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The Republic-Review.docx

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Political Science
Mark Lippincott

Review: The Republic Book 1: Socrates debates on Nature of Justice and ways to define it 1. Cephalus-- father or Polemarchus, righteous life because of wealth socrates says simply avoiding lies, following the law and returning what you owe isn't enough to make you just ex. you wouldn't give a weapon back to crazed man 2. Polemarchus-- defends it but clarifies it means doing good by friends and harming ones enemies, giving what is owed to them Socrates says: people aren't perfect and people make mistakes in choosing friends and enemies, people sometimes do good things to bad people and bad things to good people, this would lead to injustice 3. Thrasymachus-- justice is simply the advantage of the stronger Socrates says political leaders aren't perfect and might make laws that are unjust, justice is for the people rather than the rulers Thrasymachus is annoyed by this and says its unfair, he tries to argue that justice is illegitimate because it helps those who receive it rather than those who give it, its an artificial limitation on human desires, that injustice is better than justice, that injustice is good because its natural Socrates counters by saying that injustice is against wisdom which is good so injustice is ignorant, justice is a part of following rules that benefit a group rather than individuals with self interest and that those who are unjust won't be happy Book 2: • Glaucon suggests that people are just out of self-interest out of fear of punishment • He tells the story of the ring of Gyges which suggests that someone who could become invisible by putting on a magic ring would act in an in just matter because they’d be able to avoid punishment for their actions • In Book II, Glaucon tries to reinforce the challenge to justice that Socrates must meet in the remainder of the book. He argues that justice is the sort of good that is only desired for its consequences, not for its own sake. Justice, he claims, is a necessary evil that human beings endure out of fear and weakness. Because we can all suffer from one another’s injustices, he explains, we agree, as a society, to behave justly and thus avoid greater harm. Given the chance to escape reprisals, though, any human being would choose to be unjust rather than just. • In order to illustrate this point, Glaucon appeals to the Ring of Gyges.According to mythology, this ring has the special power to make its possessor invisible. Glaucon’s intention in invoking this magical entity is to argue that even the most just man only behaves as he does because of fear of reprisal. If such a man were able to behave unjustly with impunity—as he could if he were invisible—then he would do so. • Having a reputation for being just is more important than actually being just because seeming just will lead others to like you whereas as being just will lead others to dislike you • Adeimantus enters the conversation by saying that people celebrate the idea of justice because of all the good it brings not simply for the idea of justice itself, he repeats Glaucons request for Socrates to show that justice is good for his own sake Socrates starts by saying that there are two types of justice: 1) Political 2) Individual In Political, he starts with the formation of society because people cant survive alone. People should do the work that they’re best suited to do so that we’ll have people doing simple work like farming producing the bare minimum for society to function. He then adds in luxury to create a more advanced society. But, because people need to expand their city- state to get this luxury war will result. People will need to specialize in their work as society advances and the city-state will need massive soldiers called Guardians to defend it from invasion and war that will result from luxury. Socrates says the guardians should be philosophical. He says even from childhood, they shouldn’t hear stories that inaccurately portray the gods because it will shape their character. He condemns many stories from Homer as misrepresenting the Gods character. He says there should be laws banding stories that portray the gods negatively. The three things that make up the founding of the city: • First city, the city of “sows”: city geared towards the satisfaction of basic appetites; there is no scarcity and justice takes care of itself (558d-559c), the city is regarded as a city of artisans (each pursuing his or her trait) and what they’re good at, we exchange our necessities with one another attaining what we need from others, we all have enough for ourselves where there aren’t people having more than others, there’s a perfect congruent between the needs of the individuals and the needs of the community, without thinking about anything but what’s good for me; I’m solving what’s good for others, no sacrifices or compulsion is needed, laws are absent from the city, rulers are absent from the city and punishment as well, Socrates doesn’t mention death even in regards to animals, this is Adeimantus city—one role, one life ex. health, farming, craftsan • Second city; luxurious city: Glaucon demands luxury, opulence, excess (373ab); leads to the necessity of a guardian class (373d-e; 414b), he wants to live and be healthy the way of pigs, we require more; unnecessary refinements and pleasures, a city in which everything goes, for Socrates desires are the expression for incompleteness and the desire for it, humanity requires a self overcoming, luxury creates scarcity, land must be taken from others, a new class emerges; a guardian class, one citizen one art, Socrates keep this principle and carries it over from the first city, the art of war is far more demanding in comparison to easier arts like shoe making, the art of war is only accessible to those with a natural aptitude for it , need a class for people who are up for fighting and going to war regarding the city as the most important thing, Socrates and Glaucon must know how to perceive this war like nature • Third city; the rule of the philosopher kings Book 3: Socrates continues with his description about the education of the Guardians talking about the types of stories about heroes they can and cannot be permitted to hear. They cannot be afraid to die because they need to be brave. He talks about a variety of stories he would band because they would harm the guardians ideals. He says they should only be allowed to listen to narrative poetry rather than poetry involving representation and he also discusses the type of medical care the guardians should receive. The best of the guardians will be the rulers and the others will be auxiliaries who will help the rulers functioning as enforcers and acting as warriors. Everyone else will be the laborer. In order for society to be peaceful so that there won’t be conflict between the social classes, Socrates suggests that a myth be told to the people.A noble lie that people often refer to as the myth of the metals. It says that people in different social classes will have different metals either gold, silver or bronze inside them and the type of metal inside that person determines which class they should belong to. People will gold inside them are the rulers, silvers with auxiliaries and bronze the laborers. If people with silver and bronze inside them were to rule, the government would fail. People will typically have children with the same metal as themselves but occasionally a child will have a different metal than their parents. For this reason the rulers must evaluate every child to move the children into their correct social class. Socrates says that the Guardians should all live together communally and own no private possession. This is in order to protect them from becoming dictators. They’ll be supported through taxation but they’ll be given food rather than actual money like gold or silver. The myth of the medals will say that the reason for this is to resist from mixing the actual gold and silver with the gold and silver inside them but the real reason is that if they ever got actual money they’d become dictators. Book 4: Adeimantus interjects that the guardians would be happy because they wouldn’t have any possessions and as a result would lack the freedom to live any kind of normal life. Socrates responds by suggesting that the objective here is to make society happy as a whole and as long as there’s no money in the city it will be successful. He says that the city is perfect and identifies four virtues as being present in the city: wisdom, courage, moderation and justice. The guardians provide the wisdom aka the people in charge; the rulers, the auxiliaries the courage aka the warriors to overcome the resistance of the wise commands of the rulers, the maintenance of the balance of the city provides moderation and the separation of the social classes keeps things just. Becauses Socrates has identified justice on the political level he moves on to finally identify it on the individual level. He argues that the two are analogical, just like there are 3 parts to the just society, there are 3 parts to the just individual. He identifies them as being appetite, reason and spirit. Appetite gives people simple desires including biological needs and cravings for excess. Reason gives people the ability to control those desires and Spirit gives people the desire for honor.Appetite is the predominant characteristic of the laborers, reason is predominant in the rulers and spirit is predominant in the auxiliaries. Just as there is justice when reason rules an individual’s desire, there’s justice when the guardians rule the laborers. When peoples desires aren’t controlled injustice results. In the story of Leontius, one day Leontius walked by an execution, and saw a pile of dead bodies on the ground. When he saw them, part of him wanted to look at them, and part of him wanted to turn his head in disgust. Eventually, his inner appetite to look took over, and he looked at the bodies. He became very angry and yelled at the executioner. Plato explains that the anger sometimes makes war against the appetites. Sometimes, when these inner wars take place, we do not act rationally. The result was Leontius yelling at the executioner. Thus, the yelling was a result of his thinking about the dead bodies, having an appetite to look at them, and finally breaking down, looking at them and reacting in the way he did. Thus, Plato argues that the human soul is divided into three parts, reason, desire, and emotion. The story explains the strain between Philosopher kings and Timocracy during the decay of regimes because the Guardians start to believe that the philosophers do not care about the city as much as they do so they should rule not the philosophers. Book 5 Adeimantus ask that Socrates explain his theory that the guardians will share everything including their wives. Socrates starts by saying that woman will be treated the same as men, receive the same training and perform the same work.Although men will naturally be better and stronger than them in every regard-treating woman equally is the way to produce the best possible citizens. Socrates describes a society in which no one in the guardian class knows who their parents, children or siblings are. There are no traditional households. The philosophers will be the rulers of the guardian class and maintain the system of breeding within the class. Lying to the guardians in order to prevent incest and to keep things running smoothly. When asked whether this society is possible, Socrates says that the issue is not whether it’s actually possible but simply the ideal. He goes on to say that in order for this city to be possible, the rulers (the kings), must learn philosophy in order to rule with wisdom. That is to say they must be philosopher kings. Socrates describes a philosopher as someone who looks beyond the world that is noticeable and understandable with only one census to see the ideal forms that can only be seen through reason. For examples there’s the beauty you can see with your eyes but then there’s the ideal form of beauty that you can only see with your reasoning ability. This is how one gains true knowledge through reasoning. Everything you see with your eyes is mere opinion. Only philosophers can have true knowledge because they are the only ones who seek the ideal forms of things. Book 6 WhenAdeimantus challenges Socrates description of philosophers by saying that in reality philosophers don’t actually do anything for society and would be awful rulers, Socrates uses a metaphor called the allegory of the ship to explain this misconception about philosophers. He starts by saying that steering a ship is no different than governing a society. If you were to let the sailors navigate the ship, you would be in big trouble because the sailors don’t know anything about navigation. Similarly the problem with direct democracy is that the people themselves don’t know about governing or wisdom and the politicians (the sailors) are only trying to bring the support of the people (the captain). Everyone dismisses the philosophers navigator has a relevant even thought the philosophers are the only ones with the knowledge necessary to actually steer the government appropriately. Socrates argues that philosophers are corrupted by society. This is why philosophers in Athens wouldn’t make good rulers. Because its important for guardians to have many important and seemingly contradictory qualities there will likely be few of them and even fewer who them who are capable of learning philosophy with the goal of learning the form of the good the ideal state of the good the supreme good. The rulers will attempt to lead the city towards what is good. In order for them to know this they must actually know what good is. Book 7:Allegory of the Cave Socrates next discusses the form of the good with his allegory of the cave. In the allegory man are trapped inside the cave chained to the wall and have been there for their entire lives. They are only able to see shadows on the wall in front of them, the shadows from what’s happening outside. However, because the men have been in the cave for so long (entire lives) they assume that these shadows are reality themselves simply because they don’t know anything else. If a man were to leave the cave and see the world for all its brightness, at first they would find it painful and confusing preferring instead to return to the shadows. However, once he got used to the real world he’d realize that the world of shadows was a mere illusion and would want to tell his former prisoners. If he returned to try to save them and enlighten them, they would think he was crazy. In Socrates allegory, the cave is the world of illusion we can see with our senses. The world of brightness outside the cave is the world of reality as it truly is. He is saying that ordinary people in society mock philosophers because they aren’t able to see the world as it truly is. Philosophers aren’t the only ones who left the cave to discover the world outside, to discover the form of the good. Ordinary people are still trapped in the cave living in a world of illusion. Socrates continues by discussing how the guardians (the philosopher kings) should be educated in order to properly learn philosophy and he suggests that they should learn math and geometry in particular in order to exercise their minds. Book 8: Since Socrates has described the just type of government, he then goes on to talk about the 5 types of unjust government: Rule of Philosopher Kings (Wisdom), Timocracy (honour) , Oligarch (money), Democracy (freedom) and Tyranny (Eros). Rule of philosopher kings  rule of the wise, rational and just souled, who are indifferent to politics and to honour Timocracy  the rule of the guardians, of unbridled spiritedness; sensitivity to the lack of respect given to the philosophers. There is no communism. It’s a kind of moderate and restrained oligarchy. The rulers are too ashamed to show their want for wealth. It degenerates into Oligarchy. Eventually the secret hornds of money that the Timocrats accu`mulate eventually devours the regime. Love of money takes the place for the love of virtue. Wealth replaces public spiritedness as the true source of distinction and power Oligarcyhy  Love of money, replaces the love of virtue; city primary task is the management and protection of private property.Are indifferent to recognition. Eventually the Oligarchs turn all of the cities resources to the private gain. They are unwilling to fight because they don’t want to spend money on armies. The possession of private property changes the regime from Timocracy to oligarchy. The cities primary business is mear life, not the good life. Public spiritedness is sapped. Socrates says, “the oligarchy does possess a certain degree of stability, it is restrained from excess, the oligarch only spends to gratify their desires”. This leads to the existence of a rich minority, and poor majority Democracy  is characterized by its permissiveness. There are
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