Home > Free Essays > Philosophy > Philosophers > Politics and Ethics in Plato’s Republic

Politics and Ethics in Plato’s Republic Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: May 16th, 2022

Introduction

Plato is widely believed to be one of the greatest philosophers of all time. He was born in Athens in 427 to a rich affluent family. He is believed to be among the first philosophers in his country of birth, Greece. On the other hand, it was after Socrates’ death that Plato showed a keen interest in politics. An oligarchy that was known as Thirty Tyrants assumed power in the year 404 and a lot of widespread eliminations of political opponents were witnessed during this period (Pater 83). An interesting philosopher worth noting, from his humble beginnings as a calm and composed young man, to rise to become one of the greatest ever philosophers who ever lived (Pater 98).

Main Body

Plato lived during the Age of Synthesis. After the Peloponnesian war, he was convinced by his uncle to join the oligarchical rules of Athens but as an alternative, he joined his two brothers in becoming a student of Socrates. It was during this period that Socrates forced them to carefully examine and challenge their ideas critically, which was a painstakingly antagonizing process. According to (Pater 98), Socrates trained his students that, “it is the utmost good for a man to converse desirable qualities each day and those other effects about which you hear me conversing and testing myself and others, for the unexamined life is not worth living”.

Plato was a rival of the Sophists but he paid attention to values rather than on physical science just like them. Aristotle endorsed Socrates by emphasizing moral questions and accurate definitions and Plato captivated these lessons. Plato was not a friend to both the thirty tyrants who has reigned for only eight months as well as he did not also commiserate with the Athenian Democracy who came to power after the tyrants. He alienated them by his method of significant cross-examination. In the year 399 BC, he was taken to trial with the crimes of religious transgression and dishonesty of the youth, and he was convicted and sentenced to death (Plato & Tredennick 189)

Plato’s writings

Plato started a career as a theoretical writer and he self-possessed several short ethical dialogues that were mainly dedicated to portraying how Socrates obligated his followers to realize that they were incapable to offer reasonable arguments for their ethical beliefs (Plato & Trendennick 224). Notably, Plato wanted to use his writings for the sole purpose of preserving the memory of his teacher, Socrates. Plato’s writings are generally divided into three:

  • the Early dialogues
  • the Middle dialogues
  • the Late dialogues

Early dialogues

In these dialogues, Socrates is the main character and Plato is believed to be expressing his views.

Middle dialogues

In these dialogues, Plato begins by expressing his views, in the pretext of Socrates. The Symposium and the Republic are the most significant imperative works during this period (Plato & Trendennick 301)

Late dialogues

The later dialogues were about the enlargement of the philosophy articulated in the earlier ones even though they are the most thorny ones of Plato’s works

Philosophy of Plato

The important aspects of platonic philosophy were:

  • Metaphysics
  • Epistemology
  • Politics and Ethics

Metaphysics

This means that the ultimate reality is spiritual. According to (Hare 35), Plato gives details in the Timaeus, the obligation of postulating a preceding idea or form for every material object. He gave the case where a dwelling must continue living before the material shape can take place. Where any house subsisted, it matched the common idea of the house.

Epistemology

According to (Hare 67), Platonic epistemology was exaggerated by the contemplation of a source of familiarity, prior truths, rationalism, unconditional truth, and analysis of truth.

Politics and ethics

Plato thought that justice was the mainly imperative asset of all virtues. He believed that justice could only exist in a fair and democratic state. He thought his ideal state should be:

  • Ruled by the best leaders. The perfect government would be ruled by leaders who demonstrated good leadership abilities.
  • Organization of the democratic state that would be made up of guardians, warriors, and workers.
  • Virtue where the proper virtues for each group would contain: wisdom, courage, and temperance.
  • The virtuous state where he alleged that the state could be only just when its populace had insight, courage, and self-control. If this would be effectively applied then the people would be subordinate to the state.
  • Eugenics where he believed that the procreation of children would be controlled by the state and through the careful selection of partners, then the race would be strengthened by improved children (Plato & Tredennick 220)

Overview of Plato’s ethics

Like most philosophers, Plato maintains a high caliber based on eudemonistic ethics. This is to say that, human well-being is the highest aim of moral thought and conduct; the virtues are the essential skills and character traits (Hare 74). If Plato’s support for a moral code of support seems to some degree unresponsive that is due to some reasons. First of all, his notion of bliss varies in noteworthy ways from regular views. For that reason, Plato allocates as much time to deject the traditional understanding of the good life as to describing his notion. Secondly, Plato observes happiness as a state of accomplishment that is difficult to outline out because it is based on metaphysical beliefs that seem both unclear and out of the area of average understanding. For this basis, there is not as there is in Aristotle much talk about contentment as a self-sufficient state of the active human being; the stress is, rather, on troubles and tribulations that need to be solved (Hare 102) Thirdly, Plato’s principled thoughts appear both serious and self-abnegating; the soul is to remain detached from the pleasures of the body; communal life demands the subordination of individual wishes and aims (Hare 109) The intricacy of reviewing Plato’s ethical thought is complex by the fact that it was a spot under debate to an array of modifications in his long life.

In the early dialogues, there are no implications that the look for good qualities and the person’s well-being goes beyond the human area. On the other hand, this amends with the rising awareness in all immediate metaphysical basis of familiarity in Plato’s middle dialogues which directs one to the appreciation of the Forms – the factual temperament of all effects, ultimate in the appearance of the good as the motivating opinion of all uprightness’s. Even though the theory of the forms is not restricted to human values but grips the nature of all there is, Plato at this point seems to suppose no more than a resemblance amid human affairs and enormous accord.

Conclusion

Plato was born into a rich and noble family in Athens. At first, his name was Aristocles which means the finest and well-known (Hare 98) He got the name Plato in his formative years since he had very large shoulders. He did exceptionally well in both sports and academics and at the age of twenty, he became a student of Socrates. During the execution of Socrates in 404 BC, he became disappointed with democracy. Plato left Athens following this but returned after a while and bought an academy dedicated to the god Academus. Most of his teachings evolved around dialogues between Socrates and others involving philosophical issues. He applied the dialogues in his school. As I have discussed above, Plato did not sympathize with the thirty tyrants who have reigned for only eight months as well as he did not also sympathize with the Athenian Democracy who came to power after the tyrants, as he believed in a fair and just government. His work has continued to endear to many fans especially the people who are greatly interested in philosophy.

Works Cited

Hare Richard. Plato: past masters. Oxford, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982 pp 34-82

Palter Walter. Plato and Platonism. Minneapolis, MN: Kessinger Publishing, 2004 pp54-172

Plato and Tredennick Hugh. The last days of Socrates. New York, NY: Penguin Classics, 2003 pp 134-256

This essay on Politics and Ethics in Plato’s Republic was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, May 16). Politics and Ethics in Plato's Republic. https://ivypanda.com/essays/platos-ethics-overview/

Reference

IvyPanda. (2022, May 16). Politics and Ethics in Plato's Republic. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/platos-ethics-overview/

Work Cited

"Politics and Ethics in Plato's Republic." IvyPanda, 16 May 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/platos-ethics-overview/.

1. IvyPanda. "Politics and Ethics in Plato's Republic." May 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/platos-ethics-overview/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "Politics and Ethics in Plato's Republic." May 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/platos-ethics-overview/.

References

IvyPanda. 2022. "Politics and Ethics in Plato's Republic." May 16, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/platos-ethics-overview/.

References

IvyPanda. (2022) 'Politics and Ethics in Plato's Republic'. 16 May.

Powered by CiteTotal, best citation website
More related papers