Plato’s Ideal Society

Plato’s utopia had several features, but he basically tried to make a perfectly just society. in the republic, he examines a few concepts of justice, including justice being telling the truth and repaying your debts, doing good to friends and harm to enemies, and justice being what is in the interest of the stronger. he rejects all these ideas eventually and says that justice is based on a society’s natural division of labor. for example, workers perform optimally when they are specialized- a construction worker can’t possibly have expertise in medicine, likewise a doctor cant possibly have expertise in trade. lso, each person is naturally suited for a certain task. for example, if you’re really smart, you’re better off being a lawyer than a landscaper (of course, these aren’t the examples he gives, i’m just trying to simplify). so, to plato, each person has their own area of expertise that they must focus on. this is a prerequisite for justice, and justice results when everybody does only their designated role and doesn’t interfere with the designated roles of others. the way in which he hopes to establish this is through education. e designates different types of educations for three different levels of society – producers, soldiers, and rulers, and says that each class must be kept strictly distinct. education will begin from early childhood, and each level of education will end in an examination to see if the person is qualified to proceed further in his education. for plato, the ruler is a philsopher who know about Forms rather than their images, and is thus the only one who is qualified to rule. his education and testing would last until he is about 50. he soldiers are both gentle and harsh (like a dog- gentle to friends and harsh to enemies) and respect and uphold the authority of the ruler.

They are to be educated in both physical training and culture. also, they are to have all wives and children in common so as they do not exhibit loyalty towards specific people (family). the children of guardians will not know who their parents are, and likewise guardians will not know who their children are. instead, they consider everyone to be family. a produceer is the lowest class, and they are the most plentiful. othing is spoken about a specific education for them. while the rulers exhibit wisdom and the soldiers exhibit courage, the producers must exhibit a temperance for their desires. all three classes exhibit justice, which for plato is the most important of all virtues. plato says that for this form of government to work, there must be unanimous consent as to who should govern and how they should govern. A big controversy from Plato was that both men and women can hold the same offices in society because they both have the same souls and the same interests. his was virtually unheard of. another way that your place is decided in society is by his ‘noble lie,’ which is called the ‘myth of metals’ and is basically a propaganda to say that people are born with different types of souls – iron, silver and gold. if you have an iron soul, then you are forever to be a producer, if you have a silver soul, you are a soldier, and only those with gold souls can be philosophers. basically in a nutshell, plato’s ideal society is based on a concept of justice, namely, the natural division of labour. hrough the natural division of labour you have three different classes (corresponding to three different parts of the soul)- producers, soldiers, and rulers. the ruler is a phislopher and has true knowledge of each craft and where it should be situated. he directs the city for the benefit of all the people (not just individual groups). the soldiers uphold his authority. the producers provide for themselves, the soldiers (who have no private property) and the rulers. the main idea here is that all the classes work together in harmony to create a just state.

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