Paradoxes in Plato's Republic

Pages: 7 (2775 words) Published: November 3, 2001
Paradoxes are ideas that seem to be in opposition to one another but are mutually needed to function. In Plato's Republic he discusses several paradoxes. While reading The Republic we can see which side of these paradoxes Plato favors. We find which side he feels should be stressed so that we may live in a reasonable and safe society and be better human beings. There are three categories in which these paradoxes have been divided into: ethical, metaphysical and political. Plato was a legendary Athenian philosopher. His main influence was his teacher, Socrates, whom he thought died unjustly. The Republic was written in dialogues narrated by Socrates. These dialogues were Socrates' teachings as best Plato could remember them. His writings left an undeniable mark on the world. The Republic was one of his most famous works. It outlines the core of his beliefs. Politically, Plato explains the paradox of justice and the law. Plato believes that absolute justice is the same for everyone without exception. This justice goes beyond power and or money. He feels justice is not necessarily the law. "Law is an imperfect form of justice." What is legal is not necessarily moral. In Book 1 of Plato's The Republic, Plato explains that justice is a balance between reason, courage and man's needs or in other words, the head, the heart and the stomach. He goes on to explain that justice or fairness does not always mean equal. The law may change but justice remains constant. A good rule or law however is a just rule. Plato felt that to get people to act justly one must teach them ethics and values. He also believed that along with these ethics and values we must have a reasonable understanding of these rules. An understanding of these rules is needed so people are more apt to comply with them and therefore maintain a just and fair society. Another paradox discussed in Plato's The Republic is authority and liberty. Plato strongly favors authority. He has little faith in man. Plato believes that men are more unreasonable than reasonable. He feels that most men and women cannot be objective and make rules that benefit all of society not just themselves or their family. He feels that personal liberty and choice only bring disunity, unhappiness and anxiety. Even today experts agree that children brought up with rules tend to be more secure and happy than children who are not taught acceptable behavior or who don't have authority figures in their lives. In The Republic, Plato explains that the authority will be made up of people who are able to make up reasonable rules. These people, men and or women would be chosen and then educated in ethics, morals and reasoning. He further explains that if the authorities' give people objective rules with reasons then objective behavior should follow. In Plato's Republic, by using reasonable authority he is trying to create a reasonable social order. He feels that reasonable rules should come from the outside not from each person's inner feelings. The guardians, or authority are able, by using reasoning and passing just laws to keep the dignity and liberty of the individual and also maintain a just and orderly society. In Plato's The Republic men and women would be treated equally. Both genders would be educated until the age of 18. Between the ages of 18 and 22 everyone would go to the army to gain courage. After the army all would go to college until age 26. During college they would be selected for what ever service they are qualified for. Either a man or women could become a guardian, server or helper, and or a producer. The guardians themselves would make equal amounts of money so they could concentrate on a nonmaterial existence. Plato felt an inequality of wealth would cause an ethical breakdown. These three groups, the guardians, servers and the producers, although different in the roles they play and jobs they have would not be considered better or worse, inferior or superior to one another,...
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