Plato's Ideal State

Topics: Plato, Philosophy, Avicenna Pages: 2 (550 words) Published: July 25, 2012
The good life is possible only in and through society (State). Society is a natural institution. Man is essentially a social and political animal. The State exists for the sake of the good life. Now according to Plato, the aim of the good society is neither freedom, nor economic well-being. Rather, the aim of the good society is justice. A true State, therefore, must be conformed to justice (the Ideal of which exists in the World of Forms). And so the state does not decide what is just. Justice is an object of knowledge, that is, it is one of the forms. That is why the Statesman must be a Philosopher. If not, he will only lead the state downwards toward self-destruction. Justice in the state is analogous to justice in the individual, and the state must be structures after the pattern of justice in the individual. Now the soul has three parts, according to Plato:

Justice in the individual exists when the lower appetites are subject to governance of reason. This is the state of peace or pax (harmony), and peace in the city state is analogous to peace in the individual. Recall Socrates'self-rule. Freedom means knowing what we ought to do (wisdom), and having the ability to do what we ought to do. In other words, it is only when the appetites are subject to reason that I can do what I ought to do. The unjust man cannot control his anger, or moderate his passion for money, etc. So, for Plato, justice is a kind of order, a harmony between reason and the appetites. A just man will not allow his anger to move him to do something that is irrational. In this way, only the just man is truly free. So too, only the state that is just is truly free.

Plato, through the words of Socrates, asserts that societies have a tripartite class structure corresponding to the appetite/spirit/reason structure of the individual soul. The appetite/spirit/reason stand for different parts of the body. The body parts symbolize the castes of society.[40] Productive,...
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