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Plato's Philosophical Treatise, The Republic

In Plato's immortal philosophical treatise The Republic, a notion of the Good is advanced that defies subjectivity. Through Socrates, Plato illustrates that a rationalistic approach conjoining virtue and knowledge will yield certain objective truths about human nature and the ideal modes of human conduct. In a sense, these truths apply directly toùand correspond withùthe human soul and the human city. Because there is a hierarchy of values for Plato, and because the most sublime of values is the Form of the Good, so there will be only one state of excellence for both the soul and the city. It is to this observation that Plato dedicates the latter half of Book IV of The Republic.

Socrates, in the spirit of coming to the rescue of justice in every way possible, asserts in Book IV that the city "if it is rightly founded, is completely good" and that such a city will exhibit each of four cardinal virtues: it will be "wise, brave moderate, and just" (Grube 93). As Socrates fleshes out the nature of each of these virtues within the city, he observes that for the city to be wise, true wisdom must be found in its rulers. As it is only the carpenter that is supremely knowledgeable in his craft that is deemed a master, so too only a supreme knowledge of guardianship in the guardian class will imbue the city with true wisdom in governance and conduct (Grube 94).

Bravery is to be found in the army; this virtue will logically reside in "that part [of the city] which makes war and campaigns on its behalf (Grube 94)." Moderation occupies a larger sphere, in effect the whole of the city, for true moderation is a "certain orderliness," and a "mastery over certain pleasures and appetites" (Grube 96). Socrates asserts that the city, like the individual, is comprised of components, and that it is in those cities and individuals where the better components rule the worse ones that self-control, or moderation, is to be found. In this, ...

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Plato's Philosophical Treatise, The Republic. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:07, December 07, 2016, from