Republic by Plato – Book Report/Review Example
The paper "Republic by Plato" is a great example of philosophy book review. The Republic by Plato has been regarded as one of the most influential books of philosophy and political theory and the author is engaged in an ideal state in the book. This Socratic dialogue by Plato examines if the just man is happier than unjust man by comparing the state ruled by philosopher-kings with a society ruled by the guardians. In the Book VII of the work, the author provides an unforgettable image, the allegory of the Cave which illustrates the effects of education on the soul and this illustration leads to an important discussion of education which maintains that the fundamental aim of education of to transform the soul by changing its desires. Another essential topic of discussion in this section is the education of the philosopher-kings. Accordingly, the philosopher-kings initially study music, poetry, physical training, and elementary mathematics which are followed by compulsory physical training for two-three years. Next, they will be trained in Mathematics for ten years and training in dialectic for five years. For the next fifteen years, the candidates will be trained in practical political training. The candidates must be successful in every phase of their education and those who are successful in practical political training will be ‘compelled to lift up the radiant light of their souls’ to the good itself. In this section, the author emphasizes the vital importance of practical political training and this makes the philosopher-kings best equipped for an effective rule. According to the book, the city which has philosopher-kings and the educational institutions for their education is the third and final stage in Plato’s construction of the kallipolis. The philosopher-kings have great responsibility towards the state and its people. At the age of fifty, the philosopher-kings who have been successful in practical matters and science are led to the goal and compelled to lift up the radiant light of their souls to what itself provides light for everything. “And once they’ve seen the good itself, they must each in turn put the city, its citizens, and themselves in order, using it as their model. Each of them will spend his time with philosophy, but, when his turn comes, he must labor in politics and rule for the city’s sake, no t as if he were doing something fine, but rather something that has to be done. Then, having educated others like himself to take his place as guardians of the city, he will depart for the Isles of the Blessed and dwell there.” (Plato, 211-2) Therefore, Plato’s The Republic has been one of the most enlightening books on the role of the rulers and the education of the effective rulers who can be the true guardians of the state.
In Plato’s Republic Plato wrote of Socrates’ encounter with several characters to determine justice and other philosophical truth. Socrates and his fellow characters did not fully explain justice, but several ideas about justice were mulled over. The one definition argued all men would be unjust without fear of retribution. Socrates debated that this type of unjust life would not be lived by a just man.
Theoretically both Glaucon, who advocates an unjust life and Socrates who advocates a just life are both correct. However, both men refuse to acknowledge the individuality or uniqueness between each individual human. A good example would be the invisibility ring. If Mother Theresa put on the invisibility ring, she would probably do well for others without the need for praise. She would not steal, murder, or maim. On the other hand, Madoff (although not convicted) would wear the ring to steal from banks, without having to con anyone. It depends on the person. A just person would act the same whether using an invisibility ring, around people, or alone. A corrupt person afraid to of being caught would steal if the option of not being caught was presented. Criminals not afraid of being caught or going to jail commit heinous crimes. An example would be Charles Manson. He loves being in jail. The individuality must be taken into consideration when talking just and unjust.
The definition of just and unjust cannot be used on humanity as a whole as it relates to Socrates. The one flaw in Socrates’ thinking is the thought that everyone wants to be just. This is where society has to make rules for the greater good of the whole society. A just society allows individuality, but creates just laws to protect citizens. Not all individuals are just, or want to aspire to be just. Socrates created his inner justice measure, like all humans do. This justice system was not universal for all humans.