The Republic By Plato Essay, Research Paper
The Republic by Plato
Throughout history, Plato has been conceived as one of the greatest philosophers of all time. His many theories have made us delve deep into our minds for new knowledge and understanding. He is looked up to by many all over the world in present day as well as in history. However, not even Plato is perfect. It is believed by many that there are faults with some aspects of his society. Many believe that his idea of a “utopian society” is far-fetched and unattainable. Although creative and original, Plato’s ideas of society are by no means perfect. Many faults have been found within some aspects of his society.
One major point that many find fault in is the education of the guardian class. Plato believes that in order to raise fit rulers, children must be brought up in only the best of conditions. Children must have a positive surrounding and be affected only positively by human nature. He also strongly believes that children should never hear “bad” or “negative” stories. He believes that those types of stories will only encourage the prospective rulers to engage in the negative and malicious acts illustrated in some stories. Plato believes that the prospective rulers should only hear good stories that will have a positive moral effect on their minds and ruling abilities in the future. Many believe that this idea could eventually lead to the downfall of this “utopian society”. It is important for developing minds to have some negative experience. This is what creates a well- rounded individual. If a person were subject to only positive experience throughout life, that person would have no realization of what the “real world” is like. This would eventually lead to lack of knowledge and understanding and even Plato himself would find that shocking in a negative way. With this lack of knowledge for the negative aspects of life, a society would not be able to function. In no way is it possible for a society to live without some conflict. And when a ruler knows nothing about this, the society will eventually fall. Plato failed to put enough thought into this idea of education of the guardian class. Had he read into this point a little more, his idea would no doubt have changed. There is major fault within Plato’s education of the guardian class.
Another flaw that is a concern is whom Plato decides should rule the society. Plato believes that the philosopher should rule. The philosophers in the society were rich upper class individuals. Plato believed that the ruler should have the capacity to reason, and who better to reason then a philosopher. Many disagree with this view. It is believed by many that a member of the middle class should be the one to rule. They have many qualifications that go unrecognized by Plato throughout the course of The Republic. The Middle Class is more educated than any other class. They have experienced more than the upper or lower class will ever experience. The middle class has also experienced positive and negative aspects of life. They demonstrate, as in the words of Aristotle, “The Golden Mean”. This shows that they have experienced an equal amount of bad and good experience and not and excessive amount of either. The philosophers that Plato wants to rule have only experienced the good aspects of life, which, again could lead to the downfall. It is important that the middle class rule because the middle class, as stated by Aristotle, are most ready to listen to reason. And the ability to reason is one of Plato’s qualifications of being a ruler. Who should rule the society is another big flaw in many people’s opinions of his society.
Another major point that many disagree with is the fact that a person must stick to the job that their natural abilities allow. Plato believes that if their one talent was given to them, may it be carpentry or shoemaking, that should be their sole purpose in society. Many disagree with this point. Humans in a society should rightfully be able to move up in class or be able to learn many skilled professions. Plato would argue that this is wrong. He believes that doing another job that is not your purpose in society goes against justice. This again is not good for the society. This way of living leaves members of society looking at things in one way only. They look at life the way they always have and their views and opinions never change. This also could very well lead to the downfall of Plato’s so called “utopian state”. If members of society were given the opportunity to explore different ways of life and class, their understanding of the world would be much more. Plato’s ideas of class structure and natural abilities are in the minds of many a flaw.
In his day, Plato was a brilliant man, and his philosophy still lives strong with us today. There are many different opinions of his ideas good and bad. Although a brilliant philosopher, Plato did show some flaws in his idea of a perfect “utopian state”.