Plato's Thoughts on Education and the State

Pages: 3 (1159 words) Published: November 18, 2011
Question 4: What are Plato thoughts on Education and the State?

“The perfect society will occur only when kings become philosophers or philosophers are made kings.”(Plato)

“The object of education is to turn the eye which the soul already possesses to the light. The whole function of education is not to put knowledge into the soul, but to bring out the best things that are latent in the soul, and to do so by directing it to the right objects. The problem of education, then, is to give it the right surrounding.” (Plato) In the fifth century B.C.E Plato was born into an aristocratic Greek family. As a youngster his intention was to be engaged in politics. However in his twenties his thoughts were change after coming into the circle of Socrates, who was to be the lasting influence on his thought. Hence, following the execution of Socrates on accusations of the corruption of youth Plato abandoned direct involvement in politics and turned to writing and education. Plato was well known for his works which were all written in the form of dialogues. In the Republic, written about 385 B.C.E and in the Laws, his last work, on which he was still at work at the end of his life Plato addresses childhood in the context of education. Plato saw education as “the one great thing”, no scheme of human life was so important to him, since he rejected birth as a criterion for distributing the function of education. He believes that the aim of education was the harmonious development of human personality with the central purpose was to produce the right type of individualities in the state. Therefore, Plato saw the state primarily as an educational entity. His scheme of education was greatly influenced by Spartan system of education. In the Spartan system the family had no control over the education of its members. The state was controlling all aspects of education. In the Republic, Plato devotes much attention to the education of the child as a future citizen. He...
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