Plato Essay

Plato Essay.

A philosopher is wise, reflective and analytical in his views of life in general. For him, every thing has its proper context, correct sense and right values. There are those who Plato believed to be prejudiced against philosophy. He attempted to explain philosophy through his use of analogies like a: navigator, plant, beast, and tinker. In a ship, the crew keeps the vessel moving, the captain gives orders for the crew to follow, but it is the navigator who steers the ship in course.

In order for the navigator to do his job, he has to study the wind direction, the water current, and the vessel speed.

A philosopher is like a navigator who possesses the knowledge that would keep him from straying off course in life. A philosopher has the wisdom or the gift of reason that would not allow his unbridled greed and desires from prevailing over him. The crew represents the out of control greed and desires that characterize some people when they go through life.

The captain is the symbol of power. The navigator, with the important knowledge that he has to commander the ship, has what it takes to seize the power for himself. This means that there is a strong temptation for a philosopher to use his wisdom in the wrong way.

Plato compared the vices and virtues of man to the weeds and to a good plant. Weeds grow easily and abundantly anywhere and everywhere but a good plant needs to be nurtured in order for it to grow. The same can be said of man’s wisdom. A person must exert extra effort to develop virtues from that wisdom, because it will not take as much for vices to spread in his person and in his soul. A beast is incapable of reason. He can be tamed only at a certain time but not forever by its trainer. A leader who exploits the ignorance and bias of people is like the trainer who can not tame the beast.

The beast becomes dangerous. When appetites and passions can no longer be tamed they become the beasts inside us. Man will need a strong sense of reason and wisdom to control these beasts. The tinkers have no real talent but they are those who pretend to have the talent. Plato believed that there are plenty of them in the Athenian academe, mostly in law and politics. He believed that the real philosophers are those with uncompromised beliefs and values and those who have the least regard for fame and money. In his analogies he defended the philosophers and their importance.

Plato cited that the wisdom of philosophers: 1) keeps people on the right track, 2) prevents them from seeking power for themselves, 3) cultivates virtues and stops vices, 4) makes their reason prevail over their greed and desires, and 5) inspires the pursuit of values and beliefs over and above fame and financial gain. Plato considers the philosophical life to be highly moral and a cut above the rest. The philosophers do not just have the knowledge and wisdom stored in their minds, they have it in their souls and they show it in their attitudes towards others.

Those who are prejudiced against philosophers are the power grabbers, the materialistic, those without self-regulation, and the self-indulgent people who desire everything for themselves. The concern and values of the philosophers are those that keep the mind and soul morally upright while the concern and values of non-philosophers are centered on material pursuits like fame and fortune. The philosophers hold the virtues like honesty, humility, and compassion in the highest order, non-philosophers seeks power for himself and not through which to serve others. The philosophy of Plato is applicable to us in our present circumstances.

Our leaders must possess the virtues and qualities of a philosopher to be able to move our nation in the right direction. He must use his powers for the good of all. As an individual and member of a society of people, I believe that my actions must always conform to what is for the common good. I must not think of what is easy for me even if it would inconvenience others, like breaking traffic rules. The philosophy of Plato is simple but when he expounds on it, the idea becomes cluttered in its complexity. His use of analogies further complicates the idea instead of making it easily understood.

It would have been a lot simpler if he stated his defense of the philosophical life in plain language or stating it as it is and not resorting to examples. It is another job to explain the analogy and figure out his thoughts that way. His philosophies are mostly about leading an austere life, devoid of the frills, but steeped in virtues. In the current times, we do not have to deprive ourselves with the conveniences that make life easy. Living the golden rule and all the other virtues is not a monopoly of the philosophers. We must follow their examples as it would do us a lot of good.

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Plato Essay

Phaedrus by Plato Essay

Phaedrus by Plato Essay.

Of all the dialogues of Plato, this has got to be one of the most impressive of all. A display of conversations that did not rely on just mediocre questioning and explanation about a single topic. Walking around the country and providing conversations on just about whatever happens to them, the Phaedrus and Socrates walking conversation displays relevant matters and enlightening words.

Tackling the topic of love was the initial subject that the two had taken into consideration. Talking about philosophies of love and their own takes on how love is, Socrates and Phaedrus showcase their sides by explaining what love is to them.

Thus, this conversation about love ruled most of their walk. Along the way they tackled more enlightening matters The dialogue’s last part tackles about writing books and its capabilities to impart goodness on a person. They explain their considerable thoughts on books.

In part 229c-230 b, Socrates reflects an affirmative belief on stories of myths such as the story of Bores and Orithyia.

Socrates showcases his reasoning that he doesn’t have enough time as well for himself to give explanation about such occurrence that happened in the place where the story was foretold thus he results to might as well be believing in it. He believes that skeptics don’t have the luxury of time challenging and explaining the truth about other creatures, monsters and occurrences as well. Thus Socrates concludes that seeking out for truth with regards to said stories is ridiculous. He believes that even those people of science that tends to explain everything will also have such a difficult time on proving such claims and that there are more important matters other than challenging these stories.

The conversational walk that Socrates and Phaedrus had in the dialogue displays amenable reasoning and provides ample knowledge upon readers.

Phaedrus by Plato Essay

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and the Non-Material World Essay

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and the Non-Material World Essay.

The Allegory of the Cave, a dialogue from the Republic written by Plato, is both an existing explanation and reliable representation of the growing and ever present ignorance to the enlightenment of the majority of humankind. This paper will present Plato’s meaning of enlightenment and how it is related to Plato’s Non-Material World. Plato’s brief background will also be highlighted including some assumptions on how and why he acquired such a world-changing insights leading to the creation of his dialogues.

This discussion will inevitably cross another famous philosopher – Socrates – and his influence on Plato.

Then a simple but thorough analysis of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave will be dealt with using real life knowledge to each and every symbolic act inside and outside Plato’s Cave which will also spontaneously discuss certain aspects of human life, like how a man is unconsciously bounded to his self-made limitations. It will mainly focus on the actual dialogue between the characters of the story, Socrates and Glaucon.

Lastly, this paper will examine Plato’s intention in writing the Allegory. Plato, Socrates and the World Changing Insights

Plato, born from an aristocratic and prominent family in Athens, had a promising future in the field of politics. But later in life, after witnessing the unfairness in the trial and death of one of his friend and mentor, Socrates, Plato realized that political reform in Athens was completely out of his control. Maybe if Plato had not met Socrates he might have pursued a political career after all. Plato then subsequently dedicated his life to the study of Philosophy and political theory (Kahn, 1989, p. 293). Plato’s loyalty to his mentor was seen in his dialogues. We might not even know Socrates if it wasn’t for his student.

Because of Plato’s loyalty, Socrates became one of the key characters on his dialogues. Scholars argued about the extent of this loyalty. Some pointed out that the dialogues were a faithful portrayal of Socrates; some argued that although Socrates’ habits and mannerism might be accurate, the philosophies came directly from Plato himself (Kahn, 1989, p. 293). Whether the Philosophies came from Plato or not, we cannot deny that Socrates contributed his fair share of insight to the young Plato, especially when he was the one who taught Plato the value of philosophical examination of moral and political opinion (Deighton, 1971, p. 56).

As a metaphysician Plato presents a mental representation of an unchanging place in contrast to the ever changing ways of the material world (Kahn, 1989, p. 294). Plato formulated this idea, or rather believed this idea, and conceived a world of Forms so that the soul could be trained to turn away from the empirical pseudo reality of the changing world. The only objects of knowledge were the Forms – a theory entailing that nothing which could be perceived could be known. Plato would later give issue to the importance of studying Mathematics; an abstract concept that doesn’t exists physically but holds true to our daily life.

The concepts of the Non-Material World and the Forms were also emphasized in one of his dialogues: The Allegory of the Cave. The Cave and the Prisoners The Allegory of the Cave was a brilliant representation of a human’s mind’s awakening from a comfortable ignorance to a painful enlightenment. Plato believed that there exists a Non-Material World where all Forms are present. By saying the Form, Plato was referring to the intangible world where the real objects exist (Cohen, 2006). Everything in this world was just an imitation of the real thing.

The characters of this dialogue were Socrates and Glaucon, Socrates’ young follower in the story. In the beginning of the dialogue, Socrates carefully presented his story by describing the location and situation of the cave, which was underground and had an opening in the direction of the light (Ebenstein, 2000). There were people living inside this cave, and they were here ever since they were born. They were overly chained to the extent where there was no way they could turn their heads around. Their field of vision was limited to the extent of the wall only. Fires were lit above and behind them.

There were also puppeteers and men carrying different sorts of instruments behind them. The puppets and instruments cast shadows on the wall. The chained prisoners deduced that the sounds were probably coming from the shadows – where could it possibly come from? The shadows were the only thing they knew. Upon analyzing this part of the story, we can say that Plato was trying to interpret the ignorant state of the world in the form of the cave. The walls of the cave set the frontier of what the prisoners see and understand. It is the boundary of what they believe. Nobody questioned what lies beyond that wall.

For them, there is absolutely nothing beyond it. But of course, they are not aware of their own ignorance. They don’t even recognize that they had unconsciously situated their own limitations. They were confined inside a box, a box where they unknowingly refused to leave. Imagination stopped upon the wall. In real life, the chain that binds the prisoners is the society and its norms. The society sets rules and laws that prevent those not brave enough to make their own analysis of the world. The prisoners represent untutored and misled minds; such people knew nothing of the source of the shadows (Cohen, 2006).

Combining the above arguments, we can articulate that most of us are prisoners of our own world. The Unchained Prisoner The story continued when Socrates introduced the concept of freedom. One of the prisoners was unchained and forced to see the things that were just behind him all his life. At first he was bewildered, not to mention the exertion of straining his eyes was excruciating. It was hard to absorb all of things at once; but given the time and effort, he saw and realized in full light that the shadows on the wall were just inaccurate imitations of the real things (Ebenstein, 2000).

Then he was led outside the cave to see a different source of light, the sun, and similar to his first struggle, he experienced pain upon his eyes while observing it. After adjusting to this whole new world, he then slowly grasped the glaring truth: the source of the shadows came from this wonderful world. The great enlightenment began. What was the force that led the man to the path of enlightenment? In real life, it is the experience and the struggle. The lessons a person learned from his problems help him to be humble and look past his limitations. He doesn’t ask for his problems.

Problems come naturally to him; this sets the similarity between the literal freedom of the prisoner and the freedom of a person’s mind: they both lead to the source of light. The process by which he faces the tribulations is painstaking and agonizing. He may not be able to withstand it, but because of his open mind and flexible imagination, he will surpass this stage (Cohen, 2006). Going Back Inside the Cave Upon recovering from his utter shock, the unchained man remembered his fellow prisoners. He quickly went back to the cave to deliver the news. But his sudden trip back from light to darkness was so much for him.

He was completely unprepared for another painful adjustment of sight. But even though he was experiencing such a difficulty, he still informed his comrades what he saw. He told them everything. Nobody believed him though. Plato emphasized another important thing in this part of the story: a person cannot completely see the light by just turning his soul, the body must also follow. Since the other prisoners don’t have the ability to turn their heads around, they couldn’t see the truth that the unchained prisoner was trying to reveal. They would see him as a deluded man. They assumed that his exploits had done nothing good to his reasons.

They wouldn’t hear his explanations neither would they wish to free themselves. But subconsciously, they were also afraid to believe him. What if all of the things they have done were nothing but nonsense? So they hid inside their own boxes even though they were already given the opportunity to explore more of life. They were afraid of the truth because truth might hurt them. Aside from Socrates, there was another philosopher who was faced with the same treatment. He was Confucius, a Chinese political figure whose influence had reached even the other side of the globe (Riegel, 2006).

Although Confucius’ concepts were wildly accepted today, back in his time almost everybody, save his followers, refused to consider his teachings. If it wasn’t for the faithful endeavor of his followers Confucius would just be a random name in the street. Socrates and Confucius are blessed with good followers. Plato’s Intention in Writing the Allegory Plato, like any other person, was born with an ignorant mind. But because of the life changing events of his life, i. e. the death of his childhood friend and mentor, he was bound to alter his way from seeing the material world to conceiving the Non-Material world.

Plato may either be referring to Socrates’ or his own awakening. The freed prisoner might either be him or his mentor. But if he wasn’t a freed man himself he wouldn’t be able to accurately and astutely describe this state of enlightenment. In Plato’s works, he described a hierarchy of occupation, the Philosopher King being the highest. A Philosopher King must posses a deep and thorough understanding about the Forms, and therefore from the title itself must be a superior philosopher (Ebenstein, 2000). In the Allegory of the Cave, he was simply giving a very good analogy of a philosopher’s awakening to the truth.

So far, this paper discussed Socrates’ major role in Plato’s works. The injustice of his death widened Plato’s understanding about the world’s limited view of the physical world. Here, the meaning behind the Allegory of the Cave was discussed. Being able to see and understand the Non-Material world helped us understand Plato’s interpretation of enlightenment. A person’s struggle to solve his physical, psychological and especially spiritual problems uplifts his understanding of the Forms. Then Plato’s intention in writing the Allegory was examined using his concept about the Philosopher King.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and the Non-Material World Essay

Reflection Paper on “The Republic” by Plato Essay

Reflection Paper on “The Republic” by Plato Essay.

Greek philosopher, Plato, is considered to be one of the most influential people in Western Philosophy. The fact that he was a student of Socrates and a teacher of Aristotle leaves no questions about his competence. One of his fundamental works is the “Republic”. Even though it was written in 380 BC, Plato’s and Socrates’s thoughts are still relevant in twenty first century. This paper will evaluate the quote from the “Republic” and provide a summary of a quote; provide a context from the text for the quote; and finally, it will include my own thoughts on the quote and the Socrates’s argument as a whole.

The given quote is a paragraph from the fourth book of the “Republic”. It says that a just person is a person, who has every part of his soul doing its own work. In other words, his soul should be in harmony, where the spirited part has to listen to reason and be its helper, and where the reason with a help of spirit control the appetitive part of the soul.

According to Socrates, there is only one way for a person to be just, to be a friend of himself, to be wise in his actions – it is to achieve this inner harmony.

The quote is related to the dialogue between Socrates and Glaucon about “justice”. Glaucon had doubts on such questions as “what makes a person just or unjust? ”; “isn’t it more beneficial to be unjust? ”; “why people are willing to be just if it’s not beneficial for them? ”. In order to get answers for these questions, he came to Socrates. First of all, Socrates has identified that the soul of a person is divided into three parts. The first part is “reason”, which is needed for calculation and making decisions. Socrates also called “reason” as the rational part of the soul.

The opposite of the rational part is the appetitive or irrational part, with which a person lusts, hungers, thirsts and gets excited by other appetites. The last thing in the soul Socrates called the spiritual part, and defined it as a helper of the rational part, provided that it hasn’t been corrupted by a bad upbringing. Furthermore, Socrates provides an analogy between a person and a city-state. According to Socrates, the city is similar to a human being in a sense that it also consists of three classes: the money-making (appetitive), auxiliary (spirit), and deliberative (reason).

He claims that the city is just if, and only if, all these three classes do their own job and do not interfere in one another’s actions. Consequently, a person is just because all 3 parts of his soul are doing their own job, according to provided analogy. In my opinion, it is not right to divide the world into just and unjust. Justice itself is subjective, in a sense that everybody has his own justice. Moreover, not necessarily all three parts should be in harmony in order to be just. For example, let us imagine that there are two best friends.

One of them has a gun made of gold, and he tells his friend: “Could you please hold my golden gun for some time and give it back to me when I will ask you to do so. ” The other guy takes the gun and he is willing to give it back when the time comes. But, the friend, who is the gun-owner, becomes angry and wants to kill his neighbor because he is too loud. After the second friend was informed of it, the first tells him to give him the gun. In this situation, the friend’s reason tells him not to give the gun back, because he wants to avoid a murder. His will wants to give the gun back, because he must do so.

And finally, his appetites want to hold the gun, because he always wanted to have a golden gun. Therefore, if the gun will not be given back, then the person will be just, according to the argument that the spirit will obey the reason, and these two will restrain appetites. However, supposing the same situation happened to different pair of friends, but another person’s reason will tell him to give the gun back to its owner, because he gave a promise to his best friend and he cannot violate it. Then, a person will be just if he will give the gun back. Socrates could argue that the reason of one of them is not enough developed.

But those two friends, who both faced this uneasy dilemma, are both the best philosophers in the world. If Socrates’s objection is correct, then it is impossible to identify what is really just and what is really unjust, even if there is a proper idea of a “justice”. On the other hand, if Socrates’s objection is incorrect, then one possible explanation for this is that different people have different views about what is just and what is not. To conclude, Socrates’s argument was that the idea of a “justice” is to maintain a harmony in the soul, so that all its parts (desires, spirit and reason) do not intervene in each other’s work.

Also, he mentioned that a just person never acts without this inner harmony. However, from my personal perspective, the knowledge about the idea of a “justice” is not enough for analyzing just and unjust actions. The same issues might be just and unjust at the same time for different people. Therefore, “justice” is subjective term. However, the suggestions above do not contradict to the main quote or to the Socrates’s arguments. For this reason, I agree with the argument that a just person is the one who has a reason and its helper – will, taken the appetites under control.

Reflection Paper on “The Republic” by Plato Essay

Plato Republic the Noble Lie Essay

Plato Republic the Noble Lie Essay.

As with all other topics discussed in “The Republic of Plato,” the section in which he discusses the myths of the metals or the “noble lie” is layered with questioning and potential symbolism, possible contradiction, and a significant measure of allusion. In Chapter X of “The Republic,” Plato presents “The Selection of Rulers: The Guardians’ Manner of Living. ” In it, he discusses the necessities of education as they apply to the appropriate selection of and reparation for the community’s leaders.

As in other areas of “The Republic,” Plato carefully outlines the delineations which form the basis for the types of rulers to be installed in the state. “Rulers” (legislative and udicial), “Auxiliaries” (executive), and “Craftsmen” (productive and fficacious) are the titles of the categories and are based, not on birth or wealth, but on natural capacities and aspirations. Plato was convinced that children born into any class should still be moved up or down based on their merits regardless of their connections or heritage.

He believes the citizens of the State will support and benefit from such a system and presents the idea in the form of an allegorical myth. His allegory was based in part on the prevalent belief that some people were literally “autochthonous,” born from the soil, and partly from the stories of the philosopher Hesiod who chronicled the genealogy of the gods and goddesses as well as their accomplishments and exploits. Hesiod’s account of the Golden, Silver, and Bronze races which had succeeded one another before the current to “The Republic’s” age of Iron forms the basis for the myths of the metals.

Since the ancient Greeks were convinced that all myths were primarily the work of even more ancient poets who had been inspired by the Muses, some ther “divine” force, or consciously invented, the lesson in the story of the metals was to be paid attention to in order to learn the important truth (or truths) that form the core of the information to be transferred to the young and untrained mind of the future leaders in training.

“They must have the right sort of intelligence and ability; and also they must look upon the commonwealth as their special concern ? the sort of concern that is felt for something so closely bound up with oneself that its interests and fortunes, for good or ill, are held to be identical with one’s own” (The Republic of Plato X:III-412) Socrates tells Glaucon who naturally agrees.

Socrates goes on to emphasize that the men that are chosen from among the Guardians must be those who are filled with enthusiasm and the determination to do the best they possibly can for the greater good of the people of the commonwealth and for the organization of the commonwealth itself. He asserts that they must never be willing to act against that collective interest. Socrates expands on his metaphor of the metals and explains that the future rulers must be fashioned as precious metals are fashioned by careful artistry and craft.

But first he asks Glaucon: “. . .can we devise something in the way of those convenient fictions we spoke of earlier, a single bold flight of invention, which we may induce the community in general, and if possible the Rulers themselves, to accept? ” (The Republic of Plato X:III-414). Such a tongue-in-cheek question, the reference to “a single bold flight of invention” is what has come to be known as commonly rendered by “noble lie,” a self-contradictory expression which is no more applicable to Plato’s comparatively harmless storytelling than to a 20th century political campaign publication.

Such use of the “noble lie” suggests that he would agree to the use or be unconcerned about correcting the lies, for the most part dishonorable (certainly not “noble”), that are now most commonly thought to be unabashed propaganda. Returning to the metaphor of crafting precious metals, Socrates tells that while all men throughout the land are brothers, the god who was responsible for the creation of individuals chose to mix a certain measure of gold in the substance of those most fit to rule, making them the most precious.

He then explains that silver was the substance added to the “Auxiliaries,” and iron and brass to the people who were to be a part of the commonwealth as farmers or craftsmen. Socrates, in his typical fashion, covers all possible eventualities by noting that “although your children will generally be like their parents, sometimes a golden parent may have a silver child or a silver parent a golden one, and so on with al the other combinations” (The Republic of Plato X:III-415).

Therefore, Socrates asserts, there is nothing as important as the measure and mixture of the metals in the souls of children. He concludes that if a child is born with an strong mixture of iron or brass, it is the responsibility of the parents to assure that he finds aposition and a life that best suits his nature and they are to do so without pity or derision. Naturally, if a child is produced with gold or silver as a part of his nature, it is equally incumbent upon the arents to nurture his leadership qualities and promote him according to his worthiness and value.

Socrates, however, worries aloud whether or not the general population can or will understand such a premise and Glaucon notes that it is unlikely that the idea will be understood in the first generation but that generations following and, ltimately, all of mankind, will come to understand and honor the concept of the metals. Socrates is comforted by such a reassuring thought. He is thoroughly convinced that the commonwealth will not, cannot survive if the state is passed into the dominion of a man of iron or brass.

In fact, Socrates takes the allegory of the metals one step further to explain to Glaucon that the future Guardians must even be kept from concerns or desires for silver and metal since, “Gold and silver, we shall tell them, they will not need, having the divine counterparts of those metals in their souls as a god-given possession” (The Republic of Plato X:III-417). He goes on to say that the Guardians are not to come in contact with gold and silver and lays out a plan by which they will neither need or desire the trappings of glory and wealth since they are always clothed in gold and silver and riches as part of their inner being.

He is convinced that if an individual who is a cobbler or a farmer “goes to the bad and pretends to be what he is not” (The Republic of Plato X:III-420) the entire well-being of the state is not in jeopardy. But such is most certainly not the case if the person is a Guardian or Auxiliary. There is no point, Socrates says, in producing a happiness like that of a “party of peasants feasting at a fair. ” Such a person who would aspire to such a community “has something in mind other than a civic community” (The Republic of Plato X:III-421). Of course, Glaucon agrees.

Plato Republic the Noble Lie Essay

Meno Virtue Essay

Meno Virtue Essay.

Meno, an influential speaker, is traveling through Athens when he encounters Socrates. Meno is a well known individual who has spoken in front of large crowds the meaning of virtue. He is a student who studied under Gorgias, another well know teacher of virtue. Socrates provokes a discussion regarding virtue when he states that, “I have never known of anyone else who did [know virtue], in my judgment. ” This prompted Meno to stand up and prove to Socrates he could accurately define virtue.

Through their conversation, Socrates challenges Meno and enlightens him to a new way of thinking.

Proving that Meno knows what virtue is he provides Socrates with instances where virtue is portrayed. He says “there are virtues numberless and no lack of definitions of them; for virtue is relative to the actions and ages of each of us in all that we do”. Socrates is unhappy with the definition and quickly relates Meno’s “swarm of virtues” to a swarm of bees.

He states that all bees differ in shape and size, however do these differences mean that they are not still bees? Meno replies that they would still be bees regardless of their shapes.

Socrates then continues to say that there must be at least one quality within all bees that make it a bee by nature and with virtue he must find one characteristic common with all virtues in order to properly define it. In an attempt to find a common characteristic that is true within all virtues Meno suggests that justice is found in all virtues. He confidently answers Socrates “…justice is virtue”. Though a series of questions Socrates explains that justice is “a virtue” and not “virtue”. To further prove his point he states that roundness is “a figure” and it is incorrect to state that roundness is “figure”.

Considering that there are other figures in the world, he must as well consider the other virtues. Socrates then provides a very similar example with “color”. So in the end, justice is concluded (by Meno) as “a virtue” and they still have no definition for virtue. Most importantly Socrates is able to give acceptable definitions of both figure and color. Socrates concludes his definitions to Meno who is still puzzled on the definition of virtue and proposes another solution. In the beginning of the story Socrates entices Meno by sharing that he does not know the true meaning of virtue and has never known anyone to know it either.

It leads to a conversation about virtue that perplexed Meno because he thought he was a knowledgeable speaker. To Meno it was viewed as a simple task however due to Socrates critiques, Meno definitely became aware he knew less than he thought he did about the nature of virtue. Additionally, I believe that Socrates does not truly know the meaning of virtue. The way he approaches Meno was a little bit insulting and caused the reaction that Socrates was looking for. Finally, Socrates only asks questions when looking for specific answers.

He does not teach his views, but rather lets Meno “recall” information when attempting to arrive at the meaning of virtue. Lastly, if Meno made an incorrect statement, Socrates himself would merely recall an opposition to that statement as proof in order to keep him on track. As Meno and Socrates continue to acquire about the meaning of virtue, Socrates explains a foreign concept of the soul’s ability to recollect past thoughts. Socrates explains that there is a belief that the soul is immortal and after the body dies the soul is not destroyed. It has experienced all things and there is nothing it has not known.

Learning is thought of as a recollection of what the soul has known before the individual’s lifespan. Therefore virtue can possibly be recollected if asked the right questions. In order to for Socrates to prove the souls ability to recall past events he sets up a demonstration for Meno. Socrates asks him to call over a servant so he can prove the capability of the soul’s recollection. His goal is to show that the servant, who has no previous experience or knowledge of geometry, actually can recall a portion of the subject matter. If he can, then the boy will be able to answer the questions that Socrates asks him.

To Meno’s surprise he witnesses the servants eventually answer correctly about the geometric figures in which he had never seen. Socrates proposes that the boy has recalled knowledge from a previous life in order to correctly respond to the answers. Confused, Meno is convinced of the recollection theory and agrees that the slave had within himself some knowledge that was never taught to him. To continue the process in defining the nature of virtue, Socrates suggests that one can seek knowledge by offering a possible explanation to the question.

He states that geometers use a hypothesis to assist them in forming a conclusion; so that is what they decide to do. In this case Socrates hypothesizes virtue to be a form of knowledge and therefore can be taught and recollected. There are many similarities between Meno and the servants experience with Socrates. Before the theory of the soul’s recollection was announced, Socrates was already utilizing it with Meno. Meno’s latest accounts of virtue are much better and make more sense as he progresses with Socrates. However, Socrates never really gave him a conclusion and instead he allowed Meno to come to the decision on his own.

Additionally, the servant came to his decision on his own. Both Meno and the servant are better off being informed only because their previous knowledge was wrong (according to themselves). In each case Meno and the slave thought they knew the right answer to Socrates’ question. After only answering questions that Socrates proposed and again not necessarily teaching, both parties came to alter their position. Finally, neither of these two had past experience of the subject matter and came to self-realizations (Meno’s realization is that he does not fully understand the nature of virtue).

The slave admitted that he had no previous geometry knowledge when he was asked. Meno on the other hand had wrong knowledge, which can easily be considered no knowledge on the matter of virtue. For this, Socrates believes they are both better off for knowing their ignorance because they would never would have “enquired into or learned what he fancied that he knew, though he was really ignorant of it”. I think the beginning of the Meno is full of creativity and symbolism. Socrates invokes many new ways of thought and most importantly a very sound theory of the soul’s ability to recollect past knowledge.

I believe he uses this theory as a way to connect with your inner self, possibly your heart, to attain knowledge. Just because a man was taught societies beliefs, he must ask himself if they are truly his beliefs. Additionally it is a positive approach to approaching new ideas. To think that a part of our soul has the knowledge and all we have to do is ask the right questions and it can be recovered is a fascinating thought. This type of thinking can bring out creativity, passion, and excitement, etc. and possibly lead to more inner discoveries than we may have ever known.

Most importantly, it offers us a way around blindly accepting beliefs that are in question. Many ideas that society has “taught” us may or may not be correct. Just as Socrates asked Meno and the servant questions to formulate a conclusion, individuals in today’s society must follow in suit. We must ask about the issues at hand and not just assume what we know is correct. Socrates would agree that that is a terrible offense regarding knowledge. Similarly, just how Meno stated that virtue may be different from case to case, so are many of society’s beliefs.

Meno Virtue Essay

Plato’s 4 Virtues Essay

Plato’s 4 Virtues Essay.

In the Republic, Plato sets up a framework to help us establish what the four virtues are, and their relationship between them to both the city and the soul. According to Plato, the four virtues are wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice. There are three classes within the city: guardians, auxiliaries, and artisans; and three parts within the soul include intellect, high-spirited, and appetitive. By understanding the different classes of the city or parts of the soul, one will be able to appreciate how the virtues attribute to each one specifically.

Book II of the Republic opens with Plato’s two brothers, both who want to know which is the better life to live: the just or the unjust. First, Socrates wants to know, “what justice and injustice are and what power each itself has when it’s by itself in the soul” (Cahn 130). One needs to understand what the soul is before one can talk about virtue because the relationship between the soul and virtue is excellence.

This sets up the foundation that the structure of the soul and the city are similar in relation to the four virtues.

In order for Socrates to accomplish this, he needs to examine the larger one first, the city, representing the ontological. Then, he is going to examine the smaller one, the soul, representing the epistemological. The establishment of each of these will display how the two mirror off one another, allowing the relationship between the city and the soul to become visible. Plato sets out the depiction that the city comes into being because not everyone is self-sufficient, but rather everyone needs different things in order to survive.

Each person in the city is going to have one specific function to perform, which establishes the proper order of a just city contains three different classes: the guardians, the auxiliaries, and the artisans. In having established this ideal city, one can determine that it is completely good, therefore, it should be seen as wise, courageous, moderate, and just. Each one of the classes established in the city relates to a particular virtue. For the guardian class, “a whole city established according to nature would be wise because of the smallest class and part in it, namely, the governing or ruling one.

And to this class, which seems to be by nature the smallest, belongs a share of the knowledge that alone among all the other kinds of knowledge is to be called wisdom” (Cahn 144). The intellect the guardians possess, allows the city to have good judgment and be considered wise by the people, since so few have this ability. This helps them pass legislation allowing all of the other classes to be in harmony with one another bringing the city to a state of unity.

For the auxiliary class, “the city is courageous, then, because of a part of itself that has the power to preserve through everything its belief about what things are to be feared” (Cahn 144). The auxiliaries demonstrate this kind of preservation about what is to be feared and what is not to be feared and under no circumstances do they abandon their beliefs because of pains, pleasures, desires, or fears. As they fear the destruction of the city and anything that will bring it about, “this power to preserve through everything the correct and law-inculcated belief about what is to be feared and what isn’t is what I call courage” (Cahn 145).

Their determination to remain dedicated to being courageous will lead to justice within the city. For the artisan class, “moderation spreads throughout the whole. It makes the weakest, the strongest, and those in between…all sing the same song together. And this unanimity, this agreement between the naturally worse and the naturally better as to which of the two is to rule both in the city and in each one, is rightly called moderation” (Cahn 146).

By willingly accepting the dictates of the guardians by not objecting the legislation they pass, they are putting the city in a state of harmony. It can clearly be seen that only when each class is properly performing its particular role within the city, will justice be able to prevail. For Plato, “Justice, I think, is exactly what we said must be established throughout the city when we were founding it…everyone must practice one of the occupations in the city for which he is naturally best suited” (Cahn 147).

This only happens when the city is not in a state of internal conflict with itself allowing the highest principle, good, to be seen; making it the most unified, therefore being just. Since the proper order of the city has now been established, it is time to turn inward to one’s soul to determine where justice and injustice might lie, and what the difference is between the two. Plato believes, “if an individual has these same three parts in his soul, we will expect him to be correctly called by the same names as the city if he has the same conditions in them” (Cahn 148).

Now that Plato has found the four virtues within the larger environment of the city, he now wants to investigate their relationship to the smaller environment of the soul. The first part of the soul that calculates is considered rational by having the ability to make good judgment, known as its intellect. The second part of the soul that desires certain indulgences and pleasures; such as, food, drink, and sex, is considered irrational and is known as its appetitive part.

The third part of the soul is known as the high-spirited, which allows a person to get angry by giving way to the use of their emotions. The appetite of one’s soul draws a person towards things, while the intellect of one’s soul pushes that person away, thus creating two different parts. The high-spirited is, “a third thing in the soul that is by nature the helper of the rational part” (Cahn 151). Originally, the spirited part was thought of as being appetitive; however, when there is a civil war within one’s soul, the anger of the high-spirit allies with the rational part of the soul.

Now that the three different parts of the soul have been identified, it is clear that, “the same number and the same kinds of classes as are in the city are also in the soul of each individual…Therefore, it necessarily follows that the individual is wise in the same way and in the same part of himself as the city” (Cahn 151-152). Accordingly, the intellect of the soul should rule, as the guardian class does in the city because they both display the virtue of wisdom allowing them to exercise understanding on behalf of the whole soul and city.

Similarly, the high-spirit of the soul should use anger, as the auxiliary class does in the city because they both demonstrate the virtue of courage allowing them to maintain proper order and harmony needed to establish justice. When the two parts of the soul and the city work together, the virtue of moderation is exhibited; because the soul’s appetitive part and city’s artisan class will be working together to maintain a state of unity. As seen with the city, justice will only emerge in the soul when each of the three parts are properly ordered and in a state of harmony with one another.

In the city, the guardians and auxiliaries exist in order to control and direct the artisan class; while in the soul, the intellect and high-spirit exist in order to rule over the appetites of the individual. Justice in the city and soul are related to one another because, “in truth justice is, it seems, something of this sort…binds together those parts and any others there may be in between, and from having been many things he becomes entirely one, moderate and harmonious” (Cahn 153).

When an individual is acting justly, then they are being true to the three parts of their soul, allowing the virtue of justice to surface. When each of the three classes in the city are properly performing their roles, then is the virtue of justice displayed. Plato describes justice as the perfect harmony between the parts both within the soul and within the city as the best possible combination to illustrate all four of the virtues.

Plato’s 4 Virtues Essay

Plato ethics Essay

Plato ethics Essay.

Every person does not do what he believes as to be the best, but however, there is an open door for a person to act on an appetitive attitude that conflicts with rational attitudes what is good. Some conflicting attitudes are dependent to different objects. This external conflict does not necessarily require an internal division of psychology attitudes (Irwin, 1999). The psychological theory of Plato is a bit complicating than the basic division that might be suggested by an individual.

There are various types of appetite attitudes which may be appealing for a person; however, some may be unnecessary but lawful, while others unnecessary and uncontrollable.

A part from these appetite attitudes, there are also five pure psychological constitutes. Theses are aristocratically constituted individual, democratically constituted individual, olgarchically constituted individual, timocraticalliy constituted individual, and lastly, tyramically constituted individual.

In all sense, the independent among the virtues is not simpler in anyway, since the unfair person in most case fails to wise, courageous and temperate.

Lastly, in Plato’s view, the individual can be characterized by his lawless behaviors as enslaved to do what it wants, full of disorder, regret, as poor and disgruntled, and as fearful.

Therefore, for one to succeed in life, he must be composed and decide to do what he thinks is better to him. All that one should struggle to do is to ensure that justice is practice to in the manner acceptable to all.

Plato ethics Essay

Socrates’ Failure in Refuting Thrasymachus Essay

Socrates’ Failure in Refuting Thrasymachus Essay.

In producing a counter argument to Thrasymachus’ claim that justice is the advantage of the stronger, Socrates bases his argument enourmously on sentimentality and prejudice. He assumes that the virtues which are supposedly functioning in the realm of ideas can also work propably in the World. For example, in Socrates’ view, a doctor does not seek his own advantage, but the advantage of his patients. Yet, this view reflects the perfect ideal of a doctor in Socrates’ belief of ideas in a dream world.

With a modern perspective, one can fairly see that Socrates’ refutation has some complexities which clash severely with the real experiences of the Ancient Greek. Socrates’ image of the doctor ignores the inherent human desire or fragility to obtaining the power for his advantage. Socrates confuses the crafts with the craftsmen occasionally.

The crafts such as medicine or horse-breeding are idealized. However, craftsmen are human and they are liable to exploit the authority which their crafts give over them.

Therefore, Thrasymachus’ idea of justice is more applicable than Socrates’. Socrates manages to appease Thrasymachus, but that does not mean Socrates is successful about refuting Thrasymachus. In fact, if one observes their conversation critically, it is obvious that Socrates fails to refute Thrasymachus’ argument. Socrates is very optimistic and emotional towards human nature, which causes his arguments and refutations to be fragile . The virtue in individuals does not always bring prosperity to the state on the whole. Not everyone is sensitive to the good of the others.

Socrates’ republic is, in this sense, utopic. Socrates states, “Anyone who intends to practise his craft well never does or orders but his best for himself ” (Plato, 23). This belief does not match the modern experience nor does it match the experience of a Greek citizen in Ancient Greece. In reverse, Thrasymachus believes that justice is a means for the strong to exercise advantage. In a sense Thrasymachus associates the strenght of a citizen with his authority and position in the society. He famously states, “Justice is nothing other than the advantage of the stronger” (Plato, 14). Justice is a tool for the established order to preserve itself. The strong citizen with a sizeable authority makes use of justice in a manner to assert his private interests.

Under the shadow of justice, he can easily practise injustice and impose it as justice to the others. Thats why the strong is in a position to employ justice and injustice at their own interest. For instance, since a ruler makes laws in a position to twist justice for his own benefit. Therefore, his prior concern is to preserve and enhance his own authority. In order to do that, he ignores the welfare of his subjects. He does not act always within a moral perspective. Thrasymachus believes that even in the lower classes of the society, this is exactly the case. In terms of taxes, for example, an unjust man will gain more economically since he will always search for the ways to avoid taxation.

A just man, on the other hand, with a sentimental love for his state and a respect for it, pays his taxes regularly and gains less than an unjust man in economical perspective. Thrasymachus believes that a man with authority is always just. Because he profits at the end. So, Thrasymachus concentrates mainly on the outcome of the act in a pragmatic way. He does not give any importance to the unjust proceedings which a man with authority exercise in order to achieve private benefit and gain. Socrates, on the other hand, believes that even a simple act of injustice on the path to power eradicate not only the man as an individual, but also the society on the whole.

Socrates is trying to harmonize his own utopic world with the realities of the earth which he thinks can be transformed and shaped. His views are rather romantic with a nostalgic perspective. Socrates is not skeptical unlike sophist philosophers of his age. He reasons, however, with a firm belief in his own conception of this world which is a projection of a higher world of ideas functioning in harmony. He believes that gods are just (Plato, 29). Homer’s Iliad on the other hand states otherwise, portraying gods are cruel and jelous. Therefore, Socrates thinks within his own ideology. He tries to impose his ideology to Thrasymachus who never disagrees with him at all.

For example, in Socrates’ opinion, injustice causes civil strife, antagonism and disorder while justice brings friendship and a sense of common purpose. However, in a World which does not precisely regulate the terms of justice or injustice, Thrasymachus’ view that justice always looks to the advantage of the stronger makes more sense. Thrasymachus’ claims are based on his own experience of Ancient Greek life while Socrates’ statements hardly related to the realities of the life surrounding him. He is blinded by what he firmly believes. He is trying to adjust the common realities of the society to his own ideology.

Altough he is able to convince Thrasymachus at the end, what he does during this process is misleading. Thrasymachus seems to be an agent for Socrates to express his ideology in a dialogue for. Thrasymachus’ presence is only to introduce the question and to be a passive listener during Socrates’ answering process. Therefore, Socrates’ refutation of Thrasymachus’ claim that justice is advantage of the stronger is nothing but a dictation of Socrates’ attempt to reconcile his own ideology of a utopic republic with the status quo in Ancient Greece.

In conclusion, Socrates’ contradiction to Thrasymachus may be convincing for Plato’s Greek audience, but it is not anyway convincing to the modern reader. Socrates’ idea of justice can only be valid in the future of Socrates’ lifetime in Socrates’ view. It does not correspond to Socrates’ actual reality. It is aimed to construct an emotional idea of justice in a future time. It is only possible by changing the realities of the world in a manner to suit Socrates’ ideology.

Socrates’ Failure in Refuting Thrasymachus Essay

Phaedrus as a Discourse on Rhetoric Essay

Phaedrus as a Discourse on Rhetoric Essay.

Plato’s dialogue Phaedrus is primarily about rhetoric. It initially shows rhetoric through speeches about love, (230e-234d, 237a-241d)1 but in the second half, Socrates broadens the discussion, detailing the nature and proper practice of love and rhetoric, bringing the two topics together, and showing how each is necessary for the practice and mastery of the art. (243e-257b) The first major speech, by Phaedrus, parodies the style of Lysias, a popular rhetorician, deals with the relationship between youths and their older male admirers, lovers and non-lovers.

In reply, Socrates accepts the basic topic, but develops and deepens several themes. Socrates follows this with a great recantation speech, filled with beautiful and powerful images. It is an allegorical myth, touching on the subject of true love and of the soul’s journeys, and reaching genuinely poetic heights. (237a-241d) Phaedrus is unlike other dialogues in that it is not a retelling of a days events. It is the direct exchange of Socrates and Phaedrus, with no other interlocutors.

The reader sees this exchange first hand, as if witnessing the events themselves.

Further, like natural conversation, the dialogue does not limit itself to a single subject. It glides from one topic to another. Phaedrus: The Dialogue versus the Limits of a Treatise: Phaedrus is a dialogue about rhetoric. It is a dialogue about love. It is also about the relationship between Socrates and Phaedrus, shifting conversationally from one subject to another, often moving through innuendoes and multiple entendres along the way. It is a human piece, as well as a study in different but interrelated topics. Using the dialogue form, Plato can intersperse themes in a ways unthinkable in a treatise.

One key issues that he interjects is pederasty, love of a man for a youth. In a treatise on rhetoric, almost any such reference would be awkward; here, it becomes an added layer, highlighting much that is said. Lysias’ speech is expressly about pederastic relationships. (230e-234d) In his great speech, Socrates details the impact of pederastic relationship on the evolution of the soul. Discussion of pederastic love and ideals. (250a-258b) Throughout the dialogue, double entendres and sexual innuendo is abundant.

Phaedrus flirts with Socrates as he encourages him to make his first speech. 235b, 236b-d) Phaedrus remarks that at noon-time that Socrates should not leave as the heat has not passed and it is “straight-up, as they say. ” (242a) Socrates wishes to know what Phaedrus is holding under his cloak. (228d) And yet, role reversals between lover and beloved are constant. Socrates exhorts Phaedrus to lead the way at various times, (229b) and the dialogue ends with Socrates and Phaedrus leaving as “friends,” equals, not lover and beloved. (279b-c) They sit under a “chaste” tree (229a, 236e) — often known as “monk’s pepper,” used to decrease sexual urges and believed to be an antaphrodisiac.

Notably, Socrates sees the ideal relationship as asexual: the relationship is a form of divine madness, helping both lover and beloved to grow and reach the divine. (242a, 243a-b) Another, less notable topic that the dialogue keeps in play is the natural setting. After originally remarking that “landscapes and trees have nothing to teach me, only people do,” (230d) Socrates make several references drawing on the natural setting. (229b, 242a, 242b, 251b) He repeatedly invokes the presence and action of gods and nymphs. 230b, 241e, 278b) In a treatise, Plato could not make such references.

This is clearly a work in which Plato knew how to use the dialogue form, and he used it thoroughly. To have presented this as a treatise would have been to give up much of the strength of this work. Phaedrus as an Ideal Conversation: Part of the effectiveness of Phaedrus lies in its sequence. It moves from Phaedrus’ reading of Lysias’ speech (228a-e) dealing with a foolish paradox of why it is better for a boy to give his favor to an older non-lover rather than to a lover, listing a range of reasons. 231-234c) Phaedrus is captivated with the beauty of this piece. Socrates fawns admiration, but when Phaedrus asks him not to joke, (234d-e) Socrates admits that he thought the speech poor: repetitious, uninterested in its subject, and pretentious.

He can do better, (235a, 235c) and he does, not simply listing reasons, but developing an argument. All men desire beauty, but some are in love and some are not. Men are ruled by two principles: the inborn desire for pleasure, and an acquired judgment to pursue the best. 237d-238) Following different desires leads to different things, the most selfish being the uncontrolled enjoyment of personal beauty. One caught in this desire will want to turn his youthful beloved into whatever is most pleasing to himself, not what is best for the youth. (238c-240a) ‘As wolves love lambs so lovers love their loves. ‘ (241d) At some point, “right-minded reason” will finally overcome “the madness of love. ” (241a) By contrast, a non-lover, ruled by judgment, will focus more on what is good for the youth. (241e) The second half of the Dialogue is a critique of the first.

Socrates assails rhetorical practice on various grounds, the key being the confusion of preliminary knowledge with creative power. No attainments will provide the speaker with genius; and the sort of attainments which can alone be of any value are the higher philosophy and the power of psychological analysis, which is given by dialectic, but not by the rules of the rhetoricians. (273d-e) Phaedrus and Proper Rhetoric Phaedrus claims that a good speechmaker does not need to know the truth of what he is speaking on, only how to persuade, (260a) persuasion being the purpose of oration.

Socrates first objects that an orator who does not know bad from good will harvest “a crop of really poor quality. ” (260d) Socrates says of speaking that even someone knowing the truth cannot convince people unless he knows the art of persuasion; (260d) but mastery of the art of speaking requires knowing the truth. (260e) Rhetoric, the art of persuasion, encompasses all speaking. (261e) To persuade an audience one must approach them by using similarities. To do this, one must know what things are similar and different.

A person lacking this knowledge, cannot make proper comparisons. (262a-c) To master the art of rhetoric, one must recognize the division between objective subjects (iron, silver), and emotive subjects (love). (263b) Lysias failed to make this distinction, and accordingly, failed to even define what “love” itself is in the beginning; the rest of his speech appears random, and is poorly constructed. (263e-264b) Socrates then goes on to say, every speech must be put together like a living creature, all parts fitting together as a whole work. (264c)

By contrast to Lysias’ failed effort, Socrates’ great speech starts with a thesis and proceeds to divine love, and setting it out as the greatest of goods. He shows how a true rhetorician must determine the nature of the hearer’s soul, just as medicine must determine the nature of the body. The skilled rhetorician must know the different types of souls and how they are moved. (271a-272b) The truly skilled speaker chooses a proper soul and sows within it discourse capable of helping itself as well as a the man who planted it, which produces a seed from which more discourse grows in the character of others.

Such discourse makes the seed forever immortal and renders the man who has it happy as any human being can be. (276e-277a) To be a good rhetorician, then, one must know the truth of what he is speaking and how to analyze it to something indivisible. One must understand the nature of the soul and what sort of speech is proper to each soul. Only with all these points mastered will he be able to use speech artfully, to teach or to persuade. This is the point of the argument they have been making. 277c-278b)

The Failure of Rhetoric in Athens and in Modern Life Having set forth the requirements of true rhetoric, Socrates says, the truth is of no import in a law court, but rather the convincing; rhetoric, people claim, consists of cleaving towards the likely and should leave the truth aside. However, as it has already been determined that only people that know the truth can properly use the art of the “likely”, this popular opinion is decided to be clearly wrong. (273d) Similarly, he decries the growing dependence on writing. Socrates doubts the value of writing.

It cannot teach, but can only remind those that already know what writing is about. (275d-e) Furthermore, writings are silent; they cannot speak, answer questions, or come to their own defense. (275e) By contrast, the best rhetoric is a dialectic process, a living, breathing discourse of one who knows, of which the written word can only be called an image. (277b-c) The one who knows uses the art of dialectic rather than writing. Plato offered these criticisms about the misuse of rhetoric more than 2,000 years ago. How much more forceful are they in the modern day and age?

Phaedrus as a Discourse on Rhetoric Essay