Plato The Republic


Flashcards on Plato The Republic , created by Amna AlNasser on 05/18/2016.
Amna AlNasser
Flashcards by Amna AlNasser, updated more than 1 year ago
Amna AlNasser
Created by Amna AlNasser about 8 years ago

Resource summary

Question Answer
What is the Aim of The Republic? - Plato aims to define justice and explain to the reader that justice is worthwhile - He aims to analyse the notions of Justice in terms of 1) Political justice 2) Societal justice = this analysis is what allows Plato to define his account of individual justice
What books of the republic does Plato introduce the concept of justice? Book 1, 3 and 5
How does Plato define justice with regards to political harmony ? - To define justice, Plato sets out a framework in which the Athenian state will function in - He explains that there are 3 classes in an ideal state 1) Producers 2) Auxiliaries - warriors 3) Guardians = when the 3 classes in an ideal state have the correct power relations, then there is political harmony - To acheive political harmony, the idea of specialisation is key = so from the understanding of an idea politically harmonious state, Plato will define justice as a principle of specialisation - where everyone conducts only their societal role, without interfering with other people's role
How does Book IV introduce individual justice? - By the end of Book 5, Plato introduced the concept of individual justice - He claims that individual justice will mirror political harmony; so it creates political justice To define individual justice; he claims that each individual has a soul which consists of 3 structural analogies 1) The rational element of the soul 2) The appetite 3) The spirit
Based on Plato's understanding of the soul, how does he justify a "just individual" - A just individual will base all their actions on rationality - the rational element will rule over the soul; meaning that the spirit will support the rational rule, and the appetite submits whatever action based on rationality = this is what allows an individual to achieve the correct power-influence relationship, leaving a just individual
How is a just political society achieved? - Based on the understanding of individual justice in book 5, a just political society can only be achieved when the entire community are ruled by the guardians - The rule of the guardians is supported by the warriors, who ensure the producers follow that rule
Explain the overlap between a just individual and a just society - the 2 forms of jusice that plato defined; a just individual and a just scoiety, will overlap = this is because the classes of society, will be dominiated by one of the elements of the soul Producers- they ate dominate dby their appetite; they have a constant need to desire money, luxury and pleasure Warriors- driven by the spirit, making them appear noble and courageous Guardians - dominate dby rationality and knowledge, which is why only the philosophers can become philosopher kings and rule the Athenian state.
What are the 5 main themes in the Republic? 1. Justice as the advantage of the stronger 2. The Principle of specialisation 3. The tripartite soul 4. Sun, Line and Cave analogies 5. It pays off to be just
How does Plato's theme of justice get introduced? - In book 1 of the republic, Thrasymachus sets up a challenge to Plato on the notion of justice Thrasymachus is a sophist; sophists have no understanding of moral truth, they simply rely on what is advantageous or disadvantageous based on logic - Sophists believed that laws and morals are nothing but a mere convention and people should try to et away with the injustices if it was advantageous to them. = Plato introduces his idea of Justice by challenging the Sophist attitude.
How does the challenge on justice get introduced, and what are Thrasymachus's views on justice - Thrasymachus sets the challenge by quoting " justice is nothing but the advantage of the stronger" - He does not attempt to define justice, but claims those who act unjust naturally gain power and will become rulers, so it is the advantage of the stronger. - He argues that when stupid or weak people act according to law, they simply get disadvantaged - Thrasymachus does not disagree with justice, but rather makes the claim that laws or norms of justice are imposed by rulers, simply to promote their own interests = so to Thrasymachus, Justice is simply a tool of oppression
What are the 3 things Plato has to prove to Tharymacus about justice? 1. Justice is good for political harmony 2. Justice is in our best interest as individuals 3. Justice is objective, and is based on morals not advantages or disadvantages = BUT before Plato can provide these claims, he needs to explain what justice is through the principle of specialisation (because justice to Plato is a principle of specialisation)
How does the concept of specialisation define justice? - Rather than defining justice as a set of behavioural norms like most Greek thinkers did, Plato identifies justice as a structural concept 1) Political justice; this resides in the structure of the city 2) Individual justice; this resides in the structure of the soul - the idea of political justice is what links to specialisation - Each individual must specialise in the job that suits their status, so that the structure of the city remains politically harmonious = this is justice
How would a "just city" act, and how can it explain individual justice 1. Rulers control the city through laws 2. Warriors carry commands of rulers onto producers 3. Producers obey warriors and stay under the command of the ruler and simply focusing on their specialisation = if political justice is achieved through specialisation, then the correct structure in the soul can cause individual justice within the tripartite soul.
Explain the tripartite soul and its link to a just individual - Plato states that each soul has an appetite, spirit and rational element - Just individuals will use the rational over the other elements - The most just individual is the philosopher so he has the right to rule the city as the king.
What are Plato's Sun Line and Cave analogies? Plato uses the 3 analogies to explain the idea of a philosopher king - His analogies spell out the metaphysical and epistemological theories that can explain the role of the philosopher as a king of a political community Sun: The analogy of the sun illuminates the nation of the form of the god, which is the philosopher kings ultimate desire Line: this analogy illustrates the notion of the 4 different cognitive activities that humans are capable; only the highest can be achieved by the philosopher Cave; this demonstrates the effect of education on the human soul, and demonstrates how we use the line to develop our cognitive abilities.
Explain the cave analogy - It is an imagenary sceraio where a group of people live in a cave, never seeing anything outside - the people are prisoners, tied to eachother facing a wall - behing them is fire which reflects off the statues to create shaddows; these shaddows are stories which they belive are real - now Plato asks us to imagine that the prisoners get freed and see that the stories were just shadows - Initially they are in disbelief = they see the statue and fire as real, and the shadow as a copy - Plato takes it further to say the prisoners are outside the cave = at this instance, the analogy of the sun is achieved because prisoners that understand the outside world as real have achieved the "form of good" - This also demonstrates the stages that are taken to reach the sun analogy = this is the line analogy
What are the realms set out by the Cave analogy? 1. The visual realm 2. The intelligible realm - once the prisoners are in the cave, they are in the visual real,, but once they have left, they reach the intelligible realm
What are the 4 stages of cognitive abilities reflected in the cave? 1. Lowest ability = Imagination - this is where they are in the visual realm, and use the stories to visualise or imagine reality 2. Belief - this is where they start to believe that the fire and statutes are real, and question what they once knew 3. Forms - this is where they start to form reason of life and its forms 4. Form of good - this is the highest level of understanding - it os when the one turns to the usn and understands the knowledge and reason of existence - Once someone as achieved the form of good, they are on the highest level of cognitive ability.
Why does it "pay off to be just"? - One of the main objectives of The Republic is to show the readers that it pays off to be just and that justice is not based on a sophist claim - To answer this question Plato has 3 main arguments set out in book IX 1) Plato sets out a psychological portrait of the tyrant in an attempt to show that justice is beyond the psyche 2) Plato states that are 3 social classes have their own concepts of pleasure and good, but only the philosopher is able to judge that since he is able to achieve all 3 pleasures simultaneously = money loving, honnon loving and truth loving. 3) Plato states that only the philosophers pleasure is real pleasure - the others are merely a form of pain
What is Plato's criticism of democracy? - Chronologically speaking, Plato was the first to criticise democracy - Just like his teacher socrates, Plato doubted the capacity of the people to make rational choice with regards to who should rule the Athenian state - This was because he thought that with time, Democracy would simply fall into tyranny - Plato viewed that democracy would cause a common conflict between the collective good and the individuals who rule on their desires; he argues that ordinary people could not comprehend the common good, and this is why he viewed democratic power as "foolish, brutal and vicious" - He states that the majority should not rule due to their inability to see reality = this links to the cave where the world is simply a shadow of the truth, and only a minority can see the true intelligible realm. - He argues that if the majority saw the real world, they would have used rationality and this will make them fit to rule = but this is not the case, and so only the philosopher king should rule
Does Plato completely disagree with democracy? _ Plato does not necessarily go against the idea of democracy itself, but if a democracy was able to come to a rational and just argument, then maybe he could accept it - With this in mind, the analysis of the Athenian state shows that it is very unlikely that any form of democracy would easily satisfy him.
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