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Plato: The Republic - Essay Example

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In the Second Book of his magnum opus, Plato builds an edifice on the foundation he laid in the First with a revisionary view of…
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Plato: The Republic
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Download file to see previous pages Recognizing the difficulty in giving a satisfactory answer to that question, Socrates proceeds to build the edifice of his Ideal State evermore carefully. He evokes two notions of justice, one of political justice (for states and societies) and one of individual justice (for individuals and citizens). To answer the problem, Socrates begins to erect the perfectly just state from scratch, and discover what he finds.
In the just state, every person plays a very particular role in the natural hierarchy. Each person is naturally inclined to complete this role, as a part of his or her nature. Only through such specialization will everyone become the fulfilled human being that he or she can be, and achieve the good. “The result, then, is that more plentiful and better-quality goods are more easily produced if each person does one thing for which he is naturally suited, does it at the right time, and is released from having to do any of the others” (370c). Specialization is a means, however, to accomplishing something further, namely achieving the first role of the city. The first role of the city, according to Socrates, is the provision for basic necessities of life. We come to know the state which provides, or allows, for the basic necessities as “the healthy city”, “healthy” insofar as it keeps men from being weakened or hurt by that which is not necessary to human life.
In the merely “healthy state”, existence is treated as nearly perfect: in the summer, people will work barefoot and in the winter, they will work clothed and shod. The children will feast, getting their fill; families will not exceed their means and the city will keep an eye on poverty, war, and other afflictions (372a-c). However, what this conception of the just society, the Ideal State, assumes is that the bare necessities of life are necessary and sufficient conditions for human beings living flourishing, happy lives. Although particular items which are, in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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