Plato Essay 171H .docx - Lydia Shields Polisci 171H...

This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 5 pages.

Lydia ShieldsPolisci 171H: Contemporary Topics in PoliticsProfessor Cruikshank10/2/18I Think, Therefore I am (stuck in a cave)The Republic ultimately addresses the question of whether or not justice pays, but in doing so, the characters burn paths to other more pressing questions and answers. One of these paths is the nature of identity. Identity in the kallipolis of The Republic is fixed; it is defined by the metal that someone is born as because it guides the path of their soul, and therefore their desires. In creating a city ruled by those free of desire—that is to say full of reason—the character Socrates forces his readers to think about the lack of free thought in the name of reasonin their own societies. Plato uses the character Socrates to deny the credibility of a fixed identity and therefore put the reader into a state of aporia in an effort to provoke critical thought of a real city in respect to the kallipolis. The Republic outlines a city whose success depends on total control of its citizens. It is incapable of being implemented in a real political situation for many reasons, but the one that stands out most noticeably is the distinction between the governed and the government. In the real world, the government is comprised of the governed. There is no class of people who are educated vastly differently than those they plan to rule over. The kallipolis depends on a “restart”in order to put the right people into power for success. The real world is not afforded this opportunity and therefore the officials in power—the proverbial philosopher kings—are fundamentally the same as those being governed. They have more resources to acquire power, but the intrinsic differences that exist in the metal classes of The Republic are not present in real life. Plato’s ideal city has an abundance of rules for education, but the understood idea is that the philosophers will educate the first generation, and from there the only stories that will be known
are those that the original philosophers want told. This is to say that in order for the kallipolis to succeed, “they will…[send] out into the country all of the inhabitants of the city who are more than ten years old” (537). The problem that arises with assigning identities to children, accordingto Plato, is that eventually philosopher kings would use their senses instead of reason to sort children into their metal category. This misidentification fault, coupled with the principle of different metals receiving different educations, would eventually provoke a civil war.

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture