Plato The Republic

Plato – The Republic

Subject Plato – The Republic
Created 9/6/2010 6:15:00 AM
Posted 9/6/2010 6:14:00 AM
Body Another placeholder post – no longer!Trundling my way through ‘The Republic’ by Plato (Penguin Classic, translated by Desmond Lee) I realised I was running out of writing room for my memory jogger notes – I usually make these inside the back cover – a form of book mark. Until I figure out anything better I will put them here.



Aristotle’s comments on abolition of private property – you do not get rid of an evil by changing an institution (eliminate profit motive?)

Plato’s desire to eliminate family life as distractions*

* assumes that greater and lesser social affiliations are diametrically opposed.


‘undemocratic’… is the case for democracy yet proved.


Socrates is likening (fails to distinguish between) the consequences of a mastered trade to an impaired point of view.

Thus Q: is there a skill wherein justice can act as a corrective (see pp74 comment).


Early form of political correctness by ruthless pursuit of the concept behind the division of labour.

4 cardinal virtues perceived as being wisdom, courage, self-discipline, justice.


Dangerous step by Plato. can the analogy of an expert by class extend to wisdom and to stewardship (i.e. politics).


How would Plato view the examination of small differences – say variance analysis…

The tendency for states (for which read any organised group of people) to jointly decide that its interests supercede those of the individual is now well documented. States often portray the systematic persecution of their citizens as virtuous and essential acts, suggesting an alternate and possibly discordant set of virtues. Consequently I don’t find Plato’s idea that individual virtue can be writ large into the state totally compelling.
To make sense of Plato’s thinking on marriage I broke this down into Relationships and Genetics (uh, yeah my division looks uncannily like nature and nurture – so why re-invent the wheel?)
1) Relationships

Plato’s thinking on upbringing relies upon the state as a tool for socialising behaviour rejecting the family unit for that role and placing little value on personal relationship aspects such as love and companionship. The social experiments in C20th USSR and to an extent West European states demonstrate the consequences of a factory approach to education and up-bringing. For which read ‘A Primer on how to Alienate Citizens and Breed Future Misfits’. Still at least he understood that differences between the sexes are chiefly governed by points of view.

2) Genetics
Plato understands only too well what happens when blood-lines grow inbred and weak but somehow I just don’t feel comfortable with eugenics. His template for procreation appears to be little more than ritual orgies. That may have appeal to the selfish / self-regarding man / woman:
Give up your family; get your fill and slake your lust!Â

Gosh how – hmm – revolutionary… and pointless. If Plato really did try to put these ideas into practise I can well imagine it having as much appeal as going back to the caves.

pp250 (or give up all your Money)
Take away a tool (or medium of exchange) and anticipate some unexpected consequences. For example how would the worth of a man’s endeavour be measured – refer again to the Soviet experiments in a barter economy – and note that in following the path of idealism a fallow field ripe for the opportunist was created.

What would have prompted Plato to suggest doing away with the convenience of money? An ancient Greek equivalent of our banking system failure?
His fictional colony deals with the affairs of 5,040 citizens (plus slaves etc). By today’s standards the scale was small and if this idea failed it was still pretty obvious how to resolve matters
The bigness prevalent in recent times requires specialisms (tools) that didn’t exist then and very big may require new specialisms to be developed – but if they aren’t?
Perhaps that stretches beyond the remit of “The Republic”.


About TP Archie

I have lived in and around Burnley, Lancs, for most of my life. My four children are grown For a living I'm an accountant. I'm interested in current affairs, history and writing. For a while I was the face of My Telegraph Writers on the blogging platform of the London Daily Telegraph. My hobbies include SF, Fantasy, Anime, comic books, Vinyl and self publishing. My longer works include: A Guide to First Contact The Turning Stone Angel in My Heart Men for the Stars Mission Samurai The Tau Device Dragon Shard Door Witch Bluebelle Brant Lucky Shorter fiction: The Wrong Lane and other diversions The Slow Holocaust and other stories An Empty Bucket and other stories Eggman and other concoctions Night of Life and other fictions Under Winter's Bough Unfinished Tales Other works Poetry - Silt from Distant Lands Burnley (the town and its Grammar school) a private reproduction (with a new cover) of Juvaini's History of the World Conqueror
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