Plato's Republic revision notes full PHIL 4 A2

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In Books II, III, and IV, Plato identifies political justice as harmony in a
structured political body. An ideal society consists of three main classes of
people--producers (craftsmen, farmers, artisans, etc.), auxiliaries
(warriors), and guardians (rulers)
What does Plato define as political justice, and when is a society just? A society is just when relations between these three classes are right.
Each group must perform its appropriate function, and only that function,
and each must be in the right position of power in relation to the others.
Rulers must rule, auxiliaries must uphold rulers' convictions, and producers
must limit themselves to exercising whatever skills nature granted them
(farming, blacksmithing, painting, etc.)
Justice is a principle of specialization: a principle that requires that each
person fulfil the societal role to which nature befitted him and not
interfere in any other business.
At the end of Book IV, Plato tries to show that individual justice mirrors
political justice. He claims that the soul of every individual has a three part
structure analogous to the three classes of a society.
How does Plato try to show that individual justice mirrors political There is a rational part of the soul (which seeks after truth and is
justice, and how is this analogous to the 3 classes of society? responsible for our philosophical inclinations); a spirited part of the soul,
(which desires honour and is responsible for our feelings of anger and
indignation); and an appetitive part of the soul, (which lusts after all sorts
of things, but money most of all (since money must be used to fulfil any
other base desire).
The just individual can be defined in analogy with the just society; the
three parts of his soul achieve the requisite relationships of power and
How can the just individual be defined in analogy with the just society? influence in regard to one another. In a just individual, the rational part of
the soul rules, the spirited part of the soul supports this rule, and the
appetitive part of the soul submits and follows wherever reason leads.
Put more plainly: in a just individual, the entire soul aims at fulfilling the
desires of the rational part, much as in the just society the entire
community aims at fulfilling whatever the rulers will.

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The parallels between the just society and the just individual run deep.
Each of the three classes of society, in fact, is dominated by one of the
three parts of the soul.
How do each of the 3 classes of society parallel the 3 parts of the soul? Producers are dominated by their appetites--their urges for money,
luxury, and pleasure. Warriors are dominated by their spirits, which make
them courageous. Rulers are dominated by their rational faculties and
strive for wisdom.…read more

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One might notice that none of these arguments actually prove that justice
is desirable apart from its consequences--instead, they establish that
Do Plato's arguments that it is desirable to be just actually prove justice is always accompanied by true pleasure.
themselves to be correct? What is the other explanation? In all probability, none of these is actually supposed to serve as the main
reason why justice is desirable.…read more

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Justice is the advantage of the stronger because when stupid, weak
people behave in accordance with justice, they are disadvantaged, and
the strong (those who behave unjustly) are advantaged.
An alternate reading of Thrasymachus's bold statement (that justice is
solely the advantage of the stronger over the weak) makes his claim
seem slightly more subtle.
According to this reading (put forward by C.D.C.…read more

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The principle of specialization keeps the farmer from carpentering, and
the carpenter from farming. More important, it keeps both the farmer
and the carpenter from becoming warriors and rulers.
How does the principle of Specialisation allow for a just city? The principle of specialization separates society into three classes: the
class of producers (including farmers, craftsmen, doctors, etc.), the class
of warriors, and the class of rulers. Specialization ensures that these
classes remain in fixed relations of power and influence.…read more

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OBJECT/FIELD: What is and isn't (Darker than knowledge, but clearer than
EFFECT: To know things fallibly (as opinion/belief is not the same as true
justified knowledge)
What is justice? Why should we be just? Book 1 sets up these challenges.
The interlocutors engage in a Socratic dialogue similar to that found in
Plato's earlier works.…read more

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Socrates points out that there is some incoherence in the idea
of harming people through justice.
At first, the only challenge was to define justice; now justice must be
defined and proven to be worthwhile. Socrates has three arguments to
employ against Thrasymachus' claim.
First, he makes Thrasymachus admit that the view he is advancing
promotes injustice as a virtue. In this view, life is seen as a continual
competition to get more (more money, more power, etc.…read more

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At no other time in the year is sex permitted. If guardians have sex at an
undesignated time and a child results, the understanding is that this child
must be killed.
Socrates deals with a few other issues pertaining to the guardians'
lifestyle, all of them relating to war. He states that children training to
become guardians should be taken to war so they can watch and learn
the art as any young apprentice does.…read more

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In order to back up his claim that only philosophers can have knowledge,
Socrates paints a fascinating metaphysical and epistemological picture.
He divides all of existence up into three classes: what is completely //
what is in no way // and what both is and isn't.…read more

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That only "what is completely" is completely knowable is a difficult idea
to accept, even when we understand what Plato means to indicate by
speaking of the Forms.
Consider our beautiful woman. Remember that she is at the same time
Why is the claim that only "what is completely" is completely knowable
both beautiful and not beautiful and that her beauty must inevitably fade.…read more


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