Republic Books VIII, IX, X

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Political Science
Mark Lippincott

Lecture 6: Republic Books VIII, IX, X Outline of the Lecture 1. Review of the Last lecture: What is the main political lesson of the Republic? a) Review of the Cave b) Kick out all citizens over 10 (541a) c) The importance of moderation: Socrates’attempt to moderate our moral indignation and our revolutionary zeal 2. Turn away from the city to the soul: the best city is a chimera, but the best soul might exist actually 3. Review of the initial challenge of Glaucon andAdeimantus from Book II: Why is it good to have justice rather than injustice in ones soul? Why does justice itself, stripped of all its good consequences, make its possessor better, happier than injustice? 4. Book VIII and IX: Socrates’presentation of the inferior regimes and the souls that correspond to them 5. Book X: The Myth of Er, another example of Socratic myth/poetry. What is the main lesson of this myth? Review of the Last Lecture Review of the Cave • Major turning point in the Republic • In order for the city to be truly just, it must be ruled by the philosopher king – aspect of a problem • Mutual antagonism between the city and philosophy • The cave represents the city – stuck and staring at the shadows in the wall, mistake the shadows as the truth and we become deeply bound on to the shadows – becomes our world • To the city – the shadows show the conventions that the city has • All of these conventions share one trait – they are all made up • Every city takes different things to be meaningful • Convince ourselves that justice is not arbitrary • Philosopher know that shadows are conventions and are not the truth • Philosophers attempt to show the mutability of the shadows is painful for the citizens – citizens do not want the source of justice (shadows) to be questioned • Every image of justice in the world is always tainted with a bit of injustice • Turning point because it shows the importance of the philosophers but citizens can’t bring themselves into believing the philosopher and allow them to questions the citizens belief and the philosopher can’t be the rulers because they have no interest in having political power Kick out all Citizens over 10 • We have to give an entirely new formation of the soul to the young • Anyone above 10 is too far gone and thoroughly corrupted • Glaucon concedes all of this saying it’s the quickest and easiest ways; Socrates announces this as if it would be easy to accomplish • Banishment would have to be voluntary because we don’t yet have a force that will make people leave From the City to the Soul The just city is a chimera – it puts unreasonable and despotic demands on us all – but the just soul remains an object of inquiry. The just regime exists only in myth, but the just soul might exist actually. Recall Book II: The Challenge of Glaucon and Adeimantus If justice is so unpleasant, why be just? Why is it good to have justice rather than injustice in ones soul? Why does justice itself, stripped of all its good consequences, make its possessor better, happier than injustice? • Defined injustice—the difference between being and seeming just • The truly just seeming unjust is persecuted for seeming unjust while the unjust man will rule the city • What matters more is the appearance of being just (363a) • The just life is hard, its full of drudgery • Neither Glaucon orAdeimantus see any advantage in the just life, only in appearing to be just • The city can only tolerate the philosopher to a certain extent, and at some point needs to be shut up which is exactly what happened to Socrates • Socrates’recognizes making one of the central themes saving the souls of Glaucon andAdeimantus. They see the phony tributes of justice, and that the appearance of justice leads to a satisfying life. If the just man is ridiculed and potentially put to death, why be just? The point of the parallel in the later books is to show that the character of individuals, are determined by the regimes in which they live. There are 5 different regimes, 5 different citizens who are bio-products of these regimes. It determines the character of law, education, marriage and family. If we want to study the effects of life, we have to study the regimes. Different regimes pursue different ends. They are animated by different principles; some by wisdom, honour, money, freedom or Eros. The dominance of one principle is going to produce different kinds of individuals. In book 8, Socrates ends with the philosopher kings discussing wisdom. Story of regime change in a story of decay, the cause of decay is the principle that animates the regime. Books VII and IX: The Inferior Regimes and Corresponding Souls Rule of the Philosopher Kings (wisdom)  the true aristocracy: rule of the wise, rational and just souled, who are indifferent to politics and to honour Timocracy (honour)  the rule of the guardians, of unbridled spiritedness; sensitivity to the lack of respect given to the philosophers • In Timocracy, 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 accumulate 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. Oligarchy (money)  Love of money, replaces the love of virtue; city primary task is the management and protection of private property • Oligarchs 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 (freedom)  the regime where anything goes… • Democracy is characterized by its permissiveness. There are certain virtues; it fosters the greatest human variety. There are more human types found here than in any regime.All sorts of human beings come to exist in a democracy. It is where one has to live. There is th
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