Now, before I began typing out this blog post, I had to take a seat and think. This book, or repertoire of Pluto’s idea for a perfect society, is mind boggling. Plato’s Republic is not confusing because the ideas are foreign but because Kallipollis is detailed and planned beyond belief. As we’ve discussed in class, we are reading this book because it encapsulates a majority of ideals. With the use of philosophical dialogue, The Republic covers aesthetics, ethic, metaphysics and epistemology, but to tackle the question as to why such a conversation exists we must look to Plato’s relationship with his mentor, Socrates.
This book is introduced through the concept of justice and what it means to the individual or the society. What does it mean to be just and unjust? Are we satisfied as good-hearted beings or do we find ourselves preferring an unjust life? These questions are the initial specs to a far greater conversation in future chapters, yet it seems that Plato always makes a point to emphasize this theme.
With this in mind I took to the corridors of the library. What was interesting to find was that Socrates, the proprietor to Plato’s interest in politics and philosophy, was prosecuted in 399 BC on two main accounts:
1) Introduction of Divine Powers*
2) Corruption of Athenian Youth*
These accusations are said to be “smokescreens” by the city’s government due to Socrates’ popularity regarding societal criticism. So, this is to say that Plato was most likely heavily influenced by the trial and, in the end, equated this act of injustice in his refusal of forms of government like Timocracy, Oligarchy, Democracy and Tyranny we see in Book VIII of The Republic. I believe that there’s a lot to be discovered of Socrates and his influence on Plato, till then (or till the paper is due).
*Purshouse, Luke. Plato’s Republic. London: Continuum, 2006. Print.