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Unformatted text preview: done so much to point out and to destroy this inclination may be seen from this statement: "Before the Great War ... Plato ... was rarely condemned outright as a reactionary, resolutely opposed to every principle of the liberal creed. Instead he was elevated to a higher rank ... removed from practical life, dreaming of a transcendent City of God." Crossman himself, however, is not from that tendency which he so clearly exposes. It is interesting that this tendency could persist for such a long time in spite of the fact that Grote and Gomperz had pointed out the reactionary character of some doctrines of the REPUBLIC and the LAWS. But even they did not see all the implications of these doctrines: they never doubted that Plato was, in fact, a humanitarian. And their adverse criticism was ignored, or interpreted as a failure to understand and to appreciate Plato who was by Christians considered a 'Christian before Christ," and by revolutionaries a revolutionary. This kind of complete faith in Plato is undoubtedly still dominant, and field, for instance, finds it necessary to warn his readers that 'we shall misunderstand Plato entirely if we think of him as a revolutionary thinker.' This is, of course, very true; and it would be pointless if the tendency to make of Plato a revolutionary thinker, or at least a progressivist, were not fairly widespread. 2. PLATONIC JUSTICE LEADS TO TOTALITARIANISM Karl Popper, Professor of Philosophy, THE OPEN SOCIETY AND ITS ENEMIES, 2nd edition, 1952, p. 89. What did Plato mean by 'justice'? I assert that in the REPUBLIC he used the term 'just' as a synonym for 'that which is in the interests of the best state.' And what is in the interest of this best state? To arrest all change, by the maintenance of a rigid class division and class rule. If I am right in this interpretation, then we should have to say that Plato's demand for justice leaves his political program at the level of totalitarianism; and we should conclude that we must guard against the danger of being impressed by mere words. 3. PLATO'S REPUBLIC DEFINES JUST...
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This document was uploaded on 11/20/2013.
- Fall '13