He was at great pains in his dialogues to exonerate Socrates from accusations of Sophism. In Ethics , Plato had a teleological or goal-orientated worldview, and the aim of his Ethics was therefore to outline the conditions under which a society might function harmoniously. He considered virtue to be an excellence of the soul, and, insofar as the soul has several components e. Finally, justice is that excellence which consists in a harmonious relation of the other three parts. He believed, then, that virtue was a sort of knowledge the knowledge of good and evil that is required to reach the ultimate good or eudaimonia , which is what all human desires and actions aim to achieve , and as such he was an early proponent of Eudaimonism or Virtue Ethics.
Plato's philosophical views had many societal and political implications, especially on the idea of an ideal state or government much influenced by the model of the severe society of Sparta , although there is some discrepancy between his early and later views on Political Philosophy.
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Some of his most famous doctrines are contained in the "Republic" the earliest example of a Utopia , dating from his middle period , as well as in the later "Statesman" and the "Laws". In general terms, Plato drew parallels between the tripartite structure of the individual soul and body "appetite-stomach", "spirit-chest" and "reason-head" and the tripartite class structure of societies. He divided human beings up, based on their innate intelligence, strength and courage, into: the Productive Workers , laborers, farmers, merchants, etc, which corresponds to the "appetite-stomach"; the Protective Warriors , the adventurous, strong and brave of the armed forces, which corresponds to the "spirit-chest"; and the Governing Rulers or Philosopher Kings , the intelligent, rational, self-controlled and wise, who are well suited to make decisions for the community, which corresponds to the "reason-head".
The Philosophers and the Warriors together are thus the Guardians of Plato's ideal state. Plato concluded that reason and wisdom rather than rhetoric and persuasion should govern, thus effectively rejecting the principles of Athenian democracy as it existed in his day as only a few are fit to rule. A large part of the "Republic" then addresses how the educational system should be set up his important contribution to the Philosophy of Education to produce these Philosopher Kings, who should have their reason, will and desires united in virtuous harmony a moderate love for wisdom, and the courage to act according to that wisdom.
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The Philosopher King image has been used by many after Plato to justify their personal political beliefs. He also made some interesting arguments about states and rulers. He argued that it is better to be ruled by a tyrant since then there is only one person committing bad deeds than by a bad democracy since all the people are now responsible for the bad actions.
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- Of Myth, Life, and War in Plato's Republic.
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He predicted that a state which is made up of different kinds of souls will tend to decline from an aristocracy rule by the best to a timocracy rule by the honorable , then to an oligarchy rule by the few , then to a democracy rule by the people and finally to tyranny rule by a single tyrant. In the "Laws" , probably Plato's last work and a work of enormous length and complexity, he concerned himself with designing a genuinely practicable if admittedly not ideal form of government, rather than with what a best possible state might be like.
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He discussed the empirical details of statecraft , fashioning rules to meet the multitude of contingencies that are apt to arise in the "real world" of human affairs , and it marks a rather grim and terrifying culmination of the totalitarian tendencies in his earlier political thought. Plato's views on Aesthetics were somewhat compromised and he had something of a love-hate relationship with the arts. He believed that aesthetically appealing objects were beautiful in and of themselves , and that they should incorporate proportion , harmony and unity among their parts.
As a youth he had been a poet , and he remained a fine literary stylist and a great story-teller. However, he found the arts threatening in that they are powerful shapers of character. Therefore, to train and protect ideal citizens for an ideal society, he believed that the arts must be strictly controlled , and he proposed excluding poets, playwrights and musicians from his ideal Republic, or at least severely censoring what they produced.
He also argued that art is merely imitation of the objects and events of ordinary life, effectively a copy of a copy of an ideal Form. Art is therefore even more of an illusion than is ordinary experience, and so should be considered at best entertainment , and at worst a dangerous delusion. Although he invented the image of two lovers being each other's "other half" , he clearly regards actual physical or sexual contact between lovers as degraded and wasteful forms of erotic expression.
Thus, unless the power of love is channeled into "higher pursuits" culminating in the knowledge of the Form of Beauty , it is doomed to frustration, and people sadly squander the real power of love by limiting themselves to the mere pleasures of physical beauty. On an unrelated note, he is also responsible for the famous myth of Atlantis , which first appears in the "Timaeus". Plato's consideration of epistemology , or the theory of knowledge , comes mainly in the "Theaetetus". In it, he through the person of Socrates considers three different theses - that knowledge is perception , that knowledge is true judgment , and that knowledge is true judgment together with an account - refuting each of them in turn, without leaving us with any definitive conclusion or solution.
One is left, though, with the impression that Plato's own view is probably that what constitutes knowledge is actually a combination or synthesis of all these separate theses. Although the study of Plato's thought continued with the Neo-Platonists , his reputation was completely eclipsed during Medieval times by that of his most famous student, Aristotle. This is mainly because Plato's original writings were essentially lost to Western civilization until they were brought from Constantinople in the century before its fall by the Greek Neo-Platonist George Gemistos Plethon c.
The Medieval Scholastic philosophers, therefore, did not have access to the works of Plato, nor the knowledge of Greek needed to read them. Only during the Renaissance , with the general resurgence of interest in classical civilization , did knowledge of Plato's philosophy become widespread again in the West, and many of the greatest early modern scientists and artists who broke with Scholasticism saw Plato's philosophy as the basis for progress in the arts and sciences.
By the 19th Century, Plato's reputation was restored , and at least on par with Aristotle 's. Plato's influence has been especially strong in mathematics and the sciences. Although he made no important mathematical discoveries himself, his belief that mathematics provides the finest training for the mind was extremely important in the development of the subject over the door of the Academy was written, "Let no one unversed in geometry enter here".
He concentrated on the idea of "proof" , insisting on accurate definitions and clear hypotheses , all of which laid the foundations for the systematic approach to mathematics of Euclid who flourished around B. However, Plato also helped to distinguish between pure and applied mathematics by widening the gap between "arithmetic" now called Number Theory and "logistic" now called Arithmetic.
Plato's name is also attached to the "Platonic solids" convex regular polyhedrons , especially in the "Timaeus" , in which the cube, tetrahedron, octahedron, and icosahedron are given as the shapes of the atoms of earth, fire, air and water, with the fifth Platonic solid, the dodecahedron, being his model for the whole universe.
Plato's beliefs as regards the universe were that the stars, planets, Sun and Moon all move around the Earth in crystalline spheres. The sphere of the Moon was closest to the Earth, then the sphere of the Sun, then Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and furthest away was the sphere of the stars.
Plato on Rhetoric and Poetry
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Thank You! Sports Women sports wear Men sportswear Women athlatic shoes Men athlatic shoes. Living in communities and exchanging products of their labor is natural for them, so that they have capacities for rationality and goodness. Plato, as later Rousseau, believes that once political society is properly ordered, it can contribute to the restoration of morals.
Hence, there are in Plato such elements of the idealistic or liberal world view as the belief in education and progress, and a hope for a better future. The quality of human life can be improved if people learn to be rational and understand that their real interests lie in harmonious cooperation with one another, and not in war or partisan strife. However, unlike Rousseau, Plato does not see the best social and political order in a democratic republic. Opinions overcome truth in everyday life. If philosophers are those who can distinguish between true and false beliefs, who love knowledge and are motivated by the common good, and finally if they are not only master-theoreticians, but also the master-practitioners who can heal the ills of their society, then they, and not democratically elected representatives, must be chosen as leaders and educators of the political community and guide it to proper ends.
They are required to counteract the destabilizing effects of false beliefs on society. Are philosophers incorruptible? In the ideal city there are provisions to minimize possible corruption, even among the good-loving philosophers. They can neither enjoy private property nor family life. Although they are the rulers, they receive only a modest remuneration from the state, dine in common dining halls, and have wives and children in common.
These provisions are necessary, Plato believes, because if the philosopher-rulers were to acquire private land, luxurious homes, and money themselves, they would soon become hostile masters of other citizens rather than their leaders and allies a-b. The ideal city becomes a bad one, described as timocracy , precisely when the philosophers neglect music and physical exercise, and begin to gather wealth b.
Initially chosen from among the brightest, most stable, and most courageous children, they go through a sophisticated and prolonged educational training which begins with gymnastics, music and mathematics, and ends with dialectic, military service and practical city management.
They have superior theoretical knowledge, including the knowledge of the just, noble, good and advantageous, but are not inferior to others in practical matters as well d, e. Being in the final stage of their education illuminated by the idea of the good, they are those who can see beyond changing empirical phenomena and reflect on such timeless values as justice, beauty, truth, and moderation b, b. Goodness is not merely a theoretical idea for them, but the ultimate state of their mind.
If the life of the philosopher-rulers is not of private property, family or wealth, nor even of honor, and if the intellectual life itself seems so attractive, why should they then agree to rule?
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Philosophical life, based on contemplative leisure and the pleasure of learning, is indeed better and happier than that of ruling the state d. Plato assumes that a city in which the rulers do not govern out of desire for private gain, but are least motivated by personal ambition, is governed in the way which is the finest and freest from civil strife d. Philosophers will rule not only because they will be best prepared for this, but also because if they do not, the city will no longer be well governed and may fall prey to economic decline, factionalism, and civil war.
They will approach ruling not as something really enjoyable, but as something necessary c-d. Objections against the government of philosopher-rulers can be made. Firstly, because of the restrictions concerning family and private property, Plato is often accused of totalitarianism.
Especially in the Laws he makes clear that freedom is one of the main values of society d. Other values for which Plato stands include justice, friendship, wisdom, courage, and moderation, and not factionalism or terror that can be associated with a totalitarian state. The restrictions which he proposes are placed on the governors, rather than on the governed.
Secondly, one can argue that there may obviously be a danger in the self-professed claim to rule of the philosophers. Individuals may imagine themselves to be best qualified to govern a country, but in fact they may lose contact with political realities and not be good leaders at all. If philosopher-rulers did not have real knowledge of their city, they would be deprived of the essential credential that is required to make their rule legitimate, namely, that they alone know how best to govern.
As in a few other places in the dialogue, Plato throws his political innovation open to doubt. Their political authority is not only rational but also substantially moral, based on the consent of the governed.
hurtreeraty.ga They regard justice as the most important and most essential thing e. A political order based on fairness leads to friendship and cooperation among different parts of the city. For Plato, as for Solon, government exists for the benefit of all citizens and all social classes, and must mediate between potentially conflicting interests.
Such a mediating force is exercised in the ideal city of the Republic by the philosopher-rulers.