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Political Society In Platos Republic Philosophy Essay

The world around us at present is made up of different types of society and of different kinds of people. These groups of people have various types of rules and regulations to control the people who are under their rule. The main in this who has the control is the government; they are the rule giver of that place. In this present world, there are various types of government who rule the people in this world like democratic, republic, monarchy, aristocracy, dictatorship and democratic republic. These types of government are spread all around the world. In each and every type of government stated above has there own way of ruling the people/ subject. The government like monarchy and aristocracy has more of authority based system in there rule and in these system people have to face very harsh treatment from the ruler who govern them .Many a times they are treated worse then animals. In other system like democracy and republic the power is in the hands of people, who elect the person who they think is right to rule them. And in these types of governments the people are the kings. For the ruler, who comes in power have come up by the vote which the people have put for him/ her. And the dictatorship and democratic republic both of these systems have same type of ruling system in which one person is the head and the rest are there slave of the one who rules them. And this system is the worse system where people are thought as thing to be used for there personal benefit.

So in all this system of government the best is the democratic and republic govt. which take care of there people in a humanistic and simply manner. In the same way in Plato’s republic we find mixture of some of the above system of government. Plato wanted to have a republic government system in his state but after reading the text on the political structure of the state, I fell that in spite of republic state it was more of a mixture of democratic republic where the people were mere a subject / object of use to the state.

1.1 Meaning and Definition of political society according to republic.

In Plato’s thought, political theory is closely connected with moral philosophy. Indeed, Plato considered the state as being “man writ large”. As justice is the general virtue of the moral man, so also justice characterized the good society. He argues, rather, that there is a structural and natural as well as logical relation between man and the state. In the Republic Plato argues that the best way to understand the just man is to analyze the nature of the state. “We should begin,” he says, “by inquiring what justice means in a state. Then we can go on to look for its counterpart on a smaller scale in the individual.” He describes someone who wants to inquire about the just or good man as “a rather short –sighted person told to read an inscription in small letter from way off. He would think it a godsend if someone pointed out that the same inscription was written up elsewhere on a bigger scale. [1] 

1.2 Division of society in ancient Greece

“A city, says Plato is a man” writ large against the sky.” the element that make up the city correspond to the elements that constitute the individual human soul. For Plato, unlike certain later political philosophers, there is not one morality for individual and another is the state, which then would need pay no attention to the moral rulers governing individuals. What, then, are the elements of the state that correspond to the element of the tripartite soul? Like the tripartite individual human soul, every state of what type necessarily has three parts, which are in its three special classes – a producer class, military class, and a governing or ruling class about which we find in the 6th book of the republic which point out the political sketch of ideal state. [2] 

Now let us see in detail about these three different classes in detail.

2. Division of political structure in republic

2.1 HOI POLLOI

“The most numerous of the socio- political grouping is the citizen group describes as hoi polloi the grouping is made up of the whole group of social and economical –production functions, excluding only the educative function, the military and policing function: the administrative function; the judicial function and the political function. It is unclear in the republic as to who would perform the major necessary given the manner in which the polis is to support both the guardian and the auxiliary classes, not in term of there substances but also in term of the ships, and public facilities, such as the mess of the ability of the lower classes and the specific function allotted the auxiliary class, it is probable these function would have to be performed by a guardian class.

The education of the lower class of citizens is not specifically provided for. Though , as Conford point out , unless some provision is made for them to share ,at least ,in the early education to be provided for the Guardians and the auxiliaries , there would be few ,in any ,opportunity available to the polis for promoting children to on e of the higher order .Although they are required to be obedient to , and to be taught and guided by, the laws of the polis they appear not to be subject to the legal strictures as are applied to the other two classes in term of marriage, family and children ; the acquisition of property and wealth ; and higher education .as pointed out above this classes of citizens is to take no part whatsoever in the governance of the polis .they are expected to exercise that degree of self control which is to be epitomized by their obedient to their rulers.

Plato `s social, economic and political views of this class of the citizens are complex and are not fully explained by him. On the one hand, they are unruly, impulsive, and self centered, living only for moment. As individual who fall away from accepted standards of excellence they are no great danger to the polis. But provision is made for gifted children to become of the other classes. And like children their untrue ways, are the result of ignorance and deception, ought not to be condemned.” [3] 

2.2 HOI EPIKOURI

“This class alone comes close to epitomizating the central tenet of the republic namely the principle of separate and specific function which requires that each child, woman, slave ,freeman , artist ,rulers should perfume only that task as one person . Their education and training are extensive, lasting until they are 50 years old and they only have three classes of duties: they are (1) to protect the polis from external enemies, (2) to protect the polis from internal enemies by policing the laws of the guardian and (3) to perfume the myriad of administrative function required by the polis .they are to have no access to wealth or property, save the necessities of life. One of the basic structural units of classical Greeks society, the family, though allowed amongst Hoi Polloi, is denied them; they are to live in a communal environment without privacy; their mating is to be subordinated to the collective happiness of the polis. They are required to give unquestioned obedience to the guardians; in the superior interest of the polis, as and when determined to be necessary by the guardian they are to be lied to; and have fallen into the hands of the enemy on the field of battle they are to be deserted by their comrades and left to the enemy’s pleasure.

But like hoi polloi not only they have no access to political power, though under the direction of wield military and policing power, they have no power to exercise for they are under the polis which they defend and administer. The Guardian exercise the total power of there requirement which is monitored under close direction of the Guardian. Their mating and social intercourse is to be rigorously controlled; they exist merely to the interest of the polis”. [4] 

2.3 HOI PHYLAKES

“This are the elite group in the republic if we look at them in term of the political and government roles assigned to them in the idealized polis rather in terms of their philosophical training. They are the only group in the polis to have access to, and to exercise political power. To them falls the responsibility for formulating and enacting all the laws of the polis for supervising the administrative machinery of government for the education of all the citizens and the associated curricula, and for the censorship of the educative material to be made available for public consumption. They alone have the power to declare war, to regulate warfare and make peace, to them falls the responsibility for the maintaining the breeding policies of the polis –particularly with respect to the auxiliary class; and for maintaining the health of the citizenry. Their power over the life and death of the citizen is absolute. Finally, they are empowered, where circumstance warrant it, to lie to the citizenry to protect the interest of the polis even though should any citizen be discover to have lied then they are to be adjusted guilty of a serious offence”. [5] 

2.4 IMPACT IN SOCIAL LIFE

As we saw in the above the difference in which the state was divided, ‘whether the justice could be ever be ever be achieved in a state would depend, upon whether the philosophic praise of the society could attain dominance .He (author) wrote that “I was forced to say in praise of the correct philosophy that it afford a vantage-point from which we can discern in all case what is just for communities and for individual.” And he believed that “the human race will not be free of evil until either the stock of those who have power in the cities be lead by some dispensation of providence to become real philosophy.” But justice, as we have already seen, is a general virtue. It means that all parts are fulfilling their special functions and are achieving their respective virtues. Justice in the state will be attained only when and if the three classes fulfill their function.

Justice in the state is therefore just the same as justice in the individual .it is the production of everyone `s staying in his place and doing his special task. Justice is the harmony of the virtue of temperance, courage and wisdom. Since the state is made of individual, it will also be necessary for these virtues to be attained by each person”. [6] 

Conclusion

After reading, the political society of Plato’s and thinking about the present system of government which we have at present I fell that there are some similarity between them today also .And about this similarity I would like to say something. We say that India is a democratic country and the ruling of this is done by the people whom we elect. But we find something wrong in this system when problem occur. These are the matter or issue which comes up, like rape case, murder, injustice, corruption etc. then we see the ruling government behave like dictatorship or monarchy where those have power can do anything and others have to suffer in bargain. Which we can see very clearly in Plato’s republic where society is divided three stages like hoi polloi, hoi epikouri, and hoi phylakes which can be compared with poor , middle and richer class . Where the rich has the power and the poor and middle class have to follow what the rich or the powerful .and because of that we find so much of injustice taking place in the government, who says that they care for the poor but when they come for help they are the one who are the first who put them down. Thus we can find how being in a democratic country the people have to suffer as if it is a dictatorship government who wants to have more then to offer.

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