Plato’s Republic [TTC Audio] by


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David Roochnik, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy, Boston University David Roochnik did his undergraduate work at Trinity College (Hartford, Connecticut), where he majored in philosophy. He received his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in 1981. From 1982 to 1995, Professor Roochnik taught at Iowa State University. In 1995, he moved to Boston University, where he teaches in both the Department of Philosophy and the “core curriculum,” an undergraduate program in the humanities. In 1999, he won the Metcalf Prize, awarded for excellence in teaching at Boston University. Professor Roochnik has written three books on Plato: The Tragedy of Reason: Toward a Platonic Conception of Logos (Routledge, 1991), Of Art and Wisdom: Plato’s Understanding of Technê (Penn State Press, 1996), and Beautiful City: The Dialectical Character of Plato’s “Republic” (Cornell University Press, 2003). In addition, he has published Retrieving the Ancients: An Introduction to Greek Philosophy (Blackwell, 2004). In 2002, he produced An Introduction to Greek Philosophy for The Teaching Company. He is presently working on a book on Aristotle. Professor Roochnik is married to Gina Crandell, a professor of landscape architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. He is the father of Lena Crandell, a freshman at Vassar College, and Shana Crandell, a sophomore at Brookline High School. ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership i Table of Contents Plato’s Republic Part I Professor Biography ........................................................................................... i Course Scope ...................................................................................................... 1 Lecture One Plato’s Life and Times .............................................. 3 Lecture Two Book I—The Title and the Setting............................ 7 Lecture Three Lecture Four Book ISocrates versus Thrasymachus................. 10 Book II—The City-Soul Analogy........................... 13 Lecture Five Lecture Six Books II and IIICensorship................................. 17 Book III—The Noble Lie........................................ 20 Lecture Seven Book IIISocrates’s Medical Ethics ..................... 23 Lecture Eight Lecture Nine Lecture Ten Lecture Eleven Book IVJustice in the City and Soul................... 25 Book V—Feminism ................................................ 28 Book V—Who Is the Philosopher? ........................ 31 Book VI—The Ship of State................................... 34 Lecture Twelve Book VIThe Idea of the Good ............................ 37 Timeline ............................................................................................................ 40 Glossary ............................................................................................................ 42 Biographical Notes........................................................................................... 44 Bibliography ..................................................................................................... 46 ii ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership Plato’s Republic Scope: In this course, we will explore Plato’s Republic (written in approximately 380 B.C.E.), which is the first, and arguably the most influential, work in the history of Western political philosophy. In it, Socrates, the hero of Plato’s dialogue, addresses such fundamental questions as: What is justice? What is the role of education in politics? Is censorship of music and literature ever justifiable? What sort of person should rule the state? Is it ever permissible for a ruler to lie to the citizens? Should citizens be allowed full freedom when it comes to sexual relationships and private property? Are all citizens equal before the law? Should women be given the same political opportunities as men? Should everyone have equal access to health care? Socrates’s answers to these and other questions will occasionally be shocking to modern ears, but they will always be thoughtprovoking. The Republic consists of 10 “books” (or chapters), and it is divided into 4 parts. Book I is a prologue that introduces the cast of characters, of whom Socrates is far and away the most important. It also raises the issues that will be taken up in the remainder of the dialogue, the two most important of which are: What is justice, and why should anyone prefer being just rather being unjust? To answer these questions, Socrates suggests that he and his conversation partners construct a hypothetical “city in speech,” an ideal city that they agree is just. (The Greek word for “city” is polis, which is the root of the word political. The polis was the basic political community in ancient Greece. For us, it is the “state.”) Because a city is a large structure, this perfectly just city, even if it exists only in thought, will allow the nature of justice itself to become an object of study. The second part of the Republic, which is found in Books II−IV, is thus, devoted to the “construction” of an ideal political regime. The regime Socrates constructs is a tightly controlled one, in which cultural activity is strictly regulated, poetry is censored, physical education is emphasized, a rigid class system is enforced, and the private family is eliminated. Needless to say, these proposals will cause readers to object. Readers will find, however, that even if they disagree with what Socrates recommends, developing arguments against his proposals is a most valuable exercise. They will be forced to think through basic assumptions concerning politics in this course. For example, almost all of us believe that political freedom is a good thing and that all citizens should be counted as equal before the law. But why? Plato will encourage us to defend our most cherished beliefs. Unlike in a democracy, where rulers are elected on the basis of their popular appeal, in Socrates’s regime, the only criterion for ruling is being extremely intelligent and knowledgeable, or as he puts it, being “wise.” Because of this, the Republic takes a gigantic detour. In order to understand what it means to be a ruler, one must understand what wisdom is. For this reason, the third part of ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership 1 the Republic, Books V–VII, turns away from overtly political questions and concentrates instead on the nature of “philosophy” (which literally means “the love of wisdom”). In this part of the dialogue, Socrates offers some of his most profound and concentrated reflections on philosophical issues. We learn, for example, about the relationship between particulars (such as the beautiful painting that is hanging on the wall) and universals (Beauty itself). We learn about the relationship between the words of our language and the things in the world that these words name. Socrates discusses the nature of mathematics and the difference between images (such as a photograph) and “originals” (the object the photograph is of). He also addresses the single most important principle in all of Plato’s philosophy, what he calls “the Idea of the Good,” the supreme principle of all reality. In reading Books V−VII of the Republic, students will be exposed to the heart of Platonism. As a consequence, in this course, they will receive an introduction not only to political philosophy but to philosophy in general. The last part of the Republic, Books VIII–X, takes us back to a discussion of politics. Socrates examines those political regimes that are inferior to the ideal. These include the timocracy, a rule by those few men who have achieved honor in battle; oligarchy, rule by the wealthy few; democracy, rule by the people; and tyranny, which is the worst of all possible regimes. This section of the dialogue is rich with insightful observations about “the real world.” For example, in discussing oligarchy, we will learn a great deal about the role money plays in people’s lives. When Socrates addresses “rule by the people,” he will offer some of the sharpest, and most controversial, criticisms of democracy ever written. And when he discusses the tyrant, he will teach us much about the corrupting influence of power. Throughout the course, we will discuss how reading the Republic can generate a discussion of the most pressing contemporary issues. We will, for example, discuss Plato’s “medical ethics” and see how they might apply in today’s world. We will also discuss how penetrating was his analysis of tyranny, for we will compare what Socrates says about the tyrant to Saddam Hussein. Reading the 10 books of Plato’s Republic is like taking a journey. We will move from book to book, from idea to idea, and in doing so, we will touch upon some of the most basic questions that human beings can ask about themselves and the political communities in which they live. This is a comprehensive, a truly great book, and in this course, we will try to study it with the care it deserves. 2 ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership Lecture One Plato’s Life and Times Scope: After beginning with a brief overview of this course, we turn to a discussion of Plato’s life and times. He was born into a wealthy and distinguished family in Athens in 429 B.C.E. and died in 347. (All subsequent dates mentioned in this course are B.C.E.) His was a time of tremendous political upheaval. During his youth, Athens was mired in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta, which lasted from 431 to 404. It finally lost this war, and in the process, its century-long commitment to democracy was threatened by the “Tyranny of the Thirty” in 404. It was also a time of great cultural activity. Sophocles and Euripides were producing their tragedies, Aristophanes was writing his comedies, the Parthenon had recently been completed, and there were great developments in mathematics and science, as well as philosophy. The greatest influence on Plato, however, was Socrates, who lived from 469 until 399, when he was executed by the city of Athens on the grounds of corrupting the youth. In 385, Plato founded his own school of philosophy in Athens, which was called the Academy, and he probably wrote the Republic there somewhere around 380. Outline I. We begin with an overview of this course, Plato’s ‘Republic’. A. Written in approximately 380, the Republic is arguably the most influential book in the history of Western political philosophy. B. Plato addresses such fundamental questions as: 1. What is justice? 2. What is the role of education in politics? 3. Is censorship of music and literature ever justifiable? 4. What sort of person should rule the state? 5. Is it ever permissible for a ruler to lie to the citizens? 6. Should citizens be allowed full freedom when it comes to sexual relationships and private property? 7. Are all citizens equal before the law? 8. Should women have equal rights as men? 9. Should everyone have equal access to health care? C. Our pedagogical strategy will be simple: to read the entire dialogue as carefully as we can. We will continually show how Plato raises issues that are still alive today and how he influenced other philosophers. D. The Republic has 10 “books,” or chapters, which can be organized into 4 distinct sections. ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership 3 1. Book I is a “prologue” that introduces the two central questions of the whole dialogue: What is justice, and why should someone prefer being just to being unjust? 2. Books II–IV contain a “construction” of an ideal, a perfectly just, city. 3. Books V–VII go into great detail concerning Plato’s conception of philosophy. 4. Books VIII–X return us to the theme of politics and contain a criticism of various “real-world” regimes. E. We will conclude the course with a brief look at the influence of the Republic on the subsequent history of political philosophy. F. The translation of the Republic we will use is that by Allan Bloom. The term Stephanus page number and how it will be used in the outline below will be explained. II. We begin with an introduction to Plato’s life and times. A. He was born in 429 B.C.E. to a distinguished family. B. A brief overview of 5th-century Athenian history provides the background to Plato’s Republic. 1. The Pisistratid tyranny in Athens was overthrown in 507. Athenian democracy was born. 2. The Greeks defeated the invading Persian Empire at Salamis and Platea in 480−479. 3. Pericles ascended to power in Athens in 469. During the Periclean age, Athens became a great military and economic empire. 4. There was also astonishing cultural development. The Parthenon was built; Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides wrote many of their tragedies; Aristophanes wrote his comedies; Herodotus “invented” history; and there were important developments in mathematics and the natural sciences. 5. The Peloponnesian War was waged from 431−404. Athens was defeated. 6. Athenian democracy collapsed in 404, and the “Tyranny of the Thirty” was established. Democracy was restored in 403. 7. Socrates, who was Plato’s philosophical inspiration, was executed on the grounds of impiety and corrupting the youth in 399. Because he was associated with some members of the Tyranny of the Thirty, he was, apparently, caught in the backlash against them. 8. Plato wrote the Republic after a period of extraordinary political turmoil. His work is charged with a sense of “real-world” urgency. 9. Plato took the first of three trips to Sicily in 388. He became involved with Dionysius I, the ruler of Sicily, and his son Dionysius II, in whom Plato invested great (but unfulfilled) hopes. 4 ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership 10. Plato founded his school, known as the Academy, in 386. III. There were several 5th-century influences on Plato. A. The literary tradition influenced him. 1. Homer and Hesiod wrote around 750−700. 2. The tragedians Aeschylus (525−456), Sophocles (496−406), and Euripides (485−406) were important in Athenian cultural life. 3. The comic poet Aristophanes lived from 450 to 385. B. Pre-Socratic philosophy refers to the ideas of those philosophers who lived before or during the life of Socrates (469−399). 1. Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes were among the first philosophers. They were from Miletus and wrote during the 6th century. 2. Heraclitus lived from (approximately) 540 to 480. 3. Parmenides lived from (approximately) 515 to 440. 4. Pythagoras lived from (approximately) 570 to 495. 5. Anaxagoras (500−428), Empedocles (493−433), and Democritus (c. 465−400) were influential thinkers of the 5th century. C. The Sophists were itinerant teachers who taught rhetoric. 1. Protagoras (c. 485−400) and Gorgias (c. 483−376) were the first two significant Sophists. 2. Isocrates (436−338) lived during Plato’s lifetime and was his great rival. D. Socrates (469−399) was by far the most important influence on Plato. 1. Socrates concentrated on political and ethical questions. 2. He was famous for his “what is it?” question and his practice of refutation (the elenchus). 3. Socrates wrote nothing. 4. Socrates was a “gadfly”; he irritated the citizens of Athens. 5. He was executed by the city of Athens in 399. E. The relationship between the Socrates who appears in the dialogue of the Republic and the historical figure is difficult to determine. 1. Plato was clearly influenced by Socrates. 2. It is impossible to tell where exactly Plato moved beyond Socrates. 3. In this course, the name Socrates will refer only to the character who appears in Plato’s Republic. The ideas we discuss belong to Plato. 4. Because the Republic is a complex and difficult work of philosophy, some measure of interpretation is required. Students will always be informed when an interpretation offered in this course is controversial. ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership 5 F. The Republic is typically thought to be a work of Plato’s “middle period,” when his theory of Forms—a subject we will discuss at length—was fully developed. Supplementary Reading: Annas, J. An Introduction to Plato’s Republic, pp. 1–15. Howland, J. The Republic: The Odyssey of Philosophy, pp. 3–24. Roochnik, D. Retrieving the Ancients: An Introduction to Greek Philosophy, pp. 11–80. Samons, L. What’s Wrong with Democracy? pp. 19–40. Questions to Consider: 1. What, if anything, have you heard about Plato’s Republic? Try to identify your own preconceptions before you start reading this book. 2. Socrates was a “gadfly,” an irritant. Isn’t philosophy just an academic subject like any other? Why, then, would a philosopher be irritating? 6 ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership Lecture Two Book IThe Title and the Setting Scope: The Republic is set in the Piraeus, the port of Athens, in approximately 410. The Piraeus was a hotbed of democratic resistance during the Tyranny of the Thirty in 404. We meet all the characters of the dialogue in Book I: Socrates, his companions Glaucon and Adeimantus, Cephalus, Polemarchus, and Thrasymachus. Each of these characters has a significant role to play, because each foreshadows themes and raises issues that will become important later in the dialogue. In addition to Socrates, Thrasymachus is the most prominent character of Book I, for he is a Sophist, a relativist, and as such, represents a powerful challenge. We will discuss his position thoroughly. Book I is a “prologue.” As it introduces the reader to the characters of the dialogue, it establishes the basic questions of the Republic: What is justice, and why should someone prefer to be just rather than unjust? Most important, it acquaints us with both the person and the method of the philosopher Socrates. Outline I. The Greek word translated as “republic” is politeia, which could also be translated as “regime.” A. Politeia is derived from the word polis, the root of the English word political, which means “city.” B. Ancient Greece was not a country but a collection of independent “city-states.” II. The setting is the Piraeus, the port of Athens, somewhere around 410. A. The Piraeus was a stronghold of the democratic opposition to the Tyranny of the Thirty. B. The setting already suggests a major issue of the dialogue: Is democracy worth fighting for, even dying for? C. Because it is a seaport, the Piraeus is filled with foreigners. It thus raises a second basic question: Is diversity a desirable quality of a city? III. The opening scene (327a−328d) foreshadows many of the questions that are to come. A. Socrates went down to the Piraeus to attend a religious festival in honor of a new god. ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership 7 B. Polemarchus, the son of the wealthy manufacturer Cephalus, pressures Socrates to stay for dinner. (Polemarchus was killed by the Tyranny of the Thirty.) C. Glaucon, Socrates’s young companion (and Plato’s brother), also pressures Socrates to stay. Adeimantus is also Plato’s brother. D. Several issues are foreshadowed by these encounters. 1. Socrates seems interested in novelty, in new and different things. Is cultural diversity valuable? 2. The role of force is raised as a question because Polemarchus “forces” Socrates to remain in the Piraeus. To what extent is force required in politics? 3. Polemarchus is young and full of energy. How such young people should be treated will be addressed later in the dialogue. 4. Because of Polemarchus, the question is again raised: Is democracy worth dying for? Is any polis worth dying for? IV. The first dialogue is between Socrates and Cephalus (328d−331d). A. Cephalus warmly greets Socrates. B. Socrates responds (rather rudely) by asking him what it is like to be old and near death. He also asks him what is the best thing about being rich. C. Cephalus says he does not mind being old. The erotic madness of youth has passed. D. Cephalus is not afraid of death, because he has always told the truth and paid back his debts. E. From these casual remarks, Socrates extracts a definition of justice from Cephalus. It is, he says, telling “the truth and giving back what a man has taken from another” (331c). F. Socrates then refutes this definition of justice with a counter-example. If you borrowed a knife from a friend and the friend became insane, it would not be just to return the knife to him or to tell him the truth. G. The key question that emerges is: What is justice itself? This will be seen to be a very difficult question to answer. V. The second dialogue is between Socrates and Polemarchus (331d−336a). A. Polemarchus rescues his father from Socrates’s refutation. B. Cephalus leaves (with a smile on his face) to perform some religious rituals: He is not a philosopher. C. Polemarchus proposes that “it is just to give back what is owed,” which he then amends to “give to everyone what is fitting” (332b). Socrates refutes this definition. Essential Reading: 8 ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership Plato’s Republic, Book I. Supplementary Reading: Annas, J. An Introduction to Plato’s Republic, pp. 16–23. Howland, J. The Republic: The Odyssey of Philosophy, pp. 32–38. Mitchell, B., and J. R. Lucas. An Engagement with Plato’s Republic, pp. 1–8. Roochnik, D. Beautiful City: The Dialectical Character of Plato’s Republic, pp. 51–55. Questions to Consider: 1. Polemarchus died in defense of democracy. Do you think democracy is worth dying for? Why or why not? 2. Cephalus claims that to be just, one must tell the truth. Socrates responds that sometimes it is just to lie. With which position do you now sympathize? Why? 3. Thrasymachus is a relativist when it comes to justice. Do you agree or disagree with his notion that “justice is the advantage of the stronger”? Why? ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership 9 Lecture Three Book I—Socrates versus Thrasymachus Scope: The central debate of Book I takes place between Socrates and Thrasymachus, who is a Sophist. Thrasymachus teaches rhetoric, and he is a relativist. His definition of justice is “the advantage of the stronger” (338c), by which he means justice is determined by the ruling body. For example, in a monarchy, what is advantageous to a king would be counted as just. In a democracy, whose name literally means “rule by the people,” what is advantageous to the majority is just. There is no absolute, universal, or objective definition of justice. What is counted as just varies from regime to regime. We will analyze two of Socrates’s arguments against Thrasymachus’s relativism. This is important because relativism is a very popular position today. After being refuted by Socrates, Thrasymachus changes tactics. He argues that injustice is actually preferable to justice. “The just man,” he says, “everywhere has less than the unjust man” (343d) and “injustice…is mightier, freer, and more masterful than justice” (344c). Socrates attempts to refute this position as well. Book I ends with Socrates victorious: Thrasymachus has been vanquished. But the questions at the heart of their dispute—what is justice? why should someone prefer justice over injustice?—remain unanswered. Outline I. Thrasymachus, a Sophist, enters the scene. He defines justice as “the advantage of the stronger” (338c). A. Justice is whatever is advantageous to the ruler. B. In a democracy, justice is whatever is advantageous to the people. C. There is no absolute definition of justice; it is relative to the regime. D. Rhetoric is often defined as the art of persuasion and goes hand in hand with relativism. II. Socrates refutes Thrasymachus (339a–340a). His first argument against the Sophist is the following: A. Thrasymachus believes that it is just to obey all laws. B. He agrees that sometimes rulers make mistakes. C. A mistaken law is one that is not advantageous to the ruler. D. Because Thrasymachus has agreed that it is just to obey all the laws, he is committed to saying that it is sometimes just to obey laws that are disadvantageous to the ruler. 10 ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership E. Thrasymachus has contradicted himself: Justice both is and is not advantageous to the ruler. III. Cleitophon offers his assistance: Justice, he proposes, “is what the stronger believes to be his advantage” (340b). This is a significant revision of Thrasymachus’s position, because it eliminates the possibility of making mistakes. Cleitophon is a radical relativist. IV. Thrasymachus rejects Cleitophon’s suggestion because he thinks the ruler is like a “craftsman” (340e) who has real knowledge. (The Greek word for “craft” is technê, which can also be translated as “art.”) V. Socrates presents a second refutation of Thrasymachus (341c–342e). A. The ruler is like a craftsman. He has a technê, a “craft” or an “art.” B. All craftsmen are directed toward and seek the advantage of the object of their craft. 1. The doctor cares for the sick. 2. The pilot cares for the sailors. 3. Therefore, all craftsmen are “naturally directed toward seeking and providing for the advantage” (341d) of the object of their technê, not themselves! VI. Thrasymachus changes his position: Injustice is superior to justice. It is more powerful than justice. Being unjust is the way to bring advantage to oneself. (See 344c.) A. This a radical challenge to the goodness of justice. B. It raises a fundamental question: Why be just when, if you are unjust, you can benefit yourself? What is the value of justice? VII. Socrates presents a third refutation of Thrasymachus (345e–346e). A. Ruling is like a craft or an art (technê). B. Craftsmen receive wages for their work. C. This implies that their work is not simply for their own advantage; they demand wages in order to be rewarded for their work. No art generates its own advantage. (See 346e.) D. Rulers receive wages. E. Therefore, ruling benefits those who are ruled, not the rulers. VIIII. A general question is raised by Socrates’s refutations of Thrasymachus: Can the Sophist really be defeated by the philosopher? IX. Book I ends with Socrates victorious. Socrates himself admits, however, that he has neither defined justice nor proven that living a life of justice is superior to living unjustly. ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership 11 X. Book II opens with Glaucon saying, “Socrates, do you want to seem to have persuaded us, or truly to persuade us, that it is in every way better to be just than unjust?” (357a). A. Glaucon is the driving force of the dialogue. B. He is courageous (357a), ready to laugh (398c), musical (398e), erotic (474d), and spirited (548d). C. Glaucon is a potential philosopher. (Contrast him with Cephalus.) He is the key character after Socrates. Essential Reading: Plato’s Republic, Book I. Supplementary Reading: Dillon, J. The Greek Sophists, pp. 66–79. Questions to Consider: 1. Review the steps of Socrates’s first refutation of Thrasymachus. Do you think his argument against the Sophist is a good one? 2. Does relativism strike you as a plausible position? If so, explain why. If not, try to explain what your non-relativist position is. 12 ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership Lecture Four Book II—The City-Soul Analogy Scope: Glaucon pressures Socrates to give an account of justice that is better than the one he used to refute Thrasymachus and to explain why one should prefer justice to injustice. In response, Socrates presents what has come to be known as “the city-soul analogy.” The city, he says, is like the individual soul “written large” (368d). It has the same structure as the soul, only on a bigger level. As a result, if a perfectly just city could be constructed “in speech”—that is, as a hypothetical ideal—then the nature of justice would become visible, and because city and soul are isomorphic, its structure could be transferred to the individual. With this, we would learn what justice is and why it is better for a person to be just than to be unjust. From Book II until the end of Book VII, then, Socrates and his partners become “city planners,” constructing a city that will tell them what justice is. In this lecture, we discuss the first city Socrates constructs. It is minimal and does no more than meet basic needs. Socrates seems to find it attractive, but Glaucon rejects it as fit only for pigs. They move on to the second city, which is described as “luxurious.” It is a city that is continually expanding; thus, it needs a military class. This poses a problem, however. The military requires soldiers who are aggressive and welcome a fight, but such people make for potentially disruptive citizens. The next issue Socrates takes up, then, is crucial for the remainder of the dialogue: education. The citizens, especially those aggressive ones well suited for a military career, must be educated to become contributing rather than disruptive members of the regime. Outline I. Glaucon pushes Socrates hard to force him to do a better job of explaining what justice is and why being just is preferable to being unjust. A. Glaucon says that there are three kinds of good things: 1. Some, such as harmless pleasures, are desirable for their own sake. 2. Some are desirable for their consequences. An example is taking an unpleasant medicine. 3. Some are desirable both for their own sake and for their consequences. Socrates gives the examples of “thinking, seeing and being healthy” (357c). B. Into which of these three categories does justice fit? C. Most people think it belongs in the second: those things that are desirable for their consequences. 1. This is a primitive version of the social contract theory. ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership 13 2. From this standpoint, justice is not good in itself; most of us would prefer to be unjust. But we agree to be just to others if they are just to us so that we can live harmoniously. 3. In this view, justice is “in between.” The best state would be to be unjust without getting punished, and the worst state would be to suffer injustice. (See 359a.) 4. Most modern political thinkers, such as Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, held some version of a social contract theory. D. Glaucon challenges Socrates to demonstrate that justice is a good thing that is desirable both for its own sake and for its consequences. II. Glaucon formulates his challenge by telling a story: the ring of Gyges (359d–360d). This is what philosophers call a thought experiment. A. Gyges had a magical ring that made him invisible. He used it to commit unjust deeds, for which he was never punished. B. Why should any of us, if we possessed such a ring, be just rather than unjust? C. Glaucon challenges the notion that virtue—justice in particular—is its own reward. D. Socrates admires his young friend (368a). He seems to like being challenged. III. To meet the challenge, Socrates must define justice and explain why it is superior to injustice. To do this, he proposes the “city-soul” analogy (368c– 369a). A. The city is like the soul “written large.” It has the same structure as the individual, but because it is bigger, it is “easier” to see. 1. The Greek word psuchê is translated as “soul.” 2. It is not synonymous with the English word soul, which connotes an immaterial substance that lives on after the body dies. 3. In general, the Greek psuchê means “life” and refers to that aspect of the human being that is not the body. It is the root of our word psychology. B. If an ideal, a perfectly just, city could be “constructed,” then what justice itself is, and what a just individual is, would be easier to see. C. If justice can be seen, then Thrasymachus’s challenge, that it is better to live an unjust life, could be met. D. The “construction project” begins. Socrates builds a hypothetical city. IV. The original city is the city of minimal needs (369b–372c). A. This city (369d) meets the basic needs of its citizens: food, shelter, clothing, shoes. 14 ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership B. It is organized by a simple scheme: a primitive division of labor. The farmer produces food for the rest of the citizens, the builder makes houses, and so on. C. The guiding principle of the original city is one of efficiency. The farmer does not build houses, nor does the carpenter grow crops. D. This is a peaceful, stable city. There is no competition, no government, no military, no luxuries, no furniture, no meat. V. Glaucon objects. He calls the original city “a city of sows” (372d). A. It meets only the basic needs of its citizens. B. Glaucon wants furniture and “relishes” (372e). C. Socrates characterizes the original city as “true” and “healthy.” He describes Glaucon’s city as “luxurious” and “feverish” (372e). 1. The feverish city has all sorts of things the original city does not, including perfume, incense, courtesans, cakes, and a wide variety of artists. (See 373b.) 2. The feverish city is realistically human. 3. It is the city whose desires expand indefinitely. D. The citizens of the feverish city want to eat meat. E. Therefore, this city must be aggressive. It must attack its neighbor to get land for pasture for its animals (373d). F. This city must go to war. G. Socrates says, “and let’s not say whether war works evil or good” (373e). VI. There is a new class of citizens in the city: the warriors. A. They pose a unique problem: They must be “spirited” (375a); they must be aggressive, fiercely competitive, and love to fight. 1. Such citizens are potentially disruptive. They can turn against their own citizens. 2. They must be taught to “be gentle to their own and cruel to enemies” (375c). They must become “guardians” (375e) of the city who protect and rule it. B. Education takes on fundamental political significance. It becomes the major issue of the rest of the Republic. 1. This issue was foreshadowed by the presence of Polemarchus in Book I. 2. It is continually made an issue by the role Glaucon plays throughout the dialogue. Essential Reading: Plato’s Republic, Book II. ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership 15 Supplementary Reading: Annas, J. An Introduction to Plato’s Republic, pp. 73–79. Ferrari, G. City and Soul in Plato’s Republic, pp. 1–18. Roochnik, D. Beautiful City: The Dialectical Character of Plato’s Republic, pp. 15–17. Williams, B. “The Analogy of City and Soul in Plato’s Republic,” in R. Kraut, ed., Plato’s Republic: Critical Essays, pp. 49–60. Questions to Consider: 1. Do you agree with Socrates that the city and the soul are analogous? Are they similar sorts of entities? 2. What role do you think education should play in political life? 3. What contemporary figures can you identify who exhibit what Socrates calls “spirit”? 16 ©2005 The Teaching Company Limited Partnership

Author Isbn File size 504MB Year 2013 Pages Language English File format PDF Category Philosophy Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare More than 2,000 years later, Plato’s Republic remains astonishingly relevant to our everyday lives. It poses one question after another that might well have been drawn from the headlines and debates of our nation’s recent history: What sort of person should rule the state? Are all citizens equal before the law? Should everyone have equal access to health care? Plato’s greater inquiry, however, was into the question of defining justice itself and the reasons why a person would choose a life aligned with that virtue. These 24 remarkable lectures lead you through the brilliant dialogue Plato crafted both to define and examine the issues with which political philosophy still grapples. Chapter by chapter, Professor Roochnik introduces you to Plato’s literary recasting of his own great teacher, Socrates, and the dialogue through which Socrates and the Republic’s other characters create the hypothetical ideal city. It is by dissecting life in this presumably just city – the “Republic” of Plato’s title – that the nature of justice itself can be examined. Many of Plato’s ideas will startle contemporary readers, who may recognize in them the foreshadowing of some of humankind’s darkest moments. Indeed, some have called the Republic the “great-great-grandfather of all totalitarian experiments.” You’ll wrestle with Plato’s controversial vision, and you’ll be surprised just how contemporary these arguments sound.     Download (504MB) The Platonic Art of Philosophy Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy Plato: Euthyphro. Apology. Crito. Phaedo. Phaedrus Plato’s Republic: A Study Mill (Founders of Modern Political and Social Thought) Load more posts

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