Plato and Aristotle on the Just Man and the Good Citizen - Essay Example

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Aristotle, student of Plato, in his book “Politics”, criticizes and contradicts Plato’s views and provides a more liberal and realistic framework…
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Plato and Aristotle on the Just Man and the Good Citizen
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Download file to see previous pages In fact, these very virtues make a city or an individual just - “Then a just man won’t differ at all from a just city in respect to the form b of justice;” (Plato, 110) This discussion starts from the state level and eventually moves down to the level of an individual but Plato makes it absolutely clear that the presence of the above mentioned virtues in an individual citizen leads to a state, which has these same virtues.
In The Republic’s Book XIII, there exist many examples showing how an unjust society shapes the souls of its citizen. The vice versa then should also be true. Therefore, it can be derived from this discussion that there exists a kind of “virtuous circle” between the state and a citizen. They are both cause and effect of each other. To sum this up, it can be said that a state shapes the souls of its inhabitants; meanwhile the nation itself is a product of all the individual souls comprising it. If this structure is disrupted, harmony will suffer, inner conflict will increase and this might lead to the whole set-up coming down.
Plato believes that the most important goal of education is knowledge of Good. In the fictional city of Kallipolis, there are three different classes: the producers, guardians and the rulers. All these three classes have some specific qualities that they need to display in order to make Kallipolis the “just city”. The guardian class needs to be the educated group who will be able to absorb all the laws in the best possible manner -
“…Hence the guardians must above all protect their system of elementary education, for this provides the training in civic virtue without which no system of laws, no constitution, can hope to achieve…” (Plato, 94)
The rulers of the city need to possess wisdom, using which they ensure that the city will have good judgment and will be really wise. Since an ideal city needs to be governed by ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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