Plato’s Republic: The Good Society and the Deformation of desire
This paper will outline and elaborate upon the important elements of Martha Nussbaum’s article titled Plato’s Republic: The Good Society and the Deformation of Desire. It will focus on three important elements in the article starting with relevance of Plato’s ideas today, deformation of desires and the importance of institutions in combating the latter.
The ideas set out in Plato’s The Republic are still relevant in today’s democratic world, even though not embraced fully; components of its ideas are relevant to our society. Contrary to The Republic being too totalitarian as perceived by many, he is indeed democracies’ best friend. Plato emphasises the total opposite of democratic ideals, challenging it to justify itself and in the process contributing to the improvement of democracy. He challenges the very notion of democracy and exposes its limits and weaknesses. Plato’s idea of an elaborate system of controls ensures society from drowning in too much democracy and ideals of freedom. However, to strictly adhere to his ideas would give the opposite effect of extreme totalitarianism. His idea of limiting some desires ensures that certain aspects of practising democratic freedom does not infringe on the rights of others. This holds true in issues such as racism, sexism, terrorism, child pornography etc. Furthermore, his emphasis on equal education of both men and women are still prevalent today.
The second important element mentioned in the article stresses on the fact that democracy is used as a license to indulges in desires inconsistent with justice thus, amounting to deformation of desire in a democracy through the excessive usage of freedom. This he believed is due to too much freedom making us become prisoners of our desires which deforms just human desires. A classic example is given by Martha Nussbaum, that of Indian women polled desiring shorter years of schooling. However, under...
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