Class #5: The Republic (Book III, IV, V)
I – Creating the ruling class… the importance of music & poetry.
* Plato’s purge
* functions to be played by music
II – The noble lie: TWO PURPOSES
* Plato on truths and lies… a tension here?
III – Abolition of private property and family. WHY?
“Friends possess everything in common” (R 424a)
IV – The virtues: city and soul
V – Plato and women
Creating the ruling class… the importance of music & poetry.
o The discussion of music started at the end of book II. Why is our city in need of soldiers to protect our
city/Why do we need war? How to make a city, Glaucon wanted luxury in the city.
o According to Socrates one must have a double nature (gentle towards their home and harsh towards
their enemy). Socrates believes that the key function of putting our energy into producing more soldiers
is producing a good strong body, but rather a good soul.
o As soon as children are born, we should care as to how they are nurtured because what the child hears
during their first months of their life, will strongly determine whether or not they have a good attitude to
their city in general.
o Socrates believed that music and poetry is very important to the development of children and therefor
we must supervise what they hear (nothing violent), because the minds of young ones are innocent and
o We must surround children with anything that will benefit the child’s upbringing in a positive light (music,
poetry, anything to make him/her care and love their city). Anything that is the opposite must be
PURGED and kicked out of the city.
o Examples: Stories of gods that lie, cheat, do violence. Falsehood should not be allowed of the gods.
o The young can’t distinguish what is tolerated in the cities: God can be the source of good things, a good
is always consistent (no change or after himself), does not deceive. Homer’s stories instilled a fear of
death with is NOT tolerated.
o Socrates wants soldiers who can control their fears and temptations (love, money, wealth, power,
women). Needs selfcontrol, which is extremely hard to cultivate. Even the wisest person can fall to
o According to Plato, there is only person who can do selfcontrol and that person is Socrates (can drink
for a long time without sleeping, can resist the urge to touch beautiful young men). Functions to be played by music
o Plato was convinced that early childhood development strong mattered in the formation of the soul. The
best tool that we have to shape the mind of our soldiers is MUSIC.
o Poetry is also very important because the written words were the most important part of music (goes to
the heart). Music can also be considered putting your in harmony your body.
o Music is believed to have a healing effect able to heal some part of the body (emotional & mental
problems) and deal with restless children. Music can also help them learn laws and virtue and can also
give us the tools to develop proper judgment.
o Plato also claims that without early childhood exposure to the right kind of music, none can become a
good an effective ruler. Music can be a tool to foster unity and foster stability of a regime.
The noble lie: TWO PURPOSES and Plato on truths and lies…a tension here?
o Socrates has a lot of difficulty saying this, he mentions a old Phoenician tale which states that all
members of a city were raised by mother earth so:
a. The earth is our mother and we should take care of it
b. Since the earth is all our mother, than we should treat eachother as brother and sister.
o He adds that everybody was born different gifts and we should concentrate on that one thing. Those
who are born with gold will b