By Students of POL200
University of Toronto PlatoBook I:
Conversation between Socrates, Polymarmarchus, and Cephalus:
• Socrates and Cephalus discuss the burden of the old age:
○ Cephalus: while these burdens are eased by wealth, it is people's character and habits that
really determine whether or not their lives are hard to bear , not their age. Wealth is
important mostly because it reduces the likelihood that someone will be tempted into being
unjust, because he is poor, and so lessens his fear of what will happen to him after his dies.
• What justice is :
○ Cephalus: speaking the truth and paying one's debt
○ Thrasymachus: justice is the advantage of the stronger.
○ Socrates: virtue is a craft of techne.
• Socrates asking Cephalus about the old age and how it is different from being young:
○ Cephalus: some complain about the old age ( as they lost the pleasure of drinking, parties,
sexand more) and they get angry as if they had lived well then but are now hardly living.
Some moan about the abused bestowed upon them and because of these or the mentioned
saying they think old age is the cause of many devils. But i dont think so they blame the
real cause. If the old age were really the cause, then i would have suffered the same way,
and so does everyone in my age. Once someone asked the poet ( Sophocles) : "how are you
asfar as sex goes? The poet replied: I am very glad to have escaped from all that like a
slave who has escaped from a savage and tyrannical master. Old age bring peace and
freedom from all such things." in all these matters the real cause is not the old age but the
way people live. If they are moderate and content while they are young, the old age is also
○ Cephalus: answered to the question: ( majority of people don't agree, they think that you
bear old age more easily not because of the way you live but because you are wealthy), by
acknowledging this fact and continued that there is something in what they say, though not
asmuch as they think. He said the story of ( Themistocle's " a fifth century Athenian
statesman" when someone from Seriphus ( the city) insulted him by saying that his high
reputation is was due to his city and not to himself, he replied that, had he been a Sriphian,
he wouldn't be famous, but neither would the other even if he had been an Athenian. ) the
same applies to those who are not rich and find old age hard to bear; A good person would
not easily bear old age if he were poor, but a bad one wouldn't be at peace with himself
even if he were wealthy.
○ Cephalus suggest that if one having wealth is most valuable not for every man but for a
decent and orderly one. Wealth can do a lot to save us from having to cheat or deceive
someone against our will and from having to depart for that other place in fear because we
owe sacrifice to a God or money to a person. It has many other uses, but benefit , i would
saythat this is how it is most useful to a man of any understanding.
○ Polymarchus: insisted that definition of justice is to speak the truth and repaying what one
has borrowed if needed as Simonides said.
○ Socrates: suggested that it is not just to give to someone what one owes to him while that
person is totally out of his mind. But Polymarchus believed it is justices.
○ Simonides ( a lyric poet) believed that definition of justice is when you give back what you
owe and tell the truth.
○ Polymarchus suggests that justice gives benefits to friends and does harm to enemies.
○ After socrates give different examples of Ship captain and doctors who are able to do good
and bad for their friends and enemies, and if they have patience or sailors they can do
justice otherwise their justice is useless, he questioned if justice is useful for getting and
using in peacetime and polymarchus answered for contracts ( and by contracts he meant
○ Socrates: people often make mistakes about believing many people to be good and useful
when they are not and making the opposite mistake about enemies. And he concludes that
it is not the function of a just person to harm a friend or anyone else, rather is the function
ofhis opposite, an unjust person. ofhis opposite, an unjust person.
○ Thrasymachus: believe that justice is the advantage of the stronger. And he gave examples
ofcities where rulers are aristocratic, tyrannical or democratic, who makes their laws for
their own advantage. And they for their advantage are just to their subjects. So he argued
that it is the advantage of the establishers, since the established rulers are stronger.
○ Socrates believed that ( no craft man ever makes errors such as doctor or accountant, if his
knowledge fails him that he makes an error, and in regard to that error he is no craftsman.
Also he suggests that no other craft seeks its own advantage for it has no further needs, but
the advantage of that of which it is the craft. Nokind of knowledge seeks or orders what is
advantageous to itself , then, but what is advantageous to the weaker, which is subject to it.
As example no doctor seeks what is advantageous to himself but what is advantageous to
his patient. And he concluded that no one in any position of rule, in so far, as he is a ruler,
seeks or orders what is advantageous to himself, but what is advantageous to his subjects;
the ones of whom he is himself the craftsman. It is to his subjects and what is advantageous
and proper to them that he looks and everything he says and does he says and does for
them. Nocraft or rule provides for its own advantage, but for its subject and aims at its
advantage that of the weaker not the stronger.
○ Glaucan: believe that life of just person is better and not convinced by the idea that
Thrasymachus says that unjust gets more than what just person does.
○ Socrates: a just person outdoes only those who are unjust, but an unjust person outdo both
just and unjust. A just person is like clever and good and unjust person is like ignorant and
badone. Finally justice is virtue and wisdom and injustice is vice and ignorance. Injustice
has the power
First to make whatever it arises in- whether it is a city, family, army, or anything else
incapable of achieving anything as a unit, because of the civil wars and differences it
And second it makes that unit an enemy to itself and to what is in every way it is
opposite, namely, justice.
○ Socrates: by nature the very same effect of injustice is on human being as well:
Makehim incapable of achieving anything, because he is in a state of civil war and
not of one mind.
It makes him his own enemy as well as the enemy of just people.
○ Socrates: so since God is justice, and unjust person is the enemy of God, while the just
person is his friend. The function of each thing to which a particular function is assigned
also have a virtue. Such as soul's virtue is to keep us alive, and it will not perform its
function if it is deprived of its own peculiar virtue. And a bad soul rules and takes care of
things badly and a good soul does all these things as well. So he they agreed that justice is a
soul's virtues and injustice is its vice. A just soul and a just man will live well while unjust
one badly. A just person is happy and unjust person wretched. And living wretched doesnt
profit anyone. So injustice is never more profitable than justice.
○ Socrates at the end of Book I says : " i know nothing , for when I don't know what justice
is, I will hardly know whether it is a kind of virtue or not, or whether a person who has it is
happy or unhappy." PlatoBook II
• The new question that the interlocutors now ask is WHY. It is Why should people be just?
• They try to find out what peoples gain would be from being just.
• The new question that the interlocutors now ask is WHY. It is Why should people be just?
• They try to find out what peoples gain would be from being just.
• Inbook I, the interlocutors were not really able to defend their arguments and thus Socratic irony
and elenchus was heavily used to ridicule them and agitate them. However, with the introduction
ofGlaucon and Adeimantes, who are brothers of Plato, the tone dramatically changes. This is
because Socrates knows that these two people are interested in the truth and want to get to the
bottom of the search.
• The story of the Ring of gyges states that; one day a shepherd found a ring inside a cavern. He
put on this ring and later found out that if it was turned one way it would make him invisible and
if it was turned the other way it would make him visible once more. Knowing this, the shepherd
who was a perfectly ―just‖ and loveable person until then, did commit many ―unjust‖ things,
namely seducing the wife of the king, the queen and later killing the king and taking his place.
The moral of the story is that people are naturally unjust and will follow their instinct of injustice
if they could guarantee that they would not get caught/punished. The only thing holding people
backfrom committing such injustices are the social pressures.
• When Socrates introduces the idea of looking at something larger, such as the society as whole,
tospot virtues such as justice, he comes up with the idea of creating a city from scratch. Him and
Glaucon one by one bring together this city. The first form of the city put together by Socrates is
the ―basic‖ or ―true‖ city. This city is only made up of people, that are craftsmen. The city only
has enough people/craftsmen and resources for basic necessities. The people in this city work on
the principle of specialization. Socrates states that this is enough for the prosperity of humans.
However, Glaucon calls this the ―city of pigs‖ as the people here have no luxury, or culture. He
says the aim of the people in this city is only their appetite and desires.
• The guardians are needed in the ideal city for two things i) To protect the city from physical
harm from enemies and outside dangers ii) to protect the city from social dangers, which are
things said by Socrates to be poetry in general (about Gods, mryth fear of death) and imitation.
Socrates is generally against innovation and change, and thus the guardians are there for this
• The guardians must be wise and be dominated by their rational soul. They must be physically
strong as well. They must come from the ―gold‖ metal class (from the myth of the metals) To be
able to achieve these qualities, they must go through extensive education in the field of music
and gymnastics. They must be kept away/censored from poetry about Gods, poetry about mryth
and poetry about life after death, and most importantly they must be kept away from imitation.
• He does not like the fact the Homer and Hesiod both write poems mainly dealing with Gods, and
portray the Gods in bad light. He does not like how they portray Gods as having human desires
and obsessions, he does not like how they portray Gods as shape-shifting into other forms and
also, does not like their poems depicting Gods having mryth. He says ―Telling the greatest
falsehood about the most important things does not make a fine story‖
• Education is very important to Plato because it is the basis for soul-crafting. He believes that it is
only through education that he can craft the souls of the young people and make them into the
perfect people they should be. PlatoBook III:412c-417b
○ This is the story about the Myth of the Metals. Here Socrates states that this ―noble lie‖
must be told to the people for the benefit of the society. He is hesitant in introducing this
but goes ahead anyway. First Socrates states that he will tell the people that they are all
brothers. Secondly, he will tell them that they are all of the earth, and the God that created
them mixed in some gold in some of them (those who form the ruling class) mixed in some
silver in some (the auxiliaries sub-guardians) and some iron and bronze into some of them
(the farmers and other craftsmen)Also, he will tell them that since they are brothers,
sometimes a bronze will have a child of gold, and etc. (some sort of social mobility)
○ He thinks that this is necessary to create order in the society. If people truly do believe the
story of the metals, then they would be happy with their placement in the society, and
would not complain.
○ The caste system in India is an example of such falsehood. The fact that we teach our
children the ideals of equality but know that in reality not everyone is equal and that there
are either natural or manmade differences amongst people.
○ The craftsmen are supposed to be happy, as they are the lowest class and make up the
majority of the city. He states that the aim is not to make ―everyone‖ happy but to make the
society in general happy. PlatoBookIV
10:21PM PlatoBook V
Summary of "Plato: Republic, Book V"
449-450:Following the end of Book IV where he was talking about the virtue and vice in the
souls and cities, Socrates continues. But Adeimantus and others interrupted him as they consider
the thought of bringing up children and keeping wifes and children in common, mentioned by
Socrates before, was not fully explained and justified.
450-451b:Socrates explained that he was afraid of risking himself to speak something not of the
knowledge or truth, and therefore mislead his audience.
451c-452e:Socrates argued that if people want to use women for the same things as the men (i.e.
guard the city), they need to be brought up in the same way and received the same education,
regardless whether it will look ridiculous or not (i.e. naked old women practice in the gym).
453a-c:Socrates began the discussion by asking questions on others behalf and challenging
himself. He brought up the question that, by his previous conclusion on nature, if women and
men are very different by nature, shouldn't they be assigned to different tasks according to their
nature? He questioned himself, to this point, why should women and men do the same thing?
This led to contradiction to his previous arguments.
453d-456c:Socrates examined this contradiction and found out that there was a verbal
contradiction in this whole conversation about nature, men and women, and "doing the same
thing". He said that they didn't examine the form of the natural differences and sameness before
assigning different ways of life to different natures. He argued that we can't call a bald cobbler
and a long-haired cobbler different just because of their hair style, for they're doing the same
craft. In the same logic, we can't simply distinguish women from men just by the nature that
women bears children and men beget them. Soin the matter of constitution of the city, there's no
difference between men and women in nature for doing certain craft or having way of life.
Women with qualified nature can be guardians, and received the same training and educations,
456d-457c:Here Socrates proved that it is possible, in law, to have both men and women be
guardians of the city. This idea is also optimal to the city.
457d-460d:Socrates started to explain the possibility and benefit of having all the chosen women
in common to all the chosen men, and having their children in common. He argued that if people
selected women and men to live and train together, by innate necessity, they'll have sex to one
another. Yet this kind of random sex is impious in a city of happy people, and the rulers won't
allow it. So arranged marriage is the solution. The city's rulers established a series of laws and
tricks to have the best selected men to marry the best selected women, in order to produce better
offspring. Their children are taken to a separated place in the city to be taken cared of
collectively and efficiently. The other people's children who are born defected are to be
460e-461e:Socrates talked about the legitimacy of what kind of men and women in what age
should be picked to marry and reproduce offspring, the sex issue to "the other people", and the
relationship of children and parents.
462a-465c:A lengthy explanation by Socrates to justify why it is the best for a city he described
as"good" to have wives and children of the guardians in common. It is important to make the
guardian groups in unison. Sothey won't have private properties either. There's no private pain
orpleasures among them, thus making them a solid unity like a single person. By making all
these thoughts into laws, it prevents conflict within the city between guardians and other people,
and guardians themselves. This also saved a lot of other common troubles happened in a city
with rich and poor.
the honor and happiness of guardians
the way of training their children in battlefield
the rewards and ceremonies that should be given to guardians after their return from
the way of treating the guardians who died in the battle, and the way of dealing with captured
the way of treating enemies' homeland (especially to other Greeks) after victory
471d-473e:Glaucon stopped Socrates for further discussions on other topics, and asked him to
explore whether the city they designed could ever possibly come into being, and how it is
possible. After quite a long explanation, Socrates gave his idea of how this city could possibly possible. After quite a long explanation, Socrates gave his idea of how this city could possibly
come into being with minimal change in the city: not until true philosophers rule as kings in
cities, or kings/rulers become true philosophers, will the ideal city they described appears to the
fullest extent possible. Namely, the kallipolis will only come true when political power and
philosopher entirely coincide.
474a-476d:This idea from Socrates brings my outrage from the audience. Socrates started to
explain what the true philosophy is/what kind of person is called the true philosopher, in order to
convince people that this kind of people must rule the city to achieve kallipolis. He first
discussed the appetite on learning things of a philosopher (474e-475e). Then he explained that
the philosophers are the lovers of the truth (475e-476a). Glaucon found this a bit of vague, he
askedwhat "love the sight of truth" mean. Socrates explained what truth is by giving a metaphor
onbeauty and beautiful things. He called the people who can grasp the form of beauty itself
"those with knowledge" and they "know" things. He called those who can tell the beautiful
things but not recognizing beauty itself "those who opine".
476e-480:A lengthy discussion on what the truth/knowledge is how it distinguishes from
opinion. How the majority people can only grasp something opinable but not the truth. What
distinguishes the philosophers from the majorities. PlatoBOOK VI
Republic Book VI
Book V indicated that only the philosopher could understand the form of the Good and so
only they could have knowledge, the rest were lovers of sights and sound
Given that only philosophers have knowledge, they are clearly the ones best able to grasp
what is good for the city, and so are in the best position to know how to run and govern the
If they are virtuous or at least not inferior to others in virtue then, Socrates' friends agree,
we could be sure that they are the ones most fit to rule.
Philosophers are superior in virtue to everyone else. A philosopher loves truth more than
anything else (―philosopher‖ means ―lover of truth or wisdom‖); his entire soul strives after
truth. This means that the rational part of his soul must rule, which means that his soul is
just. Though he does not refute his other bodily desires, he predominantly focusses on
matters of the soul.
Adeimantus remains unconvinced. None of the philosophers he has ever known have been
like Socrates is describing. Most philosophers are useless, and those that are not useless
tend to be vicious.
Socrates, agrees with Adeimantus‘s condemnation of the contemporary philosopher, but he
argues that the current crop of philosophers have not been raised in the right way. Men
bornwith the philosophical nature—courageous, high-minded, quick learners, with
faculties of memory—are quickly preyed upon by family and friends, who hope to benefit
from their natural gifts. They are encouraged to enter politics in order to win money and
power by their parasitic family and friends. So they are inevitably led away from the
philosophical life. In place of the natural philosophers who are diverted away from
philosophy and corrupted, other people who lack the right philosophical nature, rush in to
fill the gap and become philosophers when they have no right to be. These people are
The few who are good philosophers (those whose natures were somehow not corrupted,
either because they were in exile, lived in a small city, were in bad health, or by some other
circumstance) are considered useless because society has become antithetical to correct
Society does not appreciate the Philosophers as they do not understand their true nature.
Inorder to give an understanding of why he agrees that Philosophers are useless, Socrates
describes the situation on a ship.
The owner is stronger than everyone else; but is hard of hearing, short sighted, and lacks
nautical skills. The sailors, aware of this, are fighting to steer the ship as each of them
believes himself righteous for the task at hand. Though none of the sailors have been
trained in the art of navigation, they all gather around the ship-owner and attempt to
persuade him to upgrade them to the level of captain. Most of the time those who succeed
are quickly overthrown by the mob, and then by some form of treachery the mob removes
the ship-owner as well and takes charge of the ship. They proceed to sail the ship in the
way that ―those types of people do‖.
They proclaim the person clever enough to force away the ship-owner a ―navigator‖, a
―captain‖, or ―one that knows of ships‖ and subsequently dismiss anyone else as useless.
―They don‘t understand that a true captain must pay attention to the seasons of the year, the
sky, the stars, the winds, and all that pertains to his craft, if he‘s really to be the ruler of the sky, the stars, the winds, and all that pertains to his craft, if he‘s really to be the ruler of the
ship… They do not believe that a certain craft to navigation exists and as a result refer to
the true captain as ―good-for-nothing‖.
The ship resembles a city, and the approach of the sailors resembles the general perception
citizens have of philosophers. The underlying message is that society does not make use of
the philosophers. This is demonstrated by the argument which indicates that natural order
would dictate that society embrace the philosopher, as he alone possesses knowledge, and
appoint him to a position of ruling, much like when a patient is in need of a cure he seeks
out the doctor, and not the other way around.
Different student perspective:
Plato: Book VI
• philosophers - those who are able to understand ―what is always the same in all respects‖ aka the
• everyone else - those who cannot understand the Forms and instead see many things which are
never exactly the same
Whoshould rule/lead thecity/be the guardians?
• guardians must be capable of guarding laws and the ways of life of the city and so they must be
keen-sighted and not blind
• those who do not have knowledge are blind, they cannot see, reference or study the truth and
therefore cannot establish, guard, or preserve the conventions or ways of living (in accordance
with what is fine/good/just) needed in the city
• therefore, philosophers must rule and be guardians because they have knowledge as well as
How can philosophers haveknowledge and virtue?
• already proven they have knowledge (V)
• must understand the nature of the philosopher in order to understand how they possess virtue
along with knowledge
• love the kind of learning that permits them to see the Forms (―feature of the being that always is
and does not wander around between coming to be and decaying‖)
• they love learning about the Forms, therefore they only accept and love the truth and refuse to
accept what is false
• just like a man who loves a boy is erotically inclined to love anything related to that boy,
philosophers love learning about the Forms and therefore love anything related to this knowledge
• it is philosophic nature to love the truth and strive for the truth from childhood (―could you find
anything that belongs more to wisdom than truth does?‖)
• when someone desires strongly for one thing it diminishes their desire for everything else
• philosophers desire learning above all else and therefore they abandon the pleasures of the body
(only concerned with the pleasures of the soul)
• ―always reaching out to grab everything that is divine and human as a whole‖
• not slavish, servile, or unimaginative
• doesnot consider human life to be important because there are more important things revealed to
the high - minded thinker through studying/knowledge (forms?)
• therefore he would not consider death a terrible thing
• not concerned/afraid of death or anything in human life
5)Just and Gentle 5)Just and Gentle
• aperson who isn‘t money-loving, slavish, boastful, or a coward cannot be unreliable or just
• not hard/savage but understanding/compassionate/good natured from childhood
• you cannot love learning if it is difficult and takes a lot of effort for you to do so (people
enjoy/love things that are easy or come naturally to them)
• therefore philosophers must be naturally inclined to learning if they are to love it
• need to be able to retain the information learned
• also adds to the ease and subsequent love of learning
• thoughts are measured (careful, studied, planned)
• easily led to the Forms
If thephilosophic nature has all these qualities, why do people still believe theyare useless or
• despite hearing how virtuous philosophers are, people will continue to believe they are
useless/unfit to rule
• unable to answer Socrates‘ questions, people will be led astray throughout his argument (for
philosophers) and therefore remain unconvinced at the end of it
• they will continue to believe what they have observed - the majority of those in philosophy are
cranks, vicious, or useless
• Socrates agrees that those who remain in philosophy today are cranks, vicious, and useless
How then can philosophers be the rulers of theideal city, if they are useless?
• Socrates proposes to answer this with a simile/image
• the simile of the ship
• despite the shipowner being bigger and stronger than everyone else, he is unable to navigate
because he is hard of hearing, short sighter, and lacks knowledge about navigation
• the sailors on board argue about who should steer the ship, even though none of them are
qualified to do so because like the owner they have never learned the art of navigation
• the sailors claim that the art of navigation does not exist and is therefore unteachable
• they continue to beg and try to convince the shipowner to choose one of them as the captain
• the person who is able to trick/convince/persuade the owner to let them rule becomes the captain
• this captain is seen as one who knows the ways of the ship, as a navigator (even though they
have no knowledge of navigation)
• the captain uses all the resources in the ship to steer/navigate the way he wants
• ignore the fact that a real captain pays attention to everything pertaining or relating to his craft
(in this case navigation)
• anyone who says navigation is an art/craft and teachable is deemed useless because the sailors
don‘t believe there is an art of navigation (way to steer the ship) and therefore no way to
learn/practice/teach such a craft
• the ―true captain‖ is therefore not acknowledged and criticized
• this ship resembles cities and the attitude citizens/people have towards philosophers
• people think they should be the rulers or kings of cities despite the fact that they do not have
knowledge or believe there is a craft to ruling
• philosophers have knowledge and therefore know how to rule a city (know the craft of ruling)
• philosophers are deemed useless because they claim to have knowledge that others do not
“TheBest Among Philosophers are Useless to theMajority” (How thencan philosophers be the
rulers of theideal city)
• it is not the fault of true philosophers that they are useless
• they are only useless because people see them that way; people do not make use of the • they are only useless because people see them that way; people do not make use of the
knowledge true philosophers have
• ―it isn‘t natural for the captain to beg the sailors to be ruled by him...‖ ―the natural thing is for the
sick person, to knock at the doctor‘s door and for anyone who needs to be ruled to knock at the
doorof the one who can rule him‖
• people must recognize the knowledge and ability true philosophers have in order for them to
become useful, philosophers can not convince the people that they should be rulers
• ―the greatest and most serious slander on philosophy results from those who profess to follow the
philosophic way of life‖ - those are the philosophers who are vicious and useless
It is unavoidable that philosophers are vicious, but philosophy is not responsible for producing
thesephilosophers. How not?
• reminder of the nature of a true philosopher - fine and good person
• guided bythe truth and always seeks the truth (without falsehood)
• without this quality he would be a boaster and would not share in true philosophy
• however society sees philosophers as boasters and seekers of the truth
• reasonable defence of the true philosopher - it is the nature of the philosopher (a lover of
learning) to strive towards the truth (what is) and shy away from falsehood (what is believed to
• people see philosophers as useless and vicious because the philosophers they are seeing are not
true philosophers, they do not have true philosophical nature
• instead these false philosophers imitate the philosophic nature and bring down the reputation of
• true philosophers rarely enter into philosophy because their philosophic nature is corrupted and
they are led away from philosophy
• few people possess all the characteristics of the philosophic nature and these characteristics
(courage, moderation, etc) can corrupt the soul and turn it away from philosophy
• when the philosophic nature does not have the correct upbringing it can become bad
• the philosophic nature will grow to possess every good virtue if it receives the correct upbringing
todevelop the virtues
• those with the philosophic nature and a body with equal greatness will be corrupted by their
family and friends who will want to use them for their own advantage
• if the true philosopher possessing the philosophic nature is also from a good city, well-born,
wealthy, good looking and tall he is likely to be influenced to use his good qualities for things
other than philosophy as his family and friends would encourage him to do so
• when true philosophers shy away form philosophy they leave it open to those who are unworthy
• ―none of our present constitutions is worthy of the philosophic nature and as a result this nature
is perverted and altered...so the philosophic nature fails to develop its full power and declines
into a different character‖
• no city, constitution, or man will become perfect until philosophers who are not vicious take
charge of the city or a god inspires the present rulers with love for true philosophy
• harshness the majority exhibits towards philosophy is caused by outsiders who don‘t belong
• true philosophers see the forms and imitates them, then in turn is compelled to teach others to do
• true philosophers would take the city and characters of human beings and wipe them clean of
impurities and then sketch an outline of their constitution working towards justice, beauty,
How Saviours of ConstitutionWill Come To Be In theCity (Subjects/Ways of Life)
• must show to be lovers of city when tested with pleasure and pain and hold on to their resolve
through labours, fears, and adversities
• anyone incapable of doing so is rejected and anyone who comes through unchanged is to be
• those who are to be made our guardians must be philosophers
• must be exercised in many subjects to see whether they can tolerate the most important subjects
• what subjects?
• form of the good is the most important thing to learn about and by relation to the good that just
things and other become useful and beneficial
• every soul pursues good and does whatever it does for its sake • every soul pursues good and does whatever it does for its sake
• Socrates has no opinion on the good in this moment because he does not know what it is and
doesnot want to make a blind guess or assumption
• however he does know about an offspring of the good
• there are many beautiful things and many good things and then there is beauty in itself and good
• the many beautiful/good are related to a single form of beauty/good
• the many beautiful/good things are visible not intelligible but the forms are not visible and
• sight and the visible have a need for the sun; the eyes can see and colours are visible but in order
for the eyes to see colour there needs to be light from the sun
• however the sun is not sight but it is the cause of sight and is seen by sight
• this is what Socrates called the offspring of the good
• the good is in the intelligible realm in relation to understanding and intelligible things whereas
the sun is in the visible realm in relation to sight and visible things
• soul: when it focuses on something illuminated by truth, it understands, knowns, and possess
understanding but when it focuses on what is mixed with obscurity it opines and is dimmed
• the form of the good gives truth to things known and the power to know the knower
• line divided into two unequal sections : intelligible and the other visible
• then divide each section in half
• one section of the visible is images/imagination (shadows, reflections) and the other is originals
ofthe images / belief (animals, plants)
• sections of the intelligible: (1) thought - the soul using the things that were imitated as images is
forced to investigate from a hypothesis and make a conclusion (2) understanding - the soul
makes its way to a first principle, not a hypothesis but from a hypothesis, but using the forms
instead of images and investigating through them
• four conditions of the soul: understanding, though, third, and imagining
• eachshares in clarity to the degree that the subsection it is set over shares in truth PlatoBook VII514-521d
Allegory of the Cave
• compare the effect of education and the lack of it to an experience like this: human beings living
in a cave with long entrance up
• beenthere in the same place with their necks and feet constrained since childhood
• are only able to see what is in front of them
• afire burns behind them and provides lights and there is a path behind them
• along the path is a low wall with people along it who carry artifacts that project in front of the
people who are constrained
• these prisoners are like us, only see the shadows of the artifacts on the wall in front of them
• talk to one another and give names to the shadows and believe that the truth is nothing other than
the shadows of the artifacts
• when one is freed, he i up and when he looks toward the fire and the wall behind him he will be
confused and unable to see or understand the artifacts whose shadows he accepted as real
• if he was told that the shadows he had seen were insignificant and that now he sees more clearly,
he would be more confused and still believe the shadows to be true because it is the only thing he
• if he was compelled to look at the fire/light his eyes would hurt and he would flee towards the
• if he was dragged up the path out of the cave towards the sunlight he would be irritated and
pained at the person who dragged him
• the sunlight would blind him until he adjusted to it and then he would be able to the world above
him and study them, and then know them
• when he is reminded about the cave he pities the others and once he returned he would be
ridiculed by the prisoners
• they would say his eyesight is ruined and that no one should leave the cave
• visible realm is like the cave, outside is like the intelligible realm
• in the knowable realm the good is the last thing to be seen and it is difficult to reach
• once it is seen one concludes it is the cause of all that is correct/beautiful and produces
everything in the visible realm
• in the intelligible realm the good controls and provides truth/understanding
• education isn‘t what some people declare it to bed: putting knowledge into souls that lack it
• the power to learn is present in everyone‘s soul and the person must be turned around as a whole
tostudy the good
• education is the craft concerned with turning the soul around so that it is looking for the good in
the right direction
• virtue of reason is above all virtues and can be used as beneficial or harmful depending on the
way it is turned
• compel the best natures to reach the study , make the scent, and see the good
• toleave the cave, and study, and find the good
• once they find it however they must go back into the cave even though they do not wish to
• this however is not injustice because the law‘s concern is to make everyone in the city happy and
it is the job of the guardians to guard and care for others
• this means going back into the cave and sharing their knowledge of the truth about fine, good,
and just things which will make everyone‘s life better and happier PlatoBook X
Summary of book X: 608c – end
Plato Republic concludes with a dialogue of the greatest rewards for justice and the greatest
punishment for injustice. This dialogue consists of three parts: 1) proof that a soul is immortal, 2)
the rewards and punishments for (just/unjust) men while they are alive, and 3) the rewards and
punishments after death.
The rewards and punishment after death is given in account in the form of a myth. The myth of
Er is based on the proof that the souls are immortal as it accounts the circle of life. However,
from our experience the soul lacks that perfect harmony. In order to find the truth, according to
Plato, one must discover the nature of the soul by distinguishing the good from the bad.
1)Soul is immortal and never destroyed (608d)
- There is a good and bad for everything. The moment the bad attaches to the good, it
eventually disintegrates from and destroys the goodness of the thing (609).
- However, if the bad that is natural to each thing does not destroy its subject, nothing else
will (609b). A subject that cannot be destroyed by its proper disease/bad is immortal.
- Injustice, licentiousness, cowardice and lack of learning corrupt the soul (609 c). However,
injustice cannot destroy the soul, bringing it to the point where it ceases to exist (609 d),
like a body for example.
- Forinstance, only diseases (unhealthiness) can destroy a pure body, for it is its opposite. In
that sense, food for that very matter cannot kill or destroy the body; it is the disease
(unhealthy substances) that‘s situated in the food that kills the body (610).
- Injustice is situated in our soul and not in our body. Soul and body are two separate entities.
Thus, what destroys a body cannot destroy a soul (610 b).
- Because a soul cannot be destroyed by its own evil or something else‘s, then it is clear that
it is immortal (611).
2)Rewards and punishments for (just/unjust) men while they are alive
- The just are rewarded with good things and are loved by the gods and the others hated (612
- Unless it‘s the punishment for the mistake he made in a former life (613), a just person who
falls into poverty or disease or other evil, will eventually get his reward, either in this life or
afterwards, for the gods never neglect anyone who wish to become just or who attempts
continuously to adopt a virtuous lifestyle (613 b).
- Just people are rewarded with good reputation and prizes from human beings (613 c)
- Just people rule in their city, marry whomever they want and marry their children to
whomever they desire (613 e).
- Unjust people may seem just at first but eventually their unjust nature is rewarded with
ridicule, wretchedness, and insult and made to suffer those punishments, such as racking
and burning (613 e).
3)The rewards and punishments after death.
Myth of Er:
- Er (young soldier) revived from death and told people of judgment after death.
- While dead, he traveled to a place where he saw two openings in the earth and above that
two others in the heavens; between them judges sat.
- The souls coming from earth were covered in dust, while those from heaven were pure.
Souls from earth wept about their suffering, while those in heaven rejoiced their happiness.
- Foreach unjust thing they had done, they paid the penalty ten times over in another
- Plato urges human beings to be most concerned to learn to distinguish the good life from
the bad and to make the best possible choice in every situation (618 c), because your
decision will affect your afterlife. decision will affect your afterlife.
- Learning to distinguish the good from the bad will enlighten individuals when evaluating
how just/unjust one‘s soul is (618 e).
- Er recalls being told that there‘s a satisfactory life rather than a bad available to everyone
(even the last/bad). Thus, the first/good should not be careless in his choice nor the last/bad
discouraged (619 b).
- Life is a cycle. What you do in this life, will eventually reward (good deeds) or punish (bad
deeds) in this life or the after. Thus, justice has its longstanding rewards and it always
Aristotle Politics Book I
Formation of families and communities
- Aristotle stats his book by organized dissertation with ideas of household and building
- His ideas of natural unions are relationship between men and woman => this union is
aimed at the goal of fulfilling certain natural needs (namely the desire to reproduce)
- The union of family is the community is that man, as with his wife, is the natural ruler of
- The main power of families centered on the man (authority and responsibilities are built
within the man‘s role. And he rules over his wife for his OWN good
- Aristotle argues that men possess a natural role as masters (BUT, the man‘s wife and other
members of family are not considered as slaves => b/c the man protects their interests )
o This is directly opposing to the slave-master union where the master uses his masters
tofulfill his purposes not theirs.
- After building the families, the next step is the building of communities. (communities =>
avillage forms => severalvillages then form a polis the vital systemof societal
- All these unions, on every level, have one and only purpose: promoting goodness which is
anatural human phenomenon
- Aristotle says, ―the final and perfect association formed from a number of villages, in the
polis…. It exists for the sake of a good life.”
Human is a political animal (the main idea of BookI)
- The man, according to Aristotle, is a being who has a primary goal (primary telos) to live in
apolis and to engage in politics (main idea)
- Government is not a human invention, but a natural (or essential) outgrowth of community
o The purpose is to maintain and realize justice
- Aristotle asserts, “man,when perfected,is the best of animals; but if he is isolated from law
andjustice he is the world of all.”
- Aristotle also justified his defence of property, objectively, slavery.
- He thinks that slaves are simply possessions of one man, and they are destined (born to
be)by nature to serve. It‘s in their blood to sacrifice their lives for other men
- The union between slave and master is also natural, as both parties receive mutual benefits
from each other.
The master receives services and labour from the slaves o The master receives services and labour from the slaves
o The slaves gain protection and natural sense of duty from the masters
- Aristotle argues, “thereare species in which a distinction is already marked,immediately
at birth, betweenthose of its members who are intended for being ruled and those who are
- Slavery is a means to achieve the fundamental goodness
Rejectionof Plato’s socialism
- Aristotle rejects Plato‘s socialism
- Aristotle is a strong proponent of private (not communal) property
- His practical observations (that Plato does not deem) make him realize that the idealistic
concept of shared possessions is simply an ideal.
o According to Aristotle, it is NOT attainable by humans since it contradicts the laws of
Extra information about Book I from the internet (my TA suggested this website)
EVERY STATE is a community of some kind, and every community is established with a view
tosome good; for mankind always act in order to obtain that which they think good. But, if all
communities aim at some good, the state or political community, which is the highest of all, and
which embraces all the rest, aims at good in a greater degree than any other, and at the highest
Some people think that the qualifications of a statesman, king, householder, and master are the
same, and that they differ, not in kind, but only in the number of their subjects. For example, the
ruler over a few is called a master; over more, the manager of a household; over a still larger
number, a statesman or king, as if there were no difference between a great household and a
small state. The distinction which is made between the king and the statesman is as follows:
When the government is personal, the ruler is a king; when, according to the rules of the political
science, the citizens rule and are ruled in turn, then he is called a statesman.
But all this is a mistake; for governments differ in kind, as will be evident to any one who
considers the matter according to the method which has hitherto guided us. As in other
departments of science, so in politics, the compound should always be resolved into the simple
elements or least parts of the whole. We must therefore look at the elements of which the state is
composed, in order that we may see in what the different kinds of rule differ from one another,
and whether any scientific result can be attained about each one of them.
Aristotle: Politics Reading Summary
Book2: Reviewof Constitutions
Chapter 1: Plato‘s Republic
Must consider: constitutions currently in force and constitutions proposed by predecessors
o Political association = sharing à how much should be shared?
o What form of political association best allows for people to live as they wish?
o Plato’sRepublic: Proposed that women, children, and property should be held in
Starting point of discussion: it is necessary that the citizens either have 1) all things in
common, 2) nothing in common or 3) some things in common
o Can‘t have nothing in common à members of city share a common locality
o Yet is ―certainly possible‖ that citizens should share children, women and property as
proposed in the Republic
Chapter 2: Community of Women and Children
System in which women are common has difficulties:
o The object (unity) argued for by Plato is not established by his argument and the
―end‖ for the city is impracticable à carried to its logical extreme, it would produce a
Aristotle: ―the greatest possible unity of the whole city is the supreme good‖
o A city which becomes more and more united will cease to be a city at all, as ―a city
bynature, is some sort of plurality‖
o Even if we could, we should not try to achieve this object, for it would be the
destruction of the city
City composed of different kindsof people, as well as a number of people à Plato‘s
argument neglects the social differentiation necessary in a city
o City different than a military alliance
o Alliance: formed for the sake of mutual help which its members can render to one
another (utility is possessed as a result of its quantity, even if there‘s no difference in
o Real Unity: made up of elements which differ in kindà stability of a city depends on
elements rendering to the others an amount equivalent to what it receives from them
(even among free/equal citizens)
o Citizens cannot all rule simultaneously as all are rulers
Justice requires participation of all in office, whether this is good or bad
o ―Some rule, and others are ruled, in turn, as if they had become, for the time being,
different people‖ (p. 40)
It is not the nature of the city to be a unit in the sense in which some thinkers say it is
What is said to be the supreme good of a city is really its ruin
Another consideration: the higher degree of self-sufficiency is the more desirable thing, and
the lesser degree of unity is more desirable than the greater à different elements make
Continued criticisms of community of women and children:
As collective parents, and not individual parents, there will be no real feeling but instead
o Socrates‘ view: the index of perfect unity of a city is ‗all men saying ―mine‖ and ―not
mine‖ at the same time‘ à in one sense is fine but impracticable, and in another sense
doesnothing to promote harmony
o ‗All‘ has double sense (and therefore a fallacy): all will say ‗mine‘ and will do so in
the sense of ‗all collectively‘ and not in the sense of ‗each separately‘
Kinship will be fractional (when 1,000 are father to the same child, each father is only
1/1000father) o What is common to the greatest number gets the least amount of care (people pay
most attention to what is their own)
o Result is that all are equally neglected
Nature will recur and spoil the scheme
o Impossible to avoid the chance that some of the citizens might guess who their
Problems arise when people do not know their relatives
Community of women and children may be more useful amongst farmers than guardians
o Spirit of friendship would be lessened, and the governed class should have little of
that spirit to prevent uprising
Friendship = chief good of cities, because it is the best safeguard against the danger of
Incase of political association, there would be merely a ―watery source of friendship‖
produced by community
o Family feeling diluted when family names don‘t have meaning (under constitution
such as that proposed by Socrates)
Problem of transferring between guardian or craftsman classes: people will no longer avoid
committing offenses on account of their kinship
Chapter 5: Community of Property
Should use and ownership both be common? 3 possible systems of property
o System of separate ownership but common use ***
o System of common ownership but separate use
o System of common ownership and common use
Problem of property causes trouble when workers are also the owners à work and rewards
have to be equal
o Difficulties arise under system of community of property
o Presentsystemis preferable: combines merits of system of community of property
with those of system of private property (property should in general be private)
Moral goodness will ensure property of each is made to serve the use of all
Already exists in some cities
Best system is first one
o Kindness and help to others only possible under private ownership of property
1)Temperance in matter of sexual relations and 2) generosity in the use of
However, communism cannot remedy evils which really spring from the defects of human
o Should also consider not only evils spared from common property but benefits
Fallacy into which Socrates falls = an incorrect premise
o Unity not necessary in all respects à at a certain point, a city ceases to be a city if it
advances in unity (as if ―you turned harmony into mere unison‖)
o Education = true means of making a city a community and giving it unity
Character of constitution described by Socrates
o Position of farmers (majority of citizens) left undefined à common or private
o 1 Alternative: If everything is common to them, it becomes unclear the difference
between them and the guardians
o 2 Alternative: If the institutions are the same for the farmers as they are in
“most cities today,” there will inevitably be 2 cities in 1 which will be opposed to
All evils will still exist
Noindication whether it‘s necessary for arrangements between the 2
rd classes to be the same
o 3 Alternative: If farmers have a systemof community of women and systemof
private property, it is unclear who will tend to the house
Element of ―danger‖ in method of government proposed by Socrates in which the o Element of ―danger‖ in method of government proposed by Socrates in which the
same people be rulers all the time
System must cause factional conflict
Obviously necessary for him; the ‗divine gold‘ cannot be mixed in the
souls of different groups
Deprives guardian class of happiness, maintaining that the object of the
legislator should be for the whole city to be happy à means that no one is
o Conclude that constitution raised by ‗Socrates‘ raises many difficulties AristotleBookIII
Aristotle’s Book III Summary
The Theory of Citizenship and Constitutions
A. Citizenship (1-5)
Inthe chapters Aristotle discusses the definition of a citizen. He expresses the citizen to
which he refers is a citizen of a democracy. Then he defines the city as a certain number of
citizens. However, citizens are not defined by virtue of residence, rather by their
involvement in the administration of justice and the holding of office. Office may be
divided into two kinds; some are discontinuous in point of time and some others have no
time limit. Also, commonly speaking, a citizen is usually defined as a person whose parents
are both citizens. However, there can be difficulties in this definition, Aristotle questions of
whether such people are citizens justly or unjustly since they might be citizen under
different constitutions. Further on he goes on to discuss the issue of identity in the city.
Aristotle describes the city as a compound, that like all compounds, is identified according
toits composition (constitution). He, also, says that the city remains its identity as long as
the stock of its inhabitants continues to be the same. A connected matter is the examination
ofthe virtue of a good man in comparison with that of a good citizen It is possible, for a
person to be an excellent citizen yet not an excellent man. The virtue of a citizen is the
capacity to rule and to be ruled. The virtue of an excellent man would be simply the
capacity to rule, not to be ruled. Therefore the good citizen will need to know both how to
rule and to be ruled. Lastly, Aristotle finishes saying that mechanics and laborers should
not be citizens since they can‘t achieve the excellence of a good citizen, but they are
necessary to the existence of the city. However, this varies from one kind of constitution to
B. Constitutions and their Classification (6-8)
Aristotle defines a constitution (politeia) as the organization of a city (polis), in respect of
his offices, but especially in respect of that particular office which sovereign in all issues.
There are just constitutions geared toward bringing about well being for all of their
respective citizens, and unjust constitutions geared toward the benefit of those in power.
Then, he goes on to explain that constitutions vary by the size of the governing body: a
single person; a small, elite group; or the masses. Thus, there are six kinds of government:
three just and three unjust. Just government by a single person is kingship, by a small group
is aristocracy, and by the masses is politeia, or constitutional government, participation in
which is reserved for those who possess arms. The three forms of unjust government are
perversions of the corresponding forms of just government: a kingship directed toward the
sole interest of the ruler is a tyranny; an aristocracy directed toward the sole interest of the
wealthy is an oligarchy; and a constitutional government directed toward the sole interest
ofthe poor is a democracy.
C. The Principles of Oligarchy and Democracy and the Nature of Distributive Justice
Aristotle says that the principle of a constitution is its conceptions of justice; and this is
fundamental ground of difference between oligarchy and democracy. Democrats hold that
if men are equal by birth they should in justice have an equal share in office and honors;
oligarchs on the other hand hold that if they are unequal in wealth they should in justice
have unequal shares of things. Further on Aristotle discusses that the end of the city is the
common promotion of a good quality of life. Those who contribute most to the
realization—inhabit a single territory, engage in marriage, co-operated with each other in
economic matters—should in justice have the largest share of office and honor. Aristotle,
also, examines a number of problems regarding sovereignty. If the governing body is
allowed to determine what is just, then democracies, oligarchies, and tyrannies would then
bejust. And though aristocracies and kingships may rule justly, these systems deprive the
rest of the citizens of the honor of holding civic office. Likewise, laws cannot be allowed to rest of the citizens of the honor of holding civic office. Likewise, laws cannot be allowed to
determine automatically what is just, since they may be formulated unjustly. "The political
good is justice, and this is the common advantage." Justice is considered to be a certain sort
ofequality, but what remains to be determined is what sort of equality and equality in what
things. Persons preeminent in some things may not be preeminent in others, and some
things are more of claim to honor and merit than others. If one person (or small group) is so
superior to the rest that the virtues of all the other citizens are incommensurable, then that
person is not part of the city. Such a person would be "like a god among human beings."
Legislation has to deal with those who are "equal both in stock in capacity." For this
reason, democratic cities exclude those who excel in virtue, because they pursue equality as
the highest good. Because it is for the common good, exclusion does involve a certain
political justice, although it is best if the regime is constructed in such a way that such
ostracism is not necessary. In the best regime, if a person so preeminent in virtue appears
the only proper reaction would have to be for everyone to obey him and to make him king.
Lastly, Aristotle states that absolute kingship is unjust if the persons ruled are equal to the
ruler. When all are equal, the only just situation is to rule and be ruled in turn. But that
arrangement is simply the rule of law. Therefore the rule of law is preferable to the rule of a
single citizen. Having law rule is like having the intellect rule without interference from
appetite. Having a person rule allows desire and appetite to affect decisions. Aristotlebook IV
ARISTOTLE, THE POLITICS
BookIV, chapters 1 and 11
Regime based on presupposition – political scientists should study any given regime how it
might arise initially and in what manner it might be preserved for the longest time once i