Platos final Thoughts on the Relationship between Philosophy and the City
In this final defense, Plato makes certain remarks about the relationship between philosophy and the City. The City of Athens occupies a very significant position in the history and development of philosophy. In the dialogue, Socrates tries to paint a picture of a perfect and successful city. He then proceeds to evaluate the constitution of the city with other defective laws in order to illustrate how a successful city ought to be governed (Morrison, 2010). As such, in order to develop a true unique and perfect city, Socrates thinks of a perfect city as it is built from scratch to establish itself based on moral principles and good leadership values. Socrates discusses about a city he established with Glaucon and Adeimantus before stipulating the varius forms of government and leadership that would thrive in such a city. He notes that there are four basic forms of government that can thrive in the city. These are timocracy, plutocracy, democracy and tyranny or despotism.
He defines timocracy as the government comprising of people who love ruling with honor. He states that this kind of governance emerges from aristocracy as a result of a civil war involving the ruling class and the rest of the population. On the other hand plutocracy or oligarchy emerges from discrepancies between desire for honor and economic status of individuals (Morrison, 2010). Wealth will help create injustice in the society by encouraging criminals to participate in crime, promoting personal greed and poor leadership. Consequently, the poor people in the society will gang up against the wealthy, thus ushering in a new form of governance, democracy. This new system of governance will be based on freedom of these people to make their choices on leadership. However, this freedom is also likely to lead to another system of governance, that of tyranny.
Therefore, through this discussion, Plato is able to bring out the relationship between philosophy and the city. For example, he identifies leadership based on moral principles as the best form of governance as opposed to oppressive regimes and those that focus on amercing wealth instead of promoting good values in the society (Kamtekar, 2004). As such, Platos final thoughts on the relationship between the city and philosophy can be summed up as instating the right leadership in the city that is based on moral principles and the need for improving the welfare of the majority of the people. Therefore, philosophy would help achieve this objective by allowing people to interrogate their leadership and seek new ways of improving their situation.
Political science researches the responsibilities of the statesman or politician, in as much as the way that doctors are concerned with medical science. It is, in truth, the body of knowledge that such practitioners, if proficient, shall also wield in attempting their duties. The most critical duty for the congressman is, in the performance of the role of a lawgiver. This includes enduring customs, laws and institutions for the citizens (Kamtekar, 2004).
Plato repeatedly associates congressman to craftsman. The resemblance is because politics, in the austere knowledge of legislative science, is a type of practical prudence or wisdom but true to the extent that the legislator maintains, operates and produces a constitutional system by the set universal principles. To understand this relationship, it is essential to note that Plato illustrates the creation of an artifact regarding four causes: the formal, efficient, material and final causes.
Why does he come to these conclusions?
Plato comes to these conclusions because of the challenges that the city of Athens was experiencing in terms of its leadership. Therefore, by using Socrates dialogues, he would be able to bring the main issues of governance to the core of the Athenians who would then interrogate their approach on leadership and seek to improve their society in the long run.
What is the nature of the compromise and why does it emerge?
The relationship between philosophy and politic is very crucial in enhancing good governance. However, for philosophy to effectively interact with politics there has to be a compromise. Plato considers such a compromise to be the leadership of philosopher kings. In order for there to be good political discourse, the philosophers must be left to play a central role in promoting good and sound political systems in the country. Socrates defines his role in the Athenian society appropriately (Kamtekar, 2004). He states that it is his job to deliver these people. According to Socrates, the government at the time was using resources badly and not even appreciating the efforts made by the soldiers. He knew that this was his role from the fact that people feared the government and did not have the mettle to deal with this (Morrison, 2010).
Creation of the Just City
Having established the compromise between politics and philosophy, the next Socratic dialogue focuses on finding justice for both the people and the city. He concurs that the city is greater than any single individual. Consequently, Socrates proceeds to create what he considers to be the perfect or the ideal city that is capable of providing justice to its citizens.
Plato asserts that the main objective of a good states to deliver justice to its people. Therefore, the ideal state must be included towards justice. However, a state cannot by itself determine what is just and what is not. As such, Plato considers justice to be on one of the main forms. Therefore, it is only recommended that philosophers be the main statesmen in a just state as they are better placed in identifying justice and delivering it to the people.
For Plato, a just state comprises of three main structures, the leadership or guardians, the auxiliaries or the military, and the artisans. The guardians, who are the top most leaders in the state must be philosophers (Kamtekar, 2004). On the other hand, the auxiliaries comprise of the military that aids the leaders to govern. Finally, the artisans comprise of the working class in the society and include people such as farmers, musicians, teachers, and artisans among others.
Plato defines the constitution as a way of organizing the offices of the city-state, particularly the sovereign office. The constitution thus defines the governing body, which takes different forms: for example, in a democracy it is the people, and in an oligarchy it is a select few. Before attempting to distinguish and evaluate various constitutions Plato considers two questions (Kamtekar, 2004). First, why does a city-state come into being? He recalls the thesis, defended in the Republic that human beings are by nature political animals, who naturally want to live together.
What is the nature of the Just City?
A just city is one that is highly organized in a hierarchical structure that can ensure there is good governance that promotes the values and respect for everybody.
How does it come into being?
The city comes into being through a revolution by the majority of the people who decide to change the leadership of their city to ensure it promotes their interests
Why is it healthy?
The city is health because it is based on values such as justice and freedom of the people as well as a harmonious coexistence.
What does his reveal about Platos theory of human nature and politics?
This indicates that Platos theory of human nature an d politics is based on the need for promoting just courses in the society.
Why is this important?
This is particularly important because it helps to maintain peace and harmony in the society.
Why is the healthy city insufficient for Glaucon and others?
The healthy city is insufficient for Glaucon and others because of its inability to deliver on the promise of good governance and justice
What does this reveal about human nature?
This shows that human nature is only based on promoting personal interests as every person seeks to advance what they like for themselves.
Why does Plato call this a feverish city?
Plato calls the city feverish because it fails in providing good governance
What does this mean for human beings and Politics?
This shows that good politics in most cases depends on the ability of the leaders to put the interests of the society a head of their own personal interests.
What is this important?
This is critical because it helps in the identification of good leaders that can promote good governance.
What are some of the challenges resulting from the feverish city?
Feverish city receives many challenges resulting from poor leadership that promotes the interests of only a few people instead of focusing on the broader interests of the community.
What does the emergence of this feverish city have to do with the emergence of the guardian class?
The emergence of the guardian class is necessary because it represents a crop of highly knowledgeable and skilled leaders who can help promote the interests of the community and ensure there is good governance.
Why is this important?
This is important because the guardians help to provide the solution for good governance which the society has been looking for.
Why does the need for guardians initiate the need for noble lies?
The noble lies are only told to protect the society from harmful truth that can disintegrate the community. As such, noble lies are meant to promote unit and serve for the good of the community.
What makes noble lies noble?
The lies are noble because they have clear objective of ensuring the good of the community is protected
What does his further reveal about Platos conception of human nature and capacity for justice?
Plato considers that justice must be executed at all costs even if it means hiding the truth form the rest of the people in promoting a just cause.
What is the nature of the education of the guardians?
The guardians comprise of highly learned individuals in the society with an educational background in philosophy.
Why does Plato think they have to be educated this way?
They have to be educated in this way so that they understand the importance of critical thinking, virtues, what nobility entails for them as the top leaders
What does his further reveal about Platos conception of human nature and politics?
Platos conception of human nature and politics is that good leaders must be well educated in order to comprehend their leadership roles and execute their political mandate effectively.
What is the myth of the metals?
The myth of the metals states that every person has a right to live in the state. Therefore, since all people are born from the city, everyone is a brother or sister to the other. The myth also states that lying can be a good thing in certain circumstances if it if done for the good of the city.
What is the purpose of the myth?
The main purpose of them this to promote unity and harmonious coexistence of the people in the community
Why is this myth important?
This is important because it helps to protect the city from disintegrating, and thus, ensuring that there is unity in the city state.
What does it reveal about Politics?
This indicates that the nature of politics is only aimed at advancing the what the leader considers to be good for the country or city state, even if it means hiding the majority of the people form the truth.
What are the living conditions of the guardian according to Plato?
The guardians must be able to live a life full of virtues that can relate to their noble status in the society. They must also be in apposition to serve their subjects.
Why does Plato do this to them?
Virtues are important in ensuring there is harmony in the community. Thus, Plato considers it necessary for the guardians to be virtuous in order to be wise enough to execute their noble mandate.
Why is this important?
This is important in ensuring that the society is harmonious and that the guardian are able to dispense justice to the people.
What is Platos conception of justice?
Platos concept of justice emanates from his belief that everything on earth follows some kind of hierarchy that helps to create harmony. As such, a just society is one that is able to respect the order of the hierarchical structures for its leadership. On the other hand, injustice results from anarchy.
Why is it just?
This is just because it helps to create harmony and promote peace for the individuals as well as the broader community. Thus, everyone has the freedom to live their lives assured that the city will ensure their freedoms are respected.
Why is this important?
This is important because it ensures that
Why do Philosopher Kings rule?
Philosopher Kings are a crop of leaders that have a background in philosophy and are capable of being critical thinkers that can help the society achieve its mandate. As such, philosopher kings have the necessary skills to facilitate their leadership and governance over the city. They rule over the city because they have the knowledge and skills necessary or helping the city dispense justice to its people.
What is it they know that justifies their power?
What justifies the rule of the philosopher kings is the knowledge they have as well as the relevant skills such as critical and creative thinking skills that can enable them ensure justice is delivered to all individuals in the city.
What does this say about Platos conception of the relationship between philosophy and the city? (pg128).
Based on these comments that Plato makes on page 128, it appears that he perceives the relationship between philosophy and the city to be very vital for the success of the city. As such, philosophy plays a very critical role in helping the city execute its main mandate of promoting a just society for both the individuals and for the city itself.
Morrison, D. R. (2010). The Cambridge Companion to Socrates, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kamtekar, R. (2004). Plato’s Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito. Lanham, Md.: Rowman ; Littlefield.