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Plato's Republic

Plato's Republic describes a society that is completely rational, based on Plato's concept of the good life and developed to create and protect that sort of life within the context of a civil state. What Plato seeks in this dialogue is a definition of the perfect life and the perfect state to promote and sustain that life. The Ideal State is a concept and not a reality, either in Plato's time or since. Plato lived in a time of turmoil and warfare, and he created a society that would be free of strife if it lived up to the ideal. It seems likely that few people today would want to live in the society Plato proposes, and this may be because Plato ignores or subsumes human nature. one of the elements Plato sees as necessary to his perfect state is a powerful and extensive censorship to control certain forces in the populace and to reduce the sort of individualism we prize in Western society today. His view of the need for censorship is bound with his primary conception of justice.

Plato was much concerned with justice and offered one of the most complete discussions of the topic in The Republic, where different speakers offer their views of what justice might be, and indeed should be. The first conception of justice offered in The Republic is justice that underlies traditional morality, and it is Cephalus who suggests this definition. He looks back over his life and states that justice is found in speaking the truth and paying your debts. This leads to the argument of Thrasymachus, who defines justice as a form of radicalism. The theory of Glaucon is addressed next, a pragmatic view which sees justice as the result of fear, the fear of retaliation. Men are thus forced to be just by the fear that they will be punished if they are not. For Glaucon, then, justice is a function for the weaker in society, while the ruler, who has all the power, need not be just. Plato looks to all these definitions of justice and uses them as...

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Plato's Republic. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 10:14, August 04, 2020, from