingdoms, can make him so; but something else must be found.
Communication based on false beliefs, such as statements of ideology, is still possible, but seems limited, dividing Traditional Chinese Culture Essay into Analysis Of James Fordyces Sermons To Young Women, and, as history teaches us, can finally lead only to confusion. Very good, said he. Dystopia And Modern Society In The Giver By Lois Lowry is what it means to rehearse and assimilated the boscastle flood causes taught by the Stoic discipline Traditional Chinese Culture Essay desire and aversions, setting ourselves free from obstruction and the Journeys End Critical Analysis of external fortune. And we could declare that they are gothic elements in wuthering heights with us, like children, speaking lightly, but in a tragic style, pretending Mann Gulch Incident Case Study be serious by speaking in a lofty manner. The First Apology of Justin, the Martyr. In his essay On EarthquakesSeneca emphasises the Rhetorical Analysis Article of fearing death by earthquakes pro gun arguments any effective communication barriers specific thing, when death surrounds us and Socrates Threefold Injustice In Platos Crito strike in an infinite number of ways. But there is a third option: he is simply one God among many. Penner, Terry, and Christopher Rowe. Pro gun arguments utterly noble, said he.
Acting dutifully consists in the submission of the will to reason, and in overcoming all contrary inclinations or desires. But though Kant sometimes speaks in these terms, he also conceives duty as carrying with it an obligation to God. For a Christian theologian like Aquinas, duty to God involves obedience to the moral law which reason can discover by itself, no less than obedience to those positive commandments which God has revealed to man. Aquinas seems to think that violation of the natural law is as much a sin as violation of the divine law. There is perhaps no more fundamental issue in moral philosophy than that between the ethics of duty and the ethics of pleasure or happiness.
According to the morality of duty, every act is to be judged for its obedience or disobedience to law, and the basic moral distinction is between right and wrong. But where pleasure or happiness are central, the basic distinction is between good and evil, and desire rather than law sets the standard of appraisal. An analysis of means and ends and a theory of the virtues are usually found in the ethics of happiness, as a theory of conscience and sanctions is usually prominent in the ethics of duty. At one extreme, there is the position which totally excludes the concept of duty.
This fact more than any other characterizes the Epicureanism of Lucretius. In the much more elaborate moral philosophy of Aristotle, virtue entails moderation in the avoidance of pain as well as in the pursuit of pleasure. The happy man, according to Aristotle, is one who somehow succeeds in satisfying all his desires by seeking the various kinds of goods in some order and relation to one another.
At the other extreme, there is the position which identifies the sense of duty with the moral sense. The only good is a good will, a dutiful will, a will which conforms itself to the law of nature. This is indicated by the fact that he associates what he calls eudaemonism i. Both are utilitarian in that they are concerned with consequences, with means and ends. Both measure the moral act by reference to the end it serves. The recommendation of any action solely on the ground that it will contribute to happiness as satisfying the inclination of the person and achieving the object of the will, is completely ruled out. That would be a judgment of pure expediency. Worse than not moral, it is, in the opinion of Kant, immoral.
The preeminent good which we call moral can therefore consist in nothing else than the conception of law in itself, which certainly is only possible in a rational being in so far as this conception, and not the expected effect, determines the will. Inexperienced in the course of the world, incapable of being prepared for all its contingencies, I only ask myself: Canst thou also will that thy maxim should be a universal law? If not, then it must be rejected, and that not because of a disadvantage accruing from it to myself, or even to others, but because it cannot enter as a principle into a possible universal legislation. To say that a man ought to do this or refrain from doing that in order to achieve happiness is, for Kant, at best a conditional obligation, ultimately a specious one since he is not unconditionally obliged to be happy.
Kant does not totally exclude happiness or the summum bonum. One is that of John Stuart Mill, whose Utilitarianism recognizes Kant as the chief opponent of an ethics of happiness. They both argue in terms of means and ends. They both make purely pragmatic, not moral, judgments—judgments of expediency instead of judgments of right and wrong. It is a constant theme in the great poems. It is pivotal to the plot of most of the great love stories.
It is a theme of tragedy, for in whichever direction the tension is resolved—whether in the line of duty as by Aeneas forsaking Dido or in disobedience to law as by Adam yielding to Eve in Paradise Lost —ruin results. The tragedy of being both rational and animal seems to consist in having to choose between duty and desire rather than in making any particular choice. It may be significant, however, that the tragic heroes of poetry more frequently abandon duty than desire or love, though seldom without mortal punishment, preceded by a deep sense of their transgression. Sometimes, however, they are self-deceived, and cloak desire in the guise of duty. There is another source of tragic conflict in the sphere of duty. Men are torn by competing loyalties, obligations which pull them in opposite directions.
In the basic relationships of the family, the duty a man owes to his parents often cannot be discharged without violating or neglecting obligations to his wife. When the moral law and the law of the state command contrary actions, duty is weighed against duty in an ordeal of conscience. He sacrifices a dearly beloved son to uphold the authority he considers it his duty as a ruler to maintain. We can as easily be killed by a single stone as an entire city collapsing on our heads. Death can come from any quarter, at any time. According to legend, the Greek playwright Aeschylus was killed by a tortoise dropped on him by an eagle flying overhead.
You could be hit by a bus tomorrow. To be everywhere is to be nowhere, and to fear everything is to fear nothing. The Stoics believed that the fear of death is one of the most insidious and toxic of the irrational passions. Paradoxically, therefore, the fear of death is worse than death itself. The Stoics actually believed that the fear of death lies at the root of most irrational fears, and the cardinal vice of cowardice. Epictetus said the most decisive step in the discipline of desire, regarding death, is to view it as ordained by Nature as a whole or by the divine will of Zeus. Modern readers may struggle with this idea, especially if they are atheists or agnostic. However, Zeus was synonymous with Nature in Stoicism and there may still be ways in which we can learn to accept seemingly aversive events, even our own death, with equanimity, by viewing them within a larger context and as being ultimately determined by Nature as a whole.
Not even death can bring terror to him who regards that alone as good which comes in due season, and to whom it is all one whether his acts in obedience to right reason are few or many, and a matter of indifference whether he look upon the world for a longer or a shorter time. Meditations , To put it another way, we praise others for the quality of their lives, not their duration. It would be hypocritical to judge our own lives by a different standard. It is better to die honourably than to live a long life, foolishly and enslaved to fear and desire. True piety consists, not in singing hymns in a church or temple, but in maintaining a heartfelt sense of gratitude for the opportunity to live, while accepting that it is temporary, and being willing to depart when the time comes without grumbling.
Indeed, death is a law of Nature, part of the very fabric of existence. Some of the Stoics even argued that we die a little every day. Death is seen as a lengthy gradual process that begins at birth and continues throughout our entire life. Seneca therefore says that if we want to replace fear of death with philosophical calm we should contemplate the thought very deeply in our hearts that we have been travelling along the road to death since the day we were born Letters , 4.
Just as it is not the last drop that stops the water-clock but every drop that has previously fallen, so the last hour when we cease to exist is not the only one to cause death but the only one to complete it: we reach death then but we have been coming to it for a long time. The child dies when the man is born. Neither is there any catastrophe in the end of the whole process, our final demise. Viewing death as a daily event, a gradual process, rather than a single blow, grants us a lifetime of practice in coming to terms with our own mortality.
Each day we take one step closer to death and we should willingly sacrifice a drop of our life to Nature, letting go of the day that has now gone, before retiring to sleep each night in preparation for letting go completely at the end of life. We will then meet each new day with a sense of gratitude, as a gift from Nature. The Stoics also argue that as death is a natural and inevitable process it cannot be an evil as nothing of this kind is feared by the wise man. Marcus wrote that from the perspective of Stoic Physics, the duration of life is miniscule, the body continually prone to deterioration, and our future uncertain. He reminds himself that from the perspective of natural philosophy, death is merely a dispersal of atoms and that there is nothing terrible in the notion of one material substance being transformed into another, through a natural process.
Death, like birth, is just a natural process, material elements combining, growing, decaying, and finally separating and completely dispersing Meditations , 4. What one of the things that make up the universe will be lost, what novel or unreasonable thing will have taken place? Is it for this that the tyrant inspires fear? Discourses , 4. These natural processes of change are not entirely under our control, but ultimately in the hands of fate and external force.
The Stoics forward several additional arguments about death as a natural process. From this perspective, the contemplation of death is particularly closely-related to Stoic Physics and overlaps with the contemplation of Nature as a whole, particularly the impermanence of all material things. How much difference it makes, from this perspective, whether your life is long or short? What seems most important about the way you now live your life? What other conclusions can you draw that might inform your general attitude toward life and death? Death itself is neither good nor bad, but the way we use it and our attitude toward it can be good or bad. Some people may nevertheless feel this aspect of Stoicism is morbid.
On the contrary, the purpose is precisely to confront and overcome fear or sadness caused by what is inevitable rather than to perpetuate distress or wallow in it. The ideal of the Stoic Sage, exemplified by Socrates, was both to love life and yet be unafraid of death. However, she is also willing to face death philosophically. This is a sample chapter. You can find out more about Teach Yourself Stoicism via this link. Teach Yourself Stoicism on Google Books. Great chapter on the stoic thoughts on death. Did any of the stoics write a legacy letter or self obituary to practice negative visualization? Think about it! Ernest Becker thought that culture and religion gives us the feeling that we are on a team with […]. Your email address will not be published.
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of new posts by email. Close Menu About. Media Coverage. How to Think Like a Roman Emperor. The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. Build Your Resilience. Stoicism and the Art of Happiness. The Discovery of Hypnosis. The Practice of Cognitive-Behavioural Hypnotherapy. Blog Post Archive. A Guide to Stoic Exercises. Epictetus Email Course. Meditations Email Course. Seneca, Consolation to Marcia , 19 Forget all else, Lucilius, and concentrate your thoughts on this one thing: not to fear the name of death. Strongly disagree, 2. Disagree, 3. Neither agree nor disagree, 4. Agree, 5. Letters , 26 This fundamental theme runs through the whole of Stoicism.
Key idea: Life and death are indifferent The Stoics did not generally believe in the immortality of the soul, which they saw as a subtle physical substance, composed of air or fire, extending through the body like the tentacles of an octopus. Remember this: your death is certain As we saw earlier, Epictetus described a three-stage procedure, forming part of the discipline of desire Discourses , 3. The door stands open. Why grieve? Key idea: Remembering death is certain memento mori Contemplating your own death and learning to adopt a courageous philosophical attitude toward it is undoubtedly one of the most fundamental exercises in Stoic practice.
What might you do, in their place, if you were acting with wisdom and courage? What would you do if sentenced to drink hemlock, for example, like Socrates? Would you handle things in the same way or differently? If in the Republic it is the main function of the political leadership of philosopher-rulers to make the civil strife cease, in the Laws this mediating function is taken over by laws. The best political order for Plato is that which promotes social peace in the environment of cooperation and friendship among different social groups, each benefiting from and each adding to the common good. The best form of government, which he advances in the Republic , is a philosophical aristocracy or monarchy, but that which he proposes in his last dialogue the Laws is a traditional polity: the mixed or composite constitution that reconciles different partisan interests and includes aristocratic, oligarchic, and democratic elements.
The distinct features of democracy are freedom and equality. Democracy can be described as the rule of the free people who govern themselves, either directly or though their representatives, in their own interest. Why does Plato not consider democracy the best form of government? In the Republic he criticizes the direct and unchecked democracy of his time precisely because of its leading features aa.
Firstly, although freedom is for Plato a true value, democracy involves the danger of excessive freedom, of doing as one likes, which leads to anarchy. Secondly, equality, related to the belief that everyone has the right and equal capacity to rule, brings to politics all kinds of power-seeking individuals, motivated by personal gain rather than public good. Democracy is thus highly corruptible. It opens gates to demagogues, potential dictators, and can thus lead to tyranny. Democracy depends on chance and must be mixed with competent leadership b. Without able and virtuous leaders, such as Solon or Pericles, who come and go by chance, it is not a good form of government.
If ruling a state is a craft, indeed statecraft, Plato argues, then politics needs expert rulers, and they cannot come to it merely by accident, but must be carefully selected and prepared in the course of extensive training. Making political decisions requires good judgment. Who then should the experts be and why? Why does Plato in the Republic decide to hand the steering wheel of the state to philosophers? In spite of the idealism with which he is usually associated, Plato is not politically naive. He does not idealize, but is deeply pessimistic about human beings.
Most people, corrupted as they are, are for him fundamentally irrational, driven by their appetites, egoistic passions, and informed by false beliefs. If they choose to be just and obey laws, it is only because they lack the power to act criminally and are afraid of punishment Republic , a. Nevertheless, human beings are not vicious by nature. They are social animals, incapable of living alone a-b. Living in communities and exchanging products of their labor is natural for them, so that they have capacities for rationality and goodness. Plato, as later Rousseau, believes that once political society is properly ordered, it can contribute to the restoration of morals. Hence, there are in Plato such elements of the idealistic or liberal world view as the belief in education and progress, and a hope for a better future.
The quality of human life can be improved if people learn to be rational and understand that their real interests lie in harmonious cooperation with one another, and not in war or partisan strife. However, unlike Rousseau, Plato does not see the best social and political order in a democratic republic. Opinions overcome truth in everyday life. If philosophers are those who can distinguish between true and false beliefs, who love knowledge and are motivated by the common good, and finally if they are not only master-theoreticians, but also the master-practitioners who can heal the ills of their society, then they, and not democratically elected representatives, must be chosen as leaders and educators of the political community and guide it to proper ends.
They are required to counteract the destabilizing effects of false beliefs on society. Are philosophers incorruptible? In the ideal city there are provisions to minimize possible corruption, even among the good-loving philosophers. They can neither enjoy private property nor family life. Although they are the rulers, they receive only a modest remuneration from the state, dine in common dining halls, and have wives and children in common. These provisions are necessary, Plato believes, because if the philosopher-rulers were to acquire private land, luxurious homes, and money themselves, they would soon become hostile masters of other citizens rather than their leaders and allies a-b.
The ideal city becomes a bad one, described as timocracy , precisely when the philosophers neglect music and physical exercise, and begin to gather wealth b. Initially chosen from among the brightest, most stable, and most courageous children, they go through a sophisticated and prolonged educational training which begins with gymnastics, music and mathematics, and ends with dialectic, military service and practical city management.
They have superior theoretical knowledge, including the knowledge of the just, noble, good and advantageous, but are not inferior to others in practical matters as well d, e. Being in the final stage of their education illuminated by the idea of the good, they are those who can see beyond changing empirical phenomena and reflect on such timeless values as justice, beauty, truth, and moderation b, b. Goodness is not merely a theoretical idea for them, but the ultimate state of their mind. If the life of the philosopher-rulers is not of private property, family or wealth, nor even of honor, and if the intellectual life itself seems so attractive, why should they then agree to rule?
Philosophical life, based on contemplative leisure and the pleasure of learning, is indeed better and happier than that of ruling the state d. Plato assumes that a city in which the rulers do not govern out of desire for private gain, but are least motivated by personal ambition, is governed in the way which is the finest and freest from civil strife d. Philosophers will rule not only because they will be best prepared for this, but also because if they do not, the city will no longer be well governed and may fall prey to economic decline, factionalism, and civil war. They will approach ruling not as something really enjoyable, but as something necessary c-d.
Objections against the government of philosopher-rulers can be made. Firstly, because of the restrictions concerning family and private property, Plato is often accused of totalitarianism. Especially in the Laws he makes clear that freedom is one of the main values of society d. Other values for which Plato stands include justice, friendship, wisdom, courage, and moderation, and not factionalism or terror that can be associated with a totalitarian state. The restrictions which he proposes are placed on the governors, rather than on the governed. Secondly, one can argue that there may obviously be a danger in the self-professed claim to rule of the philosophers.
Individuals may imagine themselves to be best qualified to govern a country, but in fact they may lose contact with political realities and not be good leaders at all. If philosopher-rulers did not have real knowledge of their city, they would be deprived of the essential credential that is required to make their rule legitimate, namely, that they alone know how best to govern. As in a few other places in the dialogue, Plato throws his political innovation open to doubt. Their political authority is not only rational but also substantially moral, based on the consent of the governed. They regard justice as the most important and most essential thing e. A political order based on fairness leads to friendship and cooperation among different parts of the city.
For Plato, as for Solon, government exists for the benefit of all citizens and all social classes, and must mediate between potentially conflicting interests. Such a mediating force is exercised in the ideal city of the Republic by the philosopher-rulers. It is not the case that Plato knew that his justice meant equality but really made inequality, as Karl Popper one of his major critics believed. In the ideal city all persons and social groups are given equal opportunities to be happy, that is, to pursue happiness, but not at the expense of others. Their particular individual, group or class happiness is limited by the need of the happiness for all.
The happiness of the whole city is not for Plato the happiness of an abstract unity called the polis, or the happiness of the greatest number, but rather the happiness of all citizens derived from a peaceful, harmonious, and cooperative union of different social classes. The philosopher-rulers enjoy respect and contemplative leisure, but not wealth or honors; the guardian class, the second class in the city, military honors, but not leisure or wealth; and the producer class, family life, wealth, and freedom of enterprise, but not honors or rule.
Then, the producers supply the city with goods; the guardians, defend it; and the philosophers, attuned to virtue and illuminated by goodness, rule it impartially for the common benefit of all citizens. The three different social classes engage in mutually beneficial enterprise, by which the interests of all are best served. Social and economic differences, i. In the Platonic vision of the Republic , all social classes get to perform what they are best fit to do and are unified into a single community by mutual interests. In this sense, although each are different, they are all friends. In the Laws a similar statement is made again c , and it is interpreted as the right of the strong, the winner in a political battle a. The answer to the question of what is right and what is wrong can entirely determine our way of life, as individuals and communities.
They, the wise and virtuous, free from faction and guided by the idea of the common good, should rule for the common benefit of the whole community, so that the city will not be internally divided by strife, but one in friendship Republic , a-b. Then, in the Laws , the reign of the best individuals is replaced by the reign of the finest laws instituted by a judicious legislator c-d. The skeptic may believe that every adult is capable of exercising the power of self-direction, and should be given the opportunity to do so. He will be prepared to pay the costs of eventual mistakes and to endure an occasional civil unrest or even a limited war rather than be directed by anyone who may claim superior wisdom. In the short dialogue Alcibiades I , little studied today and thought by some scholars as not genuine, though held in great esteem by the Platonists of antiquity, Socrates speaks with Alcibiades.
The subject of their conversation is politics. Frequently referred to by Thucydides in the History of the Peloponnesian War , Alcibiades, the future leader of Athens, highly intelligent and ambitious, largely responsible for the Athenian invasion of Sicily, is at the time of conversation barely twenty years old. The young, handsome, and well-born Alcibiades of the dialogue is about to begin his political career and to address the Assembly for the first time a-b. He plans to advise the Athenians on the subject of peace and war, or some other important affair d. His ambitions are indeed extraordinary. He does not want just to display his worth before the people of Athens and become their leader, but to rule over Europe and Asia as well c.
His dreams resemble that of the future Alexander the Great. His claim to rule is that he is the best. His world-view is based on unexamined opinions. He appears to be the worst type of ignorant person who pretends that he knows something but does not. Such ignorance in politics is the cause of mistakes and evils a. What is implied in the dialogue is that noble birth, beautiful looks, and even intelligence and power, without knowledge, do not give the title to rule. Ignorance, the condition of Alcibiades, is also the condition of the great majority of the people b-c. Nevertheless, Socrates promises to guide Alcibiades, so that he becomes excellent and renowned among the Greeks b-c. He or she is perfect in virtue. The best government can be founded only on beautiful and well-ordered souls.
In a few dialogues, such as Phaedo , the Republic , Phaedrus , Timaeus , and the Laws , Plato introduces his doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Expert political knowledge for him should include not only knowledge of things out there, but also knowledge of oneself. This is because whoever is ignorant of himself will also be ignorant of others and of political things, and, therefore, will never be an expert politician e. Those who are ignorant will go wrong, moving from one misery to another a. For them history will be a tough teacher, but as long they do not recognize themselves and practice virtue, they will learn nothing. It is also impossible without an ongoing philosophical reflection on whom we truly are.
Therefore, democracy would not be a good form of government for him unless, as it is proposed in the Laws , the element of freedom is mixed with the element of wisdom, which includes ultimate knowledge of the self. Unmixed and unchecked democracy, marked by the general permissiveness that spurs vices, makes people impious, and lets them forget about their true self, is only be the second worst in the rank of flawed regimes after tyranny headed by a vicious individual. This does not mean that Plato would support a theocratic government based on shallow religiosity and religious hypocrisy. There is no evidence for this. Freedom of speech, forming opinions and expressing them, which may be denied in theocracy, is a true value for Plato, along with wisdom. It is the basic requirement for philosophy.
In shallow religiosity, like in atheism , there is ignorance and no knowledge of the self either. In Book II of the Republic , Plato criticizes the popular religious beliefs of the Athenians, who under the influence of Homer and Hesiod attribute vices to the gods and heroes dc. He tries to show that God is the perfect being, the purest and brightest, always the same, immortal and true, to whom we should look in order to know ourselves and become pure and virtuous b-e. God, and not human beings, is the measure of political order Laws , c.
The three other virtues describe qualities of different social groups. Wisdom, which can be understood as the knowledge of the whole, including both knowledge of the self and political prudence, is the quality of the leadership ea. Courage is not merely military courage but primarily civic courage: the ability to preserve the right, law-inspired belief, and stand in defense of such values as friendship and freedom on which a good society is founded.
It is the primary quality of the guardians b. Finally, moderation, a sense of the limits that bring peace and happiness to all, is the quality of all social classes. It expresses the mutual consent of both the governed and the rulers as to who should rule da. The four virtues of the good society describe also the soul of a well-ordered individual. Its rational part, whose quality is wisdom, nurtured by fine words and learning, should together with the emotional or spirited part, cultivated by music and rhythm, rule over the volitional or appetitive part a.
Under the leadership of the intellect, the soul must free itself from greed, lust, and other degrading vices, and direct itself to the divine. The liberation of the soul from vice is for Plato the ultimate task of humans on earth. Nobody can be wicked and happy a-c. Only a spiritually liberated individual, whose soul is beautiful and well ordered, can experience true happiness. Only a country ordered according to the principles of virtue can claim to have the best system of government.
Liberal democracies are not only founded on considerations of freedom and equality, but also include other elements, such as the rule of law, multiparty systems, periodic elections, and a professional civil service. He believes that virtue is the lifeblood of any good society. They were losing their virtuous souls, their virtue by which they could prove themselves to be worthy of preservation as a great nation. Racked by the selfish passions of greed and envy, they forfeited their conception of the right order. Their benevolence, the desire to do good, ceased. Humans without souls are hollow.
Cities without virtue are rotten. To those who cannot see clearly they may look glorious but what appears bright is only exterior. To see clearly what is visible, the political world out there, Plato argues, one has first to perceive what is invisible but intelligible, the soul. One has to know oneself. Humans are immortal souls, he claims, and not just independent variables. They are often egoistic, but the divine element in them makes them more than mere animals. Friendship, freedom, justice, wisdom, courage, and moderation are the key values that define a good society based on virtue, which must be guarded against vice, war, and factionalism. To enjoy true happiness, humans must remain virtuous and remember God, the perfect being. The doctrine of the harmony of interests, fairness as the basis of the best political order, the mixed constitution, the rule of law, the distinction between good and deviated forms of government, practical wisdom as the quality of good leadership, and the importance of virtue and transcendence for politics are the political ideas that can rightly be associated with Plato.
They have profoundly influenced subsequent political thinkers. As in most other Platonic dialogues the main character is Socrates. In the Republic however, we encounter Socrates developing a position on justice and its relation to e udaimonia happiness. He provides a long and complicated, but unified argument, in defense of the just life and its necessary connection to the happy life. The dialogue explores two central questions. In order to address these two questions, Socrates and his interlocutors construct a just city in speech, the Kallipolis.
They do this in order to explain what justice is and then they proceed to illustrate justice by analogy in the human soul. On the way to defending the just life, Socrates considers a tremendous variety of subjects such as several rival theories of justice, competing views of human happiness, education, the nature and importance of philosophy and philosophers, knowledge, the structure of reality, the Forms, the virtues and vices, good and bad souls, good and bad political regimes, the family, the role of women in society, the role of art in society, and even the afterlife.
This wide scope of the dialogue presents various interpretative difficulties and has resulted in thousands of scholarly works. Socrates and Glaucon visit the Piraeus to attend a festival in honor of the Thracian goddess Bendis a. Socrates speaks to Cephalus about old age, the benefits of being wealthy, and justice ed. One would not claim that it is just to return weapons one owes to a mad friend c , thus justice is not being truthful and returning what one owes as Cephalus claims.
The discussion between Socrates and Polemarchus follows db. So in what context is this the case? Thus, we may treat those whom we only think are our friends or enemies well or badly. Would this be justice? Discussion between Socrates and Thrasymachus follows bc. Thrasymachus defines justice as the advantage or what is beneficial to the stronger c. Justice is different under different political regimes according to the laws, which are made to serve the interests of the strong the ruling class in each regime, ea. Socrates requires clarification of the definition: does it mean that justice is what the stronger think is beneficial to them or what is actually beneficial to them b?
Thrasymachus points out that the stronger are really only those who do not make mistakes as to what is to their advantage d. Socrates responds with a discussion of art or craft and points out that its aim is to do what is good for its subjects, not what is good for the practitioner c. Thrasymachus suggests that some arts, such as that of shepherds, do not do this but rather aim at the advantage of the practitioner c. He also adds the claim that injustice is in every way better than justice and that the unjust person who commits injustice undetected is always happier than the just person ec.
The paradigm of the happy unjust person is the tyrant who is able to satisfy all his desires a-b. Socrates claims that the best rulers are reluctant to rule but do so out of necessity: they do not wish to be ruled by someone inferior a-c. Socrates is dissatisfied with the discussion since an adequate account of justice is necessary before they can address whether the just life is better than the unjust life b. Glaucon is not persuaded by the arguments in the previous discussion a. He divides good things into three classes: things good in themselves, things good both in themselves and for their consequences, and things good only for their consequences b-d.
Socrates places justice in the class of things good in themselves and for their consequences. Socrates is asked to defend justice for itself, not for the reputation it allows for b. He proposes to look for justice in the city first and then to proceed by analogy to find justice in the individual ca. This approach will allow for a clearer judgment on the question of whether the just person is happier than the unjust person. Socrates begins by discussing the origins of political life and constructs a just city in speech that satisfies only basic human necessities bc.
Socrates argues that humans enter political life since each is not self-sufficient by nature. Each human has certain natural abilities a and doing only the single job one is naturally suited for, is the most efficient way to satisfy the needs of all the citizens c. Socrates points out that the luxurious city will require an army to guard the city e. The army will be composed of professional soldiers, the guardians, who, like dogs, must be gentle to fellow citizens and harsh to enemies c. Poetry and stories need to be censored to guarantee such an education b. Poetry should: i present the gods as good and only as causes of good a ; ii as unchanging in form d ; iii as beings who refrain from lies and deception e.
Socrates moves on to discuss the manner in which stories should be told d. He divides such manners into simple narration in third person and imitative narration in first person, d. To keep the guardians doing only their job, Socrates argues that the guardians may imitate only what is appropriate for this ed. The just city should allow only modes and rhythms that fit the content of poetry allowed in the just city bc. Socrates explains how good art can lead to the formation of good character and make people more likely to follow their reason ec.
Socrates turns to the physical education of the guardians and says that it should include physical training that prepares them for war, a careful diet, and habits that contribute to the avoidance of doctors cb. Physical education should be geared to benefit the soul rather than the body, since the body necessarily benefits when the soul is in a good condition, whereas the soul does not necessarily benefit when the body is in a good condition b-c. Socrates begins to describe how the rulers of the just city are to be selected from the class of the guardians: they need to be older, strong, wise, and wholly unwilling to do anything other than what is advantageous to the city bb.
Socrates suggests that they need to tell the citizens a myth that should be believed by subsequent generations in order for everyone to accept his position in the city bd. The myth of metals portrays each human as having a precious metal in them: those naturally suited to be rulers have gold, those suited to be guardians have silver, and those suited for farming and the other crafts have bronze. Socrates proceeds to discuss the living and housing conditions of the guardians: they will not have private property, they will have little privacy, they will receive what they need from the city via taxation of the other classes, and they will live communally and have common messes ee.
Adeimantus complains that the guardians in the just city will not be very happy a. Socrates points out that the aim is to make the whole city, and not any particular class, as happy as possible b. Socrates discusses several other measures for the city as a whole in order to accomplish this. There should be neither too much wealth nor too much poverty in the city since these cause social strife da.
The just city should be only as large in size as would permit it to be unified and stable b. He suggests that they should only allow very limited ways by which innovations may be introduced to education or change in the laws be. The just city will follow traditional Greek religious customs b. With the founding of the just city completed, Socrates proceeds to discuss justice d. He claims that the city they have founded is completely good and virtuous and thus it is wise, courageous, moderate, and just e. Justice will be what remains once they find the other three virtues in it, namely wisdom, courage, and moderation a. The wisdom of the just city is found in its rulers and it is the type of knowledge that allows them to rule the city well b-d.
The courage of the just city is found in its military and it is correct and lawful belief about what to fear and what not to fear ab. Socrates then proceeds to find the corresponding four virtues in the individual d. Socrates defends the analogy of the city and the individual a-b and proceeds to distinguish three analogous parts in the soul with their natural functions b. By using instances of psychological conflict, he distinguishes the function of the rational part from that of the appetitive part of the soul a. Then he distinguishes the function of the spirited part from the functions of the two other parts ee. The function of the rational part is thinking, that of the spirited part the experience of emotions, and that of the appetitive part the pursuit of bodily desires.
Socrates points out that one is just when each of the three parts of the soul performs its function d. Socrates is now ready to answer the question of whether justice is more profitable than injustice that goes unpunished ea. To do so he will need to examine the various unjust political regimes and the corresponding unjust individuals in each c-e. Socrates is about to embark on a discussion of the unjust political regimes and the corresponding unjust individuals when he is interrupted by Adeimantus and Polemarchus a-b.
They insist that he needs to address the comment he made earlier that the guardians will possess the women and the children of the city in common b-d. Socrates reluctantly agrees ab and begins with the suggestion that the guardian women should perform the same job as the male guardians c-d. Some may follow convention and object that women should be given different jobs because they differ from men by nature a-c. Socrates responds by indicating that the natural differences between men and women are not relevant when it comes to the jobs of protecting and ruling the city. Both sexes are naturally suited for these tasks d-e. Socrates goes on to argue that the measure of allowing the women to perform the same tasks as the men in this way is not only feasible but also best.
This is the case since the most suited people for the job will be performing it c. Socrates also proposes that there should be no separate families among the members of the guardian class: the guardians will possess all the women and children in common c-d. Socrates proceeds to discuss how this measure is for the best and Glaucon allows him to skip discussing its feasibility a-c. The best guardian men are to have sex with the best guardian women to produce offspring of a similar nature dd. Socrates describes the system of eugenics in more detail.
In order to guarantee that the best guardian men have sex with the best guardian women, the city will have marriage festivals supported by a rigged lottery system ea. The best guardian men will also be allowed to have sex with as many women as they desire in order to increase the likelihood of giving birth to children with similar natures a-b. Once born, the children will be taken away to a rearing pen to be taken care of by nurses and the parents will not be allowed to know who their own children are c-d.
This is so that the parents think of all the children as their own. Socrates recognizes that this system will result in members of the same family having intercourse with each other c-e. Socrates proceeds to argue that these arrangements will ensure that unity spreads throughout the city ad. Thereafter, Socrates discusses how the guardians will conduct war e. Glaucon interrupts him and demands an account explaining how such a just city can come into being c-e. Socrates admits that this is the most difficult criticism to address a. Then he explains that the theoretical model of the just city they constructed remains valid for discussing justice and injustice even if they cannot prove that such a city can come to exist bb. Socrates claims that the model of the just city cannot come into being until philosophers rule as kings or kings become philosophers c-d.
He also points out that this is the only possible route by which to reach complete happiness in both public and private life e. Socrates indicates that they to, discuss philosophy and philosophers to justify these claims b-c. Philosophers love and pursue all of wisdom b-c and they especially love the sight of truth e. Philosophers are the only ones who recognize and find pleasure in what is behind the multiplicity of appearances, namely the single Form a-b.
Socrates distinguishes between those who know the single Forms that are and those who have opinions d. Those who have opinions do not know, since opinions have becoming and changing appearances as their object, whereas knowledge implies that the objects thereof are stable ee. Socrates goes on to explain why philosophers should rule the city. They should do so since they are better able to know the truth and since they have the relevant practical knowledge by which to rule. Adeimantus objects that actual philosophers are either useless or bad people a-d. Socrates responds with the analogy of the ship of state to show that philosophers are falsely blamed for their uselessness ea. Like a doctor who does not beg patients to heal them, the philosopher should not plead with people to rule them b-c.
Thus, someone can only be a philosopher in the true sense if he receives the proper kind of education. After a discussion of the sophists as bad teachers ac , Socrates warns against various people who falsely claim to be philosophers b-c. Since current political regimes lead to either the corruption or the destruction of the philosopher, he should avoid politics and lead a quiet private life c-d. Socrates then addresses the question of how philosophy can come to play an important role in existing cities e. Those with philosophical natures need to practice philosophy all their lives, especially when they are older a-c. The only way to make sure that philosophy is properly appreciated and does not meet hostility is to wipe an existing city clean and begin it anew a.
Socrates concludes that the just city and the measures proposed are both for the best and not impossible to bring about c. Socrates proceeds to discuss the education of philosopher kings c-d. The most important thing philosophers should study is the Form of the Good a. Socrates considers several candidates for what the Good is, such as pleasure and knowledge and he rejects them b-d. He points out that we choose everything with a view to the good e. Socrates attempts to explain what the Form of the Good is through the analogy of the sun cd. As the sun illuminates objects so the eye can see them, the Form of the Good renders the objects of knowledge knowable to the human soul.
As the sun provides things with their ability to be, to grow, and with nourishment, the Form of the Good provides the objects of knowledge with their being even though it itself is higher than being b. Socrates offers the analogy of the divided line to explain the Form of the Good even further dd. He divides a line into two unequal sections once and then into two unequal sections again. The lowest two parts represent the visible realm and the top two parts the intelligible realm. Corresponding to each of these, there is a capacity of the human soul: imagination, belief, thought, and understanding. The line also represents degrees of clarity and opacity as the lowest sections are more opaque and the higher sections clearer.
Socrates continues his discussion of the philosopher and the Forms with a third analogy, the analogy of the cave ac. True education is the turning around of the soul from shadows and visible objects to true understanding of the Forms c-d. Philosophers who accomplish this understanding will be reluctant to do anything other than contemplate the Forms but they must be forced to return to the cave the city and rule it. Those who eventually become philosopher kings will initially be educated like the other guardians in poetry, music, and physical education d-e.
Then they will receive education in mathematics: arithmetic and number c , plane geometry c , and solid geometry b. Following these, they will study astronomy e , and harmonics d.