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Justice & Power, session ii, Plato

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The first of ten studies of political philosophy. With Plato we begin at the beginning.

The first of ten studies of political philosophy. With Plato we begin at the beginning.

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  • 1. PlatoJustice & Power--session ii
  • 2. Topics in This Sessioni.introductionii.Classical Greeceiii.Platoiv.Politea (Republic)v.Criticism
  • 3. Introduction
  • 4. Introduction
  • 5. In the late 1960s it became fashionable to criticize the teachingof Western Civilization as a source of white racism or culturalchauvinism. By emphasizing the deeds and thoughts of theancestors of European Americans, the impression might growthat Asians, Africans and Amerindians were people withouthistory, without culture… clearly inferior. “Why begin every[expletive deleted] course with the Greeks?” Yippie leaderJerry Rubin [Walnut Hills High School, Class of 1956] asked acrowd of young Cincinnatians at a rally at Eden Park just priorto the Chicago Conspiracy trial [in 1969]. A valid question,however rudely put. Why should our inquiry begin with a small,sparsely settled region of the ancient Mediterranean world? James B. Powers, Justice & Power, p. 1
  • 6. The Heartland of Classical Greece Socrates would use the image of “frogs around apond” to describe the Greek city-states around the Aegean Sea
  • 7. Fourth century B.C. Greece might justly be consideredpoor, perhaps barbaric, or even insignificant by a citizenof one of the river states---Egypt or Persia nearby, orthe Indus or Yellow River empires of ancient Asia. TheGolden Age of Classical Greece passed quickly, but in asense the achievements of Hellas have never since beensurpassed. Ibid.
  • 8. As Bertrand Russell, thegreat twentieth centuryphilosopher, has said ofGreek civilization: Based on an underlying principle of harmony, it was torn by internal strife, and this may have enhanced its greatness. For though it never could evolve a viable panhellenic state, it c o n q u e re d a l l t h o s e w h o conquered the land of Hellas, and to this day remains the framework of the West. Wisdom of the West, p. 35
  • 9. Plato and his student Aristotle are universally held to epitomizeGreek academic thought. “It may be true that all succeedingpolitical philosophy is a footnote to and a commentary on Plato,Professor Michael Curtis has written [quoting Alfred NorthWhitehead] (The Great Political Theories, 1961, p. 23). With Plato’sRepublic, quite simply, we are beginning at the beginning. This ishumankind’s first attempt to systematically and intelligently recorda search for the ideal way to live. Ibid.
  • 10. This perfect condition was ascribed by other earlier orcontemporary cultures, such as the aforementioned riverkingdoms or the post-exilic Jewish state, to divine activity orrevelation. With characteristic Greek self-confidence Platopresents his program as the product of an evening’s conversation.The atmosphere of the dialogue is one of curiosity, intellectualrivalry, humor, and moral earnestness---with here and thereevidence of the wine which inevitably fueled a Greek symposium. Ibid.
  • 11. This perfect condition was ascribed by other earlier orcontemporary cultures, such as the aforementioned riverkingdoms or the post-exilic Jewish state, to divine activity orrevelation. With characteristic Greek self-confidence Platopresents his program as the product of an evening’s conversation.The atmosphere of the dialogue is one of curiosity, intellectualrivalry, humor, and moral earnestness---with here and thereevidence of the wine which inevitably fueled a Greek symposium. Ibid. Attic red figure Krater, ca. 390 BC at the J. Paul Getty Museum
  • 12. Plato, the man who invented higher education with his Academy,invites you to be one of the silent listeners. Socrates is thenarrator; Plato’s two brothers, Glaucon and Adeimantus, speak,as does the host, a rich and aged merchant Cephalus, and his sonPolemarchus. Socrates’ chief adversary is the sophistThrasymachus, a cynical professional wise man or tutor. Ibid.
  • 13. Plato, the man who invented higher education with his Academy,invites you to be one of the silent listeners. Socrates is thenarrator; Plato’s two brothers, Glaucon and Adeimantus, speak,as does the host, a rich and aged merchant Cephalus, and his sonPolemarchus. Socrates’ chief adversary is the sophistThrasymachus, a cynical professional wise man or tutor. Ibid.
  • 14. Once you have listened to the plan proposed “just last night,”you may become a disciple like Plato’s brothers. Or, likeThrasymachus and after him Aristotle, you may remain a skepticalcritic. But like every political theorist since Plato’s day, you cannotbe ignorant of the ideas discussed that night and expect aneducated audience to give weight to your ideas. Ibid.
  • 15. Classical Greece
  • 16. Classical Greece
  • 17. Hellas-the common heritage
  • 18. Hellas-the common heritage
  • 19. I. Classical Greece A. Hellas - the common heritage 1. Homer 2. Pre-Socratics a. Milesians - sceptics b. Pythagoreans - ascetics c. Heraclitus d Eleatics - Parmenides & Zeno e. the Sophists - Protagoras B. Polis - irreconcilable differences 1. Citizens and “others” 2. Sparta, Athens et al. a. experience and theory b. metropolis and colonies 3. Persian Wars, 490-70 B.C. 4. Periclean Athens 5. Peloponnesian War, 431-04 B.C. Justice & Power, p. 3
  • 20. Apotheosis of Homer J.A.D. Ingres, 1827
  • 21. He was not the Greek Bible; he was the representative and spokesman of theGreeks. He was quintessentially Greek. The stamp of the Greek genius iseverywhere on his two epics, in the banishment of the ugly and the frightfuland the senseless; in the conviction that gods were like men and men able to begodlike; in the courage and undaunted spirit with which the heroes faced anyopponent, human or divine, even Fate herself; in the prevailing atmosphere ofreason and good sense…. Homer was the great molding force of Greecebecause he was so Greek himself. Edith Hamilton, The Greek Way, p. 212
  • 22. Pre-Socratic PhilosophyMilesians-scepticsPythagoreans-asceticsHeraclitusEleatics Parmenides Zenothe Sophists-Protagoras
  • 23. Milesiansphilosophers from the Greek colony of MiletusThales, Anaximander, Anaximenes Θαλῆς, c. 624 BC – c. 546 BC Ἀναξίμανδρος c. 610 – c. 546 BC Άναξιμένης 585 BC-528 BCE
  • 24. Milesians one of the Seven Sages, father of philosophy (and science), he began to doubt his senses and inquire Θαλῆς, attempted to explain natural phenomena without reference c. 624 BC – c. 546 BC to mythology his first principle--the world started from water he was followed by Anaximander who also doubted (σκεπσις-skepsis, skepticism) Ἀναξίμανδρος c. 610 – c. 546 BC an indefinite (apeiron) principle gives rise to all natural phenomena finally, Anaximenes joined the argument his first principle--air Άναξιμένης 585 BC-528 BC
  • 25. Milesians one of the Seven Sages, father of philosophy (and science), he began to doubt his senses and inquire Θαλῆς, attempted to explain natural phenomena without reference c. 624 BC – c. 546 BC to mythology his first principle--the world started from water he was followed by Anaximander who also doubted (σκεπσις-skepsis, skepticism) Ἀναξίμανδρος c. 610 – c. 546 BC an indefinite (apeiron) principle gives rise to all natural phenomena finally, Anaximenes joined the argument his first principle--air Άναξιμένης 585 BC-528 BC
  • 26. Pythagoras and his followers salute the sunrise-Fyodor Bronnikov, 1869
  • 27. little reliable information about himis known. He may have travelled toEgypt in his youth530-he moved to Croton, a Greekcolony in Southern Italy where heestablished a communal secthis disciples followed asceticpractices such as vegetarianism.They were called the mathematikoiΜαθηματικοι (learners)their first principle of the cosmos Πυθαγόρας c. 570 – c. 495 BCwas number
  • 28. a proof of Pythagoras theorem, showinghow by rearranging triangles the areas a2+ b2 and c2 can be shown to be the same.The area of the outer square neverchanges, and the total area of the fourright triangles is the same at both the tetraktysbeginning and the end, therefore the a mystical symbol, “source of the rootsblack area at the beginning, a2 + b2, must of ever-flowing nature”equal the black area at the end, c2.
  • 29. he was considered obscure, even by contemporaries famous for asserting change as the basis of the cosmos-panta rhei kai ouden menei (everything burns, nothing remains) but he is also known for hodos ano kato-(the upward-downward path) another first principle of the cosmosἩράκλειτος ὁ Ἐφέσιος was the Logos. Its meaning is arguable —Hērákleitos ho Ephésios c. 535 – c. 475 BC
  • 30. he describes two views of reality. In"the way of truth", he explains howreality (coined as "what-is") is one,change is impossible, and existence istimeless, uniform, necessary, andunchanging--his first principleIn "the way of opinion," he explains theworld of appearances, in which onessensory faculties lead to conceptionswhich are false and deceitfulThese ideas strongly influenced thew h o l e o f We s t e r n p h i l o s o p h y , Παρμενίδης ὁperhaps most notably through its Ἐλεάτης fl. early 5th century BCeffect on Plato
  • 31. not to be confused with Zeno of Citium founder of the Stoic school member of the Eleatic School founded by Parmenides, his erotes. Aristotle called him the inventor of the dialectic 449-Plato describes a visit to Athens by Zeno and Parmenides, at a time when Parmenides is "about 65," Zeno is "nearly 40" and Socrates is "a very young man" best known for his paradoxes, which Bertrand Russell has described as "immeasurably subtle and profound" Achilles & the tortoise: In a race, the quickest runner can never overtake the slowest, since the pursuer must first reach Ζήνων ὁ Ἐλεάτης the point whence the pursued started, so that c. 490 – c. 430 BC the slower must always hold a lead Zeno shows the Doors to Truth and Falsity (Veritas et Falsitas). Fresco in the Library of El Escorial, Madrid.
  • 32. Polis-irreconcilable differences
  • 33. B. Polis - irreconcilable differences 1. Citizens and “others” 2. Sparta, Athens et al. a. experience and theory b. metropolis and colonies 3. Persian Wars, 490-79 B.C. 4. Periclean Athens 5. Peloponnesian War, 431-04 B.C. Justice & Power, p. 3
  • 34. “Citizens” and otherseach of the more than 1,000 poleis had its own definitionof who was a citizennone enfranchised slaves, females or minorsresident aliens (metoikoi) were usually excluded as wellin Athens, the largest polis, birthplace of democracy,estimates place the number of polites (citizens) at40-50,000 out of a total population of several hundredthousandpolitical participation was only one of the irreconcilabledifferences
  • 35. barbaroi--the ultimate otherour word “barbarian” comes from the Greekit’s how they mocked the “incomprehensible speech” ofthe savage non-Hellenes. cf. our “blah, blah, blah”even enlightened philosophers had no doubts of Greekracial and cultural superiority to other ethnicities
  • 36. the two most famous of the many different and fractious Greek poleis Sparta-the way of wartheir struggle for hegemony will ultimately destroy Classical Greecea tragedy of “irreconcilable differences” Athens-the light of reason
  • 37. a journey of only a day or two might take a Greek through several differentstates whose laws and customs were different from those of his native polisthese different experiences explain why he might think about and theorize(θεωρειν-theōrein) about which might be the better statecould this be why political philosophy began in Greece rather than Egypt,Mesopotamia -- older, more “advanced” societies?Greeks began to send out settlers in the 8th century. These colonies had todevelop their own constitutionsthey would take some elements from their “mother country” (metropolis). Newexperiences required them to theorize about how best to frame government tomeet local condtions
  • 38. war-unifier or divider?war against a common enemy can bring tremendous unitywithin an alliance system and within each statea prolonged war, however, often produces conflict overstrategies, even internal dispute over whether to continuethe fight or seek “peace at any price.”
  • 39. Persian wars-490-479 BC Persia,then the greatest empire in the world, decided to conquer the divided Greek states 490-amazingly, the Athenians defeated the first attack at Marathon 480-479--Xerxes returned with a huge force to punish them the Athenian navy at Salamis, then the Spartan-led land forces at Plataea once again drove the Persians off this David-Goliath moment created the pride and self-confidence which produced the Golden Age of Classical Greece
  • 40. Age of Pericles the Parthenon with its famous statue of Athena was financed by the wealth of the Athenian empire
  • 41. Age of PericlesAthens and Sparta shared the victory overthe Persian Empirebut Athens soon began to reap greaterrewardsPericles, the leader of Athenian democracy,led the building program which attractedthe wonder of all Hellasthe arts flourished under state patronagebut the rivalry with Sparta was fed by thegrowth of Athens’ power. The DelianLeague against Persia became the AthenianEmpire the Parthenon with its famous statue of Athena was financed by431-Sparta and her allies declared war the wealth of the Athenian empire
  • 42. Age of PericlesAthens and Sparta shared the victory overthe Persian Empirebut Athens soon began to reap greaterrewardsPericles, the leader of Athenian democracy,led the building program which attractedthe wonder of all Hellasthe arts flourished under state patronagebut the rivalry with Sparta was fed by thegrowth of Athens’ power. The DelianLeague against Persia became the AthenianEmpire the Parthenon with its famous statue of Athena was financed by431-Sparta and her allies declared war the wealth of the Athenian empire
  • 43. Peloponnesian War-431-404 BC the war began with each system of allies using their asymmetrical strengths, Sparta on land, Athens at sea 421-415--after an uneasy truce, Athens launched the disastrous Sicilian expedition 413-405--despite its crippling failure, Athens survived and fought on until Lysander destroyed her fleet at Aegospotami this long “war like no other” in its ruthless brutality left the Greek states exhausted, disillusioned, divided internally, ripe for political extremism, and prey to external“...to the music of flutes Sparta powers like Persia and Macedoniamade Athenian captives tear downtheir walls”--Xenophon
  • 44. Socrates, an Athenian citizen of humble means, fought in the earlyland battles as a foot soldier. Plato, who would become his disciple,an Athenian aristocrat, was born a few years after the war began. Hefought as a cavalryman in its last battles. Both tasted the bitterdefeat, the disillusionment of this war which ended the Golden Age.Both experienced the political upheavals which replaced democracywith a pro-Spartan oligarchy, the Thirty Tyrants led by Plato’s uncle.It was soon overthrown by a vengeful democracy which would putSocrates to death in 399 BC.
  • 45. Plato
  • 46. Plato Πλάτων, Plátōn 428/27 BC – 348/347 BC
  • 47. II. Plato A. Discipleship 1. early life 2.Socrates a. Socratic method b. “know thyself”- anamnesis c. Apology, Crito, Phaedo B. Travels C. Academy, 387 BC - 529 AD (!) 1. dialogues vs. treatises
  • 48. His early years were filled with the education of his socialstation--private tutors, ‘music and gymnastic’. There is atradition of his success as an athlete, experimentation withpoetry. His name may refer “to the breadth of hisshoulders, his brow, his style. He is said to have become adisciple of Socrates at the age of twenty, some eight or nineyears before Socrates’ death.” Paul Shorey, What Plato Said, p. 1
  • 49. Athens was by modern standards a small and gossipy city. Platowould have had abundant opportunity to observe the piquantcontrast between the strange uncouth figure, the barefoot beggingchatterbox, the butt of Attic comedy, and the magic of the man’swords, his power to deal with his interlocutors as he pleased, and tocompel everyone who approached him to render an account of hissoul and view his opinions in the light of reason...the irony thatenabled him to mingle with the world yet not be of it, the feigneddefective memory that introduced the demand for dialectic in placeof long speeches of rhetoric, the professed ignorance that servedto provoke joint inquiry. Shorey, pp. 10-11
  • 50. Athens was by modern standards a small and gossipy city. Platowould have had abundant opportunity to observe the piquantcontrast between the strange uncouth figure, the barefoot beggingchatterbox, the butt of Attic comedy, and the magic of the man’swords, his power to deal with his interlocutors as he pleased, and tocompel everyone who approached him to render an account of hissoul and view his opinions in the light of reason...the irony thatenabled him to mingle with the world yet not be of it, the feigneddefective memory that introduced the demand for dialectic in placeof long speeches of rhetoric, the professed ignorance that servedto provoke joint inquiry. Shorey, pp. 10-11 The School of Athens (detail), Raphael, 1511
  • 51. “He did not profess to know or teach anything. ‘I am like the midwife whose function I exercise on the minds of others.’...His function, he said, was like that of the physician who purged men’s minds of their false conceits; it was like that of the midwife who assisted in the delivery of their true and more considered thought….He himself had no body of doctrine to impart….In respect of method...Plato confirms Aristotle’s statement that there are two things that may be rightly attributed to Socrates, inductive argument and the quest for definitions. His philosophical dogmas:“no man willingly does wrong“virtue is knowledge, all wrongdoing and error is ignorance“it is better to suffer injustice than to do it” Shorey, pp. 12-13
  • 52. “know thyself”- anamnesisSocrates’ theory of education was based on his belief that everyperson has innate knowledge. The teacher’s role is not to “pour”facts into empty vessels. Rather it is to draw out that knowledgethrough skillful questions which aid the learner to remember(ανάµνησις -- anamnesis) that which she already knows[Plato is thefirst recorded master to allow a woman to enter his Academy].Thus Socrates practiced that Delphic motto--”know thyself” (γνόθισεαθτόν--gnothi seauton). He also said the unexamined life is notworth living (ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ -- ho dean•ex• EH•tas•tos BI•os ou bi•ōh•TOS an•THRŌ•pō--Apology, 38a)
  • 53. Apology, Crito, PhaedoThese three “biographical” dialogues narrate the famous “sinagainst philosophy” committed by the vengeful Athenian democracyin 399 BC. The Apology takes the form of Socrates’ speeches to hisaccusers who charged him with blasphemy and corrupting the youth.In Crito Socrates gently refuses this disciple’s offer of an escape. Hemust remain true to his principles and obey the laws of his polis. ThePhaedo is a moving “last class” with his disciples. The night of hisexecution is spent in a dialogue on the nature of death. “Be of goodcheer, no harm can come to a good man in life or death.”
  • 54. Apology, Crito, PhaedoThese three “biographical” dialogues narrate the famous “sinagainst philosophy” committed by the vengeful Athenian democracyin 399 BC. The Apology takes the form of Socrates’ speeches to hisaccusers who charged him with blasphemy and corrupting the youth.In Crito Socrates gently refuses this disciple’s offer of an escape. Hemust remain true to his principles and obey the laws of his polis. ThePhaedo is a moving “last class” with his disciples. The night of hisexecution is spent in a dialogue on the nature of death. “Be of goodcheer, no harm can come to a good man in life or death.” The Death of Socrates, Jacques-Louis David, 1787
  • 55. Shocked, disillusioned and grieving the death of his master, Platoleft Athens for nearby Megara. From there he may have travelled toEgypt, the source of wisdom and mystery for the Greeks. Hedefinitely travelled to the Greek colony of Syracuse. “T this period belongs his first Sicilian visit at the court of the o elder Dionysius, and the story that he was sold into slavery on the island of Aegina by the Spartan ambassador Pollis, at the instigation of Dionysius, and ransomed by one Anniceris of Cyrene. He may or may not have taught at Athens during these twelve years.” Shorey, p.1
  • 56. AcademyThis school, which he located on his estate north of Athens, nearthe grove of the hero Academus, gives its name to every later suchinstitution of higher learning. It would endure for some nine hundredand sixteen years (387 BC-529 AD) a record unequalled by any suchlater school! “The forty years of residence, teaching, and writing at Athens that followed were interrupted by his two visits to the court of Dionysius the Younger in Syracuse. Otherwise little is known of these forty years of his life, except conjectures about the dates of his writings and a few anecdotes of his relations with contemporaries.” Shorey, p.2
  • 57. Republic
  • 58. Republic
  • 59. Republic
  • 60. III. Politeia (Republic), 365 (?) [recent scholarship-350s] BC; bks., x, pp. 397 A. Bk I -- Introduction: defective definitions of justice 1. conventional morality a. Cephalus b. Polemarchus 2. cynical “realism” a. Thrasymachus’ argument b. Socrates’ refutation Justice & Power, p. 3
  • 61. In Book i Socrates describes howthe gathering turned after dinner toexamine the thesis question of TheRepublic: What is justice? Cephalus remarks how his wealthfrees him to “make offering due thegods [and pay] debts which he owesto men.” “Well said, Cephalus, I replied; butas concerning justice, what is it (ηδικαιοσυνη, το τι; hē dikaiosyne, to ti,literally: the justice. it what?)---tospeak the truth and to pay yourdebts---no more than this” asksSocrates. Powers, J & P, p. 1
  • 62. Polemarchus’ Definition ...Πολλ’ δ’ ἄλγεα δυσµενὲεσσι, χαρµατα δ’ εὐµενέτῃσι ...POL’ D’AL•gĕ•a dus•men•E•e•si, CHAR•ma•ta d’eu•men•ET•ē•si ...many pains to enemies, joys to well-wishers Homer, Odyssey, bk vi, 184-185In other words, the traditional Greek definition of justice:doing good to those who do good to you, getting evenwith your enemies-- as old as the Homeric tradition.
  • 63. Then, after Polemarchus offers his definition, “Socratesexpresses his dissatisfaction with both these conventionalapproaches and through a series of questions, points out theirshortcomings. Unable to contain himself, Thrasymachus scornfully breaks into develop his famous definition of justice as that which is to theadvantage of those in power: ‘Justice is the interest of the stronger.’ “ op. cit., pp. 1-2
  • 64. “What’s the matter with you two, Socrates? Why do you go on in thisimbecile way, politely deferring to each other’s nonsense? If you reallywant to know what justice means, stop asking questions and scoringoff the answers you get. You know very well it is easier to ask questionsthan to answer them. Answer yourself, and tell us what you thinkjustice means.”Plato, The Republic, F.M. Cornford, trans. Oxford University Press, 1945 quoted in J & P: Reader p. 1
  • 65. Socrates craftily maneuvers Thrasymachus into giving hisdefinition-- “Listen then, Thrasymachus began. What I say is that ‘just’ or ‘right’ means nothing but what is to the interest of the stronger party….Don’t you know, then, that a state may be ruled by a despot, or a democracy, or an aristocracy? “Of course. “And that the ruling element is always the strongest? “Yes.” op. cit., p. 2
  • 66. “Well then, in every case the laws are made by the ruling party in its own interest: a democracy makes democratic laws [in the interest of the Many who control a democracy], a despot autocratic ones, and so on….That is what I mean: in all states alike ‘right’ has the same meaning, namely what is for the interest of the party established in power, and that is the strongest. “Now I see what you mean, said I; whether it is true or not, I must try to make out.” op. cit., p. 2Socrates then attacks the definition with a series of dialecticalpropositions: Well, if X, then Y?-OK-And if P, then Q? Well, Iguess so-Then it must follow that R is S, &c., &c.
  • 67. Socrates gets him to agree that no ruler will study what is in his owninterest, rather what is good and proper for his subjects: “At this point, when everyone could see that Thrasymachus’ definition of justice had been turned inside out, instead of making any reply, he said: “Socrates, have you a nurse? “Why do you ask such a question as that? “Because she lets you go around sniffling like a child whose nose wants wiping. She hasn’t even taught you to know a shepherd when you see one, or his sheep either. “What makes you say that? “Why you imagine that a herdsman studies the interests of his flocks of cattle, tending and fattening them up with some other end in view than his master’s profit or his own; and so don’t you see that, in politics, the genuine ruler regards his subjects like sheep, and thinks of nothing...but the good he can get out of them for himself… “[and much more in this cynical vein]
  • 68. “Having deluged our ears with this torrent of words, as a man at the baths might empty a bucket over one’s head, Thrasymachus meant to take himself off; but the company obliged him to stay and defend his position. I was specially urgent in my entreaties.” op. cit., p. 6Socrates, once again, gets the better of the sophist Thrasymachus,much to the delight of Plato’s brothers, Glaucon and Adeimantus andthe host Cephalus’ son, Polemarchus. Thrasymachus departs andSocrates proposes to continue the search for the definition of thismost precious quality justice.Which brings us to Book ii
  • 69. III. Politeia (Republic), 365 (?) [recent scholarship-350s] BC; bks., x, pp. 397 A. Bk I -- Introduction: defective definitions of justice 1. conventional morality a. Cephalus b. Polemarchus 2. cynical “realism” a. Thrasymachus’ argument b. Socrates’ refutation B. Bks II-IV -- two cities 1. growth of the typical or “natural” polis a. division of labor b. luxury --- cause of war 2. the ideal (just) state a. government --- “machinery” or people? b. guardians CAUTION! two usages 1. attributes 2. education, censorship, & propaganda a. stages: 20, 30, 35, 50 years 3. “careers open to talent” 4. myth of the metals 3. justice discovered --- the four virtues in a. state b. soul c. individual Justice & Power, pp. 3-4
  • 70. III B -- two cities (poleis)Socrates suggests that it will be easier to see what justice is bylooking at it writ large, justice in a just state, not justice in anindividual or in his dealings with other individuals. Just as withan eye chart, we start with the big letters at the top, then workdown. So let’s imagine a state coming into being and see if wecan find justice in it.
  • 71. growth of the “natural” polis Socrates gives a remarkably modern description of how cities grow out of people’s need to come together in order to enjoy economic benefits each makes or does that which he is best suited for then they exchange goods and services all do better than as if each tried to meet all his needs isolated “in the state of nature” so the polis prospers. With this comes luxury Socrates deplores that there will need to be more people to cater to the “unhealthy desires” of this swollen state
  • 72. “The country which was large enough to support the original inhabitants, willnow be too small. If we are to have enough pasture and plow land, we shall haveto cut off a slice of our neighbors’ territory; and if they too are not content withnecessities, but give themselves up to getting unlimited wealth, they will want aslice of ours. “That is inevitable, Socrates. “So the next thing will be, Glaucon, that we shall be at war. “No doubt. “We need not say yet whether war does good or harm, but only that we havediscovered its origin in desires which are the most fruitful source of evils both toindividuals and to states.” op. cit., p. 11
  • 73. “That will mean a considerable addition to our community--a whole army, to goout to battle with any invader, in defense of all this property and of thecitizens…. “Why so? Can’t they defend themselves? “Not if the principle was right, which we all accepted in framing our society.You remember we agreed that no one man can practice many trades or artssatisfactorily. “True. “Well, is not the conduct of war an art, quite as important asshoemaking? ...We gave each man one trade, for which he was naturally fitted; hewould do good work, if he confined himself to that all his life….” Ibid.
  • 74. III B 2-the ideal (just) stateSocrates pretends to have stumbled upon the principle ofjustice in the state with this need to have those who are ideally(by nature) intended to be warriors. He calls them Guardians.But before we follow his imaginary creation of the just state it iswell to review our own notions about government. The moderntendency is to equate government with its “machinery,” itsconstitution; what kind of legislature, executive, judiciary,bureaucracy….Plato is now going to focus on the people whofill those “slots.”
  • 75. Guardians (φυλακοι,phylakoi)The rulers, Plato’s words harken back to his image of the goodking as shepherd of his people (Homer’s anax andronAgamemnon), must be ideally (by nature) suited to the job.They will be the best citizens, possessed of all the virtues--wisdom, courage, temperance, and JUSTICE. But, be aware, he begins by talking about the rulers’ functionof guarding the people--warriors. Later he will discuss what wecall the civil authorities. Like our American constitution, Platowill place these civil guardians in authority over the militaryones. The civil he will call Guardians in the strict sense, themilitary, he will call Auxiliaries.
  • 76. “I suspect then, we may find what we are looking for in this way. I take it thatour state, having been founded and built up on the right lines, is good in thecomplete sense of the word. “It must be. “Obviously, then, it is wise, brave, temperate, and just. “Obviously. “Then if we find some of these qualities in it, the remainder will be the one wehave not found.” Ibid.
  • 77. B.2.b.1-attributes-the four (pagan) virtueswisdom “...a passion for knowledge and understanding….the same thing as philosophy--the love of wisdom” (φιλειν + σοφια = φιλοσοφια)courage “...the same temperament as a well-bred watch dog...quick sense to detect an enemy, swiftness in pursuing him, and strength, if they have to fight when they have caught him. “...the right conviction about the things which ought, or ought not, to be feared…”cf. Periclestemperance moderation in all things--(µη δεν αγαν, may den agan)justice the definition we seek...more will be revealed….
  • 78. Education-Sparta & AthensPhysical and mental education combining the best of bothsocieties: the rigor of Sparta and the cultivation of reasonwhich characterized Athenian schooling. Boys and girls will traintogether, ala Sparta. As in Sparta, strict censorship will excludeideas which might conflict with the mindset which this educationis to produce. A series of tests will weed out the weak andcowardly. Only the strongest, bravest and best will make the“first cut” at age twenty. They become Auxiliaries, the warriorGuardians.
  • 79. Education-Sparta & AthensPhysical and mental education combining the best of bothsocieties: the rigor of Sparta and the cultivation of reasonwhich characterized Athenian schooling. Boys and girls will traintogether, ala Sparta. As in Sparta, strict censorship will excludeideas which might conflict with the mindset which this educationis to produce. A series of tests will weed out the weak andcowardly. Only the strongest, bravest and best will make the“first cut” at age twenty. They become Auxiliaries, the warriorGuardians.
  • 80. further refinement From age thirty to thirty-five the Auxiliaries are instructed inphilosophy to discover the wisest among them (“philosophy iswasted on the young”). Those who don’t make the second cutremain warriors. The best (hoi aristoi) of the best are furthergroomed to become, like the Spartan Gerousia, the rulingoligarchy. At age fifty these Guardians in the strict sensebecome the ultimate authority in this ideal state, Plato’sRepublic. (Res publica is a Latin word. The Greek term isPoliteia.) This selection through education will produce what theFrench revolutionaries called “careers open to talent.” Othernineteenth century states also adopted civil service exams toreplace corrupt job-filling with the principle of merit.
  • 81. the myth of the metals Glaucon objects. Wont those who don’t get the top positionsbe envious? Socrates responds: our goal is to do what’s bestfor all, not just make a few happy. But he offers a “harmless”fable, propaganda delivered in the education process. Afterseveral generations it will become accepted as fact: we are all born from the Earth (autochthonous) within each of us our souls are either golden, silver, or some baser element if we accept this fate, all will be well if we do not, terrible calamities will ensue
  • 82. justice discovered! In the state wisdom is to be found in the Guardians, couragein the Auxiliaries, temperance in the acceptance of every citizenof his place and responsibilities--“the better part ruling theworse.”(p. 19) So justice must be what’s left. This was our firstprinciple--division of labor--according to each person’s innatevocation. “...this minding of one’s own business, when it takes acertain form, is actually the same thing as justice….” “Justice admittedly means that a man should possess andconcern himself with what properly [according to nature]belongs to him.” op. cit, p. 21
  • 83. in the poliswisdom - found in the Guardianscourage - the Auxiliariestemperance - these two controlling theMany (hoi polloi)justice - each “having” and “doing”according to his nature
  • 84. in the soul (ψυχη, psychē)wisdom - σοφια, sophiacourage - θαρσεω, tharseōtemperance - σοφροσυνη, sophrosynējustice - δικαιοσυνη, dikaiosynē
  • 85. in the individualwisdom - found in the mind, braincourage - the hearttemperance - when the brain rules thepassions and the appetites
  • 86. Passion Reason Silver in the individual Gold Appetite baser metalwisdom - found in the mind, braincourage - the hearttemperance - when the brain rules thepassions and the appetites
  • 87. in the individualwisdom - found in the mind, braincourage - the hearttemperance - when the brain rules thepassions and the appetitesjustice - each organ “having” and“doing” according to its nature
  • 88. III. Politeia (Republic) C. Bks V-VII -- “...philosophers become kings…” 1. life among the Guardians and Auxiliaries a. communism - goods and wives b. near equality of women c. eugenics - abortion & festivals 2. the cave - Plato’s theory of ideas D. Bks VII-IX -- degenerate types of city & man 1. causes of decline a. timocracy b. oligarchy c. democracy d. tyranny 2. the argument concluded --- three proofs E. Bk X -- supplement Justice & Power, p. 4
  • 89. τα τον φιλον κοινη (the things of friends [ought to be] common)Guardians and Auxiliaries will live simply--no gold and silver things, no luxurythey will take their meals in common messes, like the Spartan syssitiathe women will also be held in common, as with their children coming together for procreation is done at periodical festivals, pairing is apparently by lot actually the rulers rig the lottery,mating the best with the best to promote eugenicseach child is taught to regard every Guardian as father or mother; theyare raised in common nurseries (day care centers?) so that the Guardianwomen can attend to “higher” mattersas in Sparta, children with birth defects are exposed to diethese bizarre practices apply only to the rulers. The Many live as in otherpoleis
  • 90. III.C.1.b -- near equality of womenPlato’s view was quite “countercultural” for a Greek of thattime“Socrates after some demure and deprecation of ridiculeexpounds:“women have the same capacities as men though usually inlesser degreethus women of the Guardian class should share in theeducation of the malesthey should even share their occupations! soldiering or rulingbased on merit quotes from Shorey, p. 177
  • 91. “What do we mean by philosophers... and what is the higher education that will develop their nativepowers and fit them to be guardians of the state? By truewisdom [that which philosophers love] Plato meant thought,abstract ideas, general conceptions---a systematic andcoherent philosophy of life such as can be achieved onltthrough the severest discipline of the higher mental faculties.All this is expressed in the terminology of the Platonic doctrineof ideas. Universals, ideas, notions, are treated asthings….They belong to the world of true being andunchanging reality. The particulars of sense which the worldthinks so real are imperfect copies of the idea and hold a placemidway between true being and absolute non-being or nothing. Shorey, p.178
  • 92. The relationship of appearance to reality in Plato’s worldview can perhapsbe best grasped in the context of mathematics. A ring...or the perimeter ofa hoplite shield might seem to the casual observer to be a circle, but theseround objects are not circles in the same sense that the locus of all pointsin a given plane equidistant from a given point is a circle. They only looklike circles; if you were to put them under a magnifying glass you wouldsee that they were not circles at all, merely objects vaguely circular inappearance that bring to mind the Form of the circle. Only the circledepicted in the mathematical definition is a circle. Some people might saythat these concrete objects are real circles whereas the geometrical conceptis imaginary, but Plato is not one of these people. For Plato, only theconcept is real. The tangible objects are debased copies, feeble imitationsof the ideal Form. Pomeroy et al. Ancient Greece, pp. 389-390
  • 93. Plato’s brothers, Glaucon and Adeimantus, become so excitedby the discussion that they implore Socrates to help thembegin to build this ideal just polis.He brings them down to earth with what is the most famousexcerpt from the dialogue: “And I said: Cities will have no respite from evil, my dear Glaucon, nor will the human race, I think, unless philosophers rule as kings in the cities, or those whom we now call kings and rulers genuinely and adequately study philosophy, until, that is, political power and philosophy coalesce, and the various natures of those who now pursue the one to the exclusion of the other are forcibly debarred from doing so. Otherwise the city we have been describing will never grow into a possibility or see the light of day. Republic, trans. G.M.A. Grube, bk v, sect 473d
  • 94. Philosopher kings are the rulers, or Guardians, ofPlatos Utopian Kallipolis (beautiful city). If his idealcity-state is to ever come into being, "philosophers[must] become kings…or those now called kings[must]…genuinely and adequatelyphilosophize" (The Republic, v. 473d). Wikipedia
  • 95. III. Politeia (Republic) C. Bks V-VII -- “...philosophers become kings…” 1. life among the Guardians and Auxiliaries a. communism - goods and wives b. near equality of women c. eugenics - abortion & festivals 2. the cave - Plato’s theory of ideas D. Bks VIII-IX -- degenerate types of city & man 1. causes of decline a. timocracy b. oligarchy c. democracy d. tyranny 2. the argument concluded --- three proofs E. Bk X -- supplement Justice & Power, p. 4
  • 96. States-the cyclical theorybestworst
  • 97. States-the cyclical theory Hesiod’s Five Agesbest aristocracy GOLDEN timocracy SILVER oligarchy BRONZE HEROIC democracyworst tyranny IRON
  • 98. Book viii-defective poleis The first step down the path of corruption is timarchy on theSpartan model. Reason no longer rules but the spirited part isin control and the army dominates. War and victory aretherefore the things that are prized. The guardians still protectthe state against outside enemies, but they now rule harshlyand demand some private property [for themselves]. The artsare neglected and education degenerated. Men love money, butsecretly. The next stage is oligarchy (plutocracy) where thislove of money openly dominates, a wealth qualification foroffices is instituted, and there are great disparities. G.M.A. Grube, p. 193
  • 99. Book viii-defective poleis (cont.) So in the corresponding individual character love of money issupreme, and both reason and spirit are enslaved to it. This stillrequires control of appetites, but of the wrong kind. In democracy, thenext stage, there is no control at all and all desires are equal. There isa rich vein of broad irony in the description of democracy and thedemocratic man, and Plato is obviously enjoying himself. As excessive love of money destroys oligarchy, so excessive love ofliberty destroys democracy and leads to dictatorship where there isno freedom at all. Dictatorship comes about through the people choosing a championwho grasps all power for himself with the help of the unsuspectingpopulace who vote him a bodyguard. In this last stage of degenerationthe very worst passions are in command of the state. G.M.A. Grube, pp. 193-194
  • 100. Democratic Man Comes to Power“Often a poor man, spare and suntanned, stands in battle next to arich man who is pale for lack of sun with much superfluous flesh, andsees him panting and at a loss. Do you not think that he wouldconsider that it is through the cowardice of the poor that people likethat are rich, and one poor man would say to the other as they metprivately:”These men are at our mercy; they are no good.” --”I knowvery well that they do this.” “...so a city [which is sick with the love of money] needs but a smallexcuse and, as one side [of the class war] brings in allied from anoligarchic city or the other from a democracy, the city is ill and fightsitself, and sometimes a revolution occurs even without outside help.”--”Most certainly.” Plato, Republic, G.M.A. Grube, trans., p. 206
  • 101. After describing the ills of tyranny in bk. ix, Plato explains thatthese abuses lead “the best” (hoi aristoi) citizens to overthrowthe tyrant. They now reestablish aristocracy and the cycle( Gk. kyklos, circle) begins again.
  • 102. Book ix-why philosophers should rule There are three lives, the philosophic, the ambitious, and theappetitive, and each man believes his own life to be the most pleasant.The philosopher, however, is the best judge because he has someexperience of the others’ pleasures, whereas they have no experienceof his. Moreover the means of judgement --- intelligence andreasoned discourse --- are peculiarly his. G.M.A. Grube, p. 219
  • 103. Book x is often described as an addendum. It gives a moredetailed argument for the ban on “imitative poetry”, it offerswhat Grube calls an unconvincing argument for immortality,and concludes with the myth of Er: “an elaborate and vivid picture of the soul’s thousand-year journey from incarnation to incarnation to incarnation, is atale of rewards and punishments after death, which completes the case for justice and makes a fitting ending to the whole Republic.” Grube, p. 239
  • 104. Criticism
  • 105. "The safest generalcharacterization of theEuropean philosophicaltradition is that it consists ofa series of footnotes toPlato." (Alfred Nor thWhitehead, Process andReality, 1929).
  • 106. IV. Criticism 1. Aristotle to Popper 2. Utopia - static vs. dynamic concepts 3. realism 4. model or blueprint? 5. historical parallels 6. Plato in Sicily 7. Voltaire at Potsdam Justice & Power, p. 4
  • 107. Beginning with Plato’s most famous student, Aristotle, hardly anywriter on the topic of politics has failed to make reference to TheRepublic. Perhaps the most frequent criticism is the difficulty borderingon impossibility of coming close to this goal of staffing the governmentwith philosopher kings. Twentieth century Austro-British philosopherKarl Popper goes even further. He sees in Plato’s utopia the roots ofmodern fascism. He dislikes the Spartan elements and the “banishmentof the poets” as antithetical to his preferred “open society.”
  • 108. UtopiaAlthough the term dates from the sixteenth century theRepublic is a utopian vision. If the utopian philosopher seeshis “New Jerusalem” as a static perfect concept, he runs upagainst historical reality. As Heraclitus said, “Everything‘burns’ [changes] nothing remains [stays constant].”But Plato seems to deal with this reality in his cyclical theory.As Jefferson puts it later about what he called the tree ofliberty, it needs periodic ‘watering’ with the blood of patriotsand tyrants.
  • 109. RealismAnother recurring criticism of the Republic is that it can’twork. Perhaps it would be more philosophical to say, asGandhi did about Christianity, it’s a really attractivesuggestion but it’s never been tried. T say something isn’t orealistic begs the question.
  • 110. Model or Blueprint?At several points Plato has Socrates dash the hopes ofGlaucon and Adeimantus. He is offering a model forunderstanding justice, not a constitution to be applied to anew colony.
  • 111. Historical ParallelsWill Durant draws an interesting parallel between the threeorders of the Republic and the three estates of medievalChristendom: clergy, nobility, and third estate. Not exactly aperfect constitution but it did endure for a millennium. Doesn’tthat speak to the realistic question!
  • 112. Historical ParallelsWill Durant draws an interesting parallel between the threeorders of the Republic and the three estates of medievalChristendom: clergy, nobility, and third estate. Not exactly aperfect constitution but it did endure for a millennium. Doesn’tthat speak to the realistic question!
  • 113. Philosophers as Political ConsultantsThe cynical school of critics point to Plato’s disastrousattempts to help the tyrants of Syracuse “attain the elementof philosophy.” Likewise Voltaire was invited by theenlightened despot Frederick the Great to his court atPotsdam. At first, all went well. Then the two becameestranged and Voltaire had to beat a hasty retreat. Countlessother examples from history could be found wherephilosophical idealism and the rough and tumble demands ofruling are hard to combine.
  • 114. Last WordPerhaps the quest for justice has something in common withthe quest for the Holy Grail. Twain mocked such knighterrantry as “grailing.” But the last hundred years have offeredsome pretty dreadful examples of what a more “realistic”amoral approach to government produces.Let’s keep refining our search for justice and give Plato praisefor beginning the quest.
  • 115. clipping from the Indian Hill High School paper, Chieftain, in the late ‘70s (?)