Plato's Perspectives on Society, Organization and Leadership

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Plato’s Perspectives on Society, Organization and LeadershipPentti Marttila

Plato’s Perspectives on Society

Main views about society Plato wrote in his book called the Republic. The Republic was written around 380 (BC). In this book Plato tries to define justice, right order and character of the just city and the just man. In the Republic different philosophers like Socrates try to argue, what is the meaning of justice. They also discuss if a just man is happier than an unjust man, if they are ruled by just philosopher kings. (Brickhouse, Thomas & Smith, Nicholas, 2010)

Plato view, that a just city has to be ruled by these philosopher kings. Plato believed in an aristocratic system of ruling, not the democratic way of ruling. The kings have to be educated by philosophers, so that they would be like philosophers. Or philosophers should be elected as rulers. Anyhow he did not like some much about democracy and little educated leaders. (Brickhouse, Thomas & Smith, Nicholas, 2010)

Plato thinks that there are many dangers in the democracy. People do not always choose the wisest persons at the elections. Sometimes they choose those, who can speak nicely. The knowledge is not the main criteria for choosing people at the democracy, but Plato thinks that those who know should be elected as rulers. (Saarinen 1985, p.43)

Plato was pessimistic about people. According to him common people were bad and acted normally irrationally. People lived according to their selfish desires and bad beliefs. People did not follow the laws by their hearts, but because they were afraid of punishment. (Plato 360 BC, p.45) According to Plato people could not live alone. They needed each other. Plato said, that it is good for people to live in communities, by this way people can exchange products. (Plato 360 BC, p.75) Plato believes that the society has to be well ordered, this will lead into good moral in the society. Fine social order and education will educate good people. These good people, who are well educated, will be better than their parents (People living before them.). (Plato 360 BC, p.117, 353, 380)

Plato thinks that a human soul and society have similarities. They both have same particles. Parts of the soul are like social classes in the society. If these parts / social classes are in harmony, there will be justice. There are three different classes in the society: Productive, protective and governing class. Productive class is workers: farmers, blacksmiths, carpenters, ranchers, etc. Part of the soul for these people is appetite. Second class is protective class. These people are warriors and guardians. They are strong and courageous. Part of the soul for these people is the spirit. Third class is the governing. These people are rulers or philosopher kings. They are rational, wise, self-controlled. These people can make good decisions for the society. These people are like the reason part of the soul. These people are very few. (Saarinen 1985, p.42-43)

Plato already saw corruption in the society. He said that it is needed rule of law to prevent corruption. The government and guardians have to really guard the society that the order and rule of law can exist. (Plato 360 BC, p.141) Love of wisdom should be one of main values of the society. (Plato 360 BC, p.397) There should be order, not anarchy, in the society. If there is order children can orderly live with their parents and they can learn from their parents. In the same way masters can learn from their scholars. There should be some fear between son and a father and pupil and a teacher. This fear keeps the order. (Plato 360 BC, p.328-329)

Plato’s Perspectives on Organization

Plato thought that there are three classes in the society, which should have a good co-operation and they should live in a harmony. According to Plato’s views organization has three different groups (classes). Somebody might also think that these groups (classes) have strict borderlines....
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