Plato vs Locke

Topics: Plato, Philosophy, Epistemology Pages: 5 (1948 words) Published: November 23, 2005
In analyzing the works of Plato and John Locke I feel that Plato presents a more accurate idealism in how a society should be maintained. Plato puts ultimate power in those with the highest knowledge. I feel that this concept is necessary in order to have a successful regime, thus I support in my argument. Plato's theory hand picks guardians to become Philosopher Kings. These kings are those with "Gold" Souls, and in fact do not wish to become such a hierarchal figure. Plato chooses Guardians who do not wish to earn the title of Philosopher Kings because without desire to rule, the only reasoning left is for the good of others, and not a selfish feat. It's an obligation to put one's high knowledge to good use. Locke puts the people in charge of choosing their government, and feel that government's main task is to protect property. Additionally, Locke feels that in the state of nature one is able to live, act and dispose of possessions however one feels necessary to themselves. With this in mind, is it even conceivable that one would choose a government without their complete personal interests in mind? Trying to construct a perfect society, when everyone has so many personal attachments to obtain to, then ideas would not be set in the focus of a whole society, but on the individual's well being. When following Plato's theory on the Philosopher Kings ruling for the good of others, would not the good of others include their safety in society? And thus protection against possessions? In an ideal regime whereby it is classified as ‘utopia' things such as protection are not questioned, as there would be no wrongdoing for protection to need to come into play for. Guardians have no possessions at all. They are separated from their children at birth to prevent family ties from overriding the loyalty to the state. This is to confirm that decisions made are in the best interest of others, without attachments to their own lives. Plato states that the soul has three parts, a rational, spirited, and an appetite. With these three parts, it is argued that acts of tyranny are the consequence of giving into our baser desires, and that a virtuous person always follows rational decisions, rather than the spirited or appetite. The rational part ensures the health of the whole. Plato states that we adopt what is valued the most in a society. Therefore to avoid unwanted traits, then you simply do not have them present in society. Who's to decide what wanted traits are? If the majority of a population finds drinking alcohol a wanted trait, then since more people favor that trait then not favor it, one might argue, should it be allowed? Arguably, you can say that sin is allowed as long as it does not harm anyone. With that said though, what good could alcohol bring in the structure of society? Does it just serve as a pleasure for the individual and not for the majority? How could it help a society to prosper, with it inflicting presumably more chaos than good? Intoxicated minds prove to be tyrannical, and thus, by never having tyranny present in society, you would not have to conceive such situations. Plato believes in purity, and although it may take away from people's expression, it serves to maximize the happiness of all, even if some people's feelings may need to be sacrificed along the way, so be it. One needs to grasp the fact that educated persons know what is better for you, than you do for yourself. Falling into a wanted trait, such as drinking alcohol, is following ones desires, which is not rational, and to be rational is the only way to be in order to think with other people's interests in mind. Locke firmly believes that all people have the ability to use reason to find the correct moral path. Under Plato, the philosopher Kings go through fifty years of intensive education in order to have the right amount of intellect when concerning themselves with the decision making on a whole society. Therefore, how possibly could...
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