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Plato's Republic

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Slides regarding Plato's Republic for an undergraduate course in Political Thought that I taught between 2003-2005.

Slides regarding Plato's Republic for an undergraduate course in Political Thought that I taught between 2003-2005.

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  • Learning objectives: 1.) To become acquainted with Plato’s ideas as expressed in the Republic . 2.) To be able to situate this ideas within the broader context of Greek politics and Athenian democracy. 3.) To abstract the assumptions that underlie Plato’s political philosophy as expressed in the Republic .
  • Transcript

    • 1. Plato’s Republic Plato’s Republic
    • 2. Overview
      • Background on Greek politics
      • Brief biography of Plato
      • Plato’s ideal state in the Republic
      • Analysis of Plato’s political ideas
      Overview
    • 3. Greek Politics
      • The fundamental locus of Greek politics was the polis (city-state)
      • In the polis “civic space” lay at the center of the community
      • All citizens were expected to engage in politics
      Greek Politics
    • 4. On Democracy
      • Democracy is often associated with Ancient Greece (where it originated)
      • However, democracy was only confined to a few poleis , most notably Athens
      • Greek democracies did not function as democracies today do
      On Democracy
    • 5. Who was Plato?
      • Aristocrat born around 427 BC .
      • Grew up in the years after the Peloponnesian War
      • Lived through the high point of Athenian democracy
      • Studied under Socrates , taught Aristotle
      Who was Plato?
    • 6. What is a State?
      • States come about because individuals have needs they cannot satisfy alone
      • Individuals with different talents have complementary needs
      What is a State?
    • 7. What is Plato’s Ideal State? What is Plato’s Ideal State? TRADESMEN GUARDIANS RULERS (AUXILIARIES)
    • 8. What sets Guardians apart?
      • Training
      • Guardians are trained to value state interests above personal interests
      • Communal lifestyle
      • They are to receive no salaries and share everything with each other
      • In the case of rulers, wisdom
      What sets Guardians apart?
    • 9. Who should rule?
      • Philosopher-King
        • Has a grasp of the true and enduring
        • Would not fear death , would be fair-minded , gentle and sociable
        • Would necessarily be brave , temperate and thereby just
        • Would work to preserve the status quo
      Who should rule?
    • 10. Other (sort of) Interesting Things Plato Discusses
      • Composition of the soul: wisdom , courage , temperance and justice
      • The concept of the “ just state ” and of justice in general
      • The equality of men and women
      Other (sort of) Interesting Things Plato Discusses
    • 11. Analysis
      • Plato’s ideas in the Republic are clearly undemocratic on the whole
        • He highlights democracy’s weakness as a populist machine
      • His ideas are rooted in his view of man as possessing specific talents
      Analysis
    • 12. More Analysis
      • Plato emphasizes unity as the supreme value of the state
        • concept of organic unity
      • He recognizes that the state exists to ensure the happiness of everyone , not just a particular class
      More Analysis
    • 13. Even More Analysis
      • In Plato’s view, the basis of political rule is knowledge
        • In this regard, the “best” should rule
      • He also points out that for rulers to be effective, they must put the public interest before private concerns
      Even More Analysis

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