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Political and philosophical context of Plato's Republic

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Rebecca Kingston

Political Theory J Week 2: September 22 , 2010 @Z9}o]] oLZ]o}Z}Z] }L}9o}[ZZo] Ancient Greece - Culture of intense competition - Obsession with the human form o Pervasiveness of classical architecture in many parliamentary buildings - Practices and procedures o Jury selection, voting - Terms derived from Ancient Greek o Democracy, politic - Very structure and meaning of politics, through struggle, through persuasion, we seek to obtain a conception of the good (principles that are desirable for you and others) o In liberal democracies, relative perception of the good Different views of what is beneficial to society o Challenges of presumptions about liberalism: what it means to be good cannot be fully relevant to you as an individual, may require support of certain social and cultural institutions, cannot be practiced by the individual Radical ecologist may find it difficult to live in cities as not ecological Demand social and cultural context, hence they demand a certain politics - Political theory developed in West by asking question: what set of principles are important for our communities to have - Idea of political good is broader than the individual o Social and cultural context in which the good can be grounded - General Theme: What makes for a good place to live? o Thinkers: What goods are most important in politics? How do we go about promoting those goods? What should be our priorities and what things should we consider to be oZZ]K}LMJZ[Z} ]M - 9o}L]Z}o[Z}o]] o }LJ Ancient Athens o Athenians committed to democracy as a good The Political History: The Democratic Institutions of Ancient Athens and the Controversies Surrounding Them - Development of condition called political theory contingent on democracy in Athens? o Plato and Aristotle founded political theory but were often critical of democracy o Greek philosophic tradition was not one of finding an alternative democracy but on descent o Thinkers are partaking in a continuity of debate that the democracy of Athens created - Plato: strong conception of the good, perfection of the intellectual faculties and formation of the just soul
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