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PLATO's political thought

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For Paula Rodriguez. Updated: 14 August 2020

Plato's political thought

Plato considered that The theory that all men are equal is not true and valid to govern. Plato says that each person has three souls and each individual has more or less developed each of the three souls. The people who have the most developed rational soul are the ones who will be prepared to rule. Plato is not in favor of the democratic system and proposes a aristocratic system in which the philosopher rules, according to Plato, the one who is most prepared to rule.

In this lesson from a TEACHER we explain the fundamental elements of Plato's political thought, which exposes in the entirety of him in the Republic, in addition to presenting his theory of art, his anthropology and psychology, his idea of ​​justice, as well as his ethical and moral theory. The one from Athens develops in this work his concept of the ideal state, where the citizen can lead a happy life.

To develop his political thought, Plato starts from his dual conception of the human being

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, which is divided into body and soul, and this in turn is divided into three other parts (tripartite theory of the soul). Thus, each individual has 3 souls, one of them being more developed than the other, which will determine his position in the polis, based on the virtue of his predominant type of soul.

The three parts of the soul are as follows:

  1. Rational soul, (λογιστικόν): it is immortal, intelligent, divine and is found in the brain. Its virtue is prudence and wisdom. This is the soul of the rulers or philosophers.
  2. Irascible soul, (θυμοειδές): it is from which the courage, courage, strength are born, and it is found in the chest, but it is not immortal, and dies when the body dies. Its own virtue is strength. It is the soul of the warriors.
  3. Concupiscible soul, (ἐπιθυμητικόν): it is from where passions, appetites and bodily desires arise. It is located in the belly and is fatal. The virtue that corresponds to him is temperance. It is the soul of artisans and farmers.

For Plato he considered that it is not true that tall men are the same and valid to govern, but only those who have more developed the rational part of the soul. This would be for Plato the Ideal State and justice (which is the most valuable thing) can only be achieved from the harmony between social classes and the parts of the soul of each individual.

We continue to analyze Plato's political thought to tell you that the philosopher harshly condemned the democratic system of Athens, mainly due to the trial of Socrates, and in fact, it is thanks to him, that the Greek philosopher writes the Republic. What he intends is to define the Ideal City-State, in which all citizens can develop and lead a good life.

It is not with the art of rhetoric that it should be governed, but rather the good ruler has to do it from reason and wisdom, which would avoid tyranny or oligarchy. Therefore, the ruler must be the philosopher.

"Until philosophers rule as kings or, those who are now called kings and rulers or leaders, can properly philosophize, that is, until both political power and the philosophical one agrees, as long as the different natures seek only one of these powers exclusively, the cities will not have peace, nor will the human race in general "

The philosopher king he is the one who "loves to see the truth wherever it is with the means available", just like a ship captain or a doctor.

“Therefore, my dear friend, there is no occupation in the city regiment that is proper to women as women or men as men, but rather Natural endowments are disseminated indistinctly in both beings, so that women have access by their nature to all tasks and men also to all; only that the woman is in everything weaker than the man. "

The Ideal State that conceives Plato It's that one in which the philosopher king rules, from reason, and for this, the education process is essential. All citizens would receive a long education in order to produce citizens committed to the common good, as well as to define their place in society.

Also, to avoid abuses of power, private property and the family institution would be eliminated. In the ideal State, children do not belong to their fathers and mothers, but to the State, and this will be the one in charge of their education.

The ideal state is based on the Idea of ​​Good and Justice and the most perfect form of state is the monarchy or aristocracy of the wisest. But over time, Plato says, the military (timocracy) would begin to gain power, which due to its ambition, would eventually impose the government of the richest minority (oligarchy), which would lead to a democracy, due to the struggles between the wealthy social classes and poor. Democracy would be for Plato the most imperfect system of all. Due to social chaos, the latter degenerates into tyranny, which is the cruelest of all forms of State.

Plato proposes a communism (different from Marxism), since it ensures that the healthiest city is one in which there are only workers, but there are neither rulers nor military, but finally ends up betting on the laws and the monarchy or aristocracy, depending on whether one or several, and this corresponds to its tripartite class division: Philosophers / rulers-Warriors-Workers.

It is the first to defend gender equality, but it would be the State that controls the conjugal relations and the reproductive life of the citizens. In order to improve the species, the State will be the one that decides who will be the couples of the rulers.

Plato's Political Thought - Plato's Ideal State

Image: Mutatis

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