1. In Plato??™s Republic, Plato offers many various definitions of society and the soul but when looking at book four, and seeing his view of the state as a whole, Plato defines the state and society as best run when unified and fit to each man??™s talents. In order to understand Plato??™s argument on how a society can run most efficiently, a person must examine Plato??™s theory of the whole. Plato defines the soul as three different parts. The first part being, the appetitive, the second being, the spirited, and the final being the rational. Each part weighs differently on the soul and effects our decisions and nature.
The first part of the soul is the appetitive. The appetitive as Platos describes is the part of our soul, which longs for and desires for things. Its our wants and needs, the part of the soul which lusts for certain things. The appetitive can desire for two different things, the necessary needs in life and the unnecessary. The necessary being food, water, and the unnecessary being things such as sexual desires and other pleasures in excess. The second part of the soul is called the rational. This part of the soul is the decision making part. The rational part of the soul gives balance and control to the appetitive and weighs the outcomes of fulfilling one??™s appetitive. Which then leads us to the spirited part of our soul. The spirited part combined with the rational give control to our desires and needs aka the appetitive. essay writing service london
When viewing society and comparing society to the parts of the soul, there are many similarities. Plato described society to consist of many different roles, and each role fitted to the right person. Plato viewed the state to consist of the people, workers, soldiers, and rulers. Each different role plays a different part in society, and every man should be placed under a role in which he is most suited and fit for. Plato explains specific traits for each of the types of people in society.
Plato describes workers as people most suited for labor, and work in a specified area. Workers are people who perform physical labor and are best suited for it. Soldiers should show characteristics of bravery, honor, and a passion for battle and fighting. Plato describes soldiers not only to be strong and battle hungry but also educated. For an educated strong man who strives to fight is a soldier but an uneducated man who strives to fight is a barbarian. The rulers of the nation should be the most well educated, and have traits of wisdom. Plato??™s view on rulers is very humble and honorable for he seeks rulers not as a higher form or more prestigious, but rather he sees being a ruler a burden. He claims rulers should not seek to rule to bring fame upon oneself but to have the burden of serving the state, and giving to the community in whatever way he is best suited.
Plato??™s main argument when discussing the soul and society, is that he claims every man is best suited either to be a worker, soldier, or a ruler. Depending on one??™s traits and skills, one should be placed into a position in which he is best fit. He claims that some men contain wisdom, while others may contain courage and physical strength, and due to the strengths every man carries, he should be placed with a role in which he can best serve the state. Everyone has skills and in a society where the best fighters are soldiers, and the wisest are the rulers, the society runs most efficiently. Plato??™s argument is very rational and in basic terms commands people to use their god given talents and skills to the maximum potential.
2. In Plato??™s the Republic, Plato compares society and the soul in very analogous ways and when one comes to understand this concept of the soul and society as a whole, is when one can truly understand Plato??™s definition of justice. In basic terms, Justice as Plato defined consists of unity, and fulfilling one??™s duties. As mentioned in Book four of the Republic, the soul is split into three parts; the appetitive, rational, and the soul. Plato also discusses society to be split also into three types of roles; workers, soldiers, and rulers. When comparing these two concepts, justice can be seen in a simple but definitive way.
Plato discusses in book four how each part of the soul plays a crucial part in a person??™s life. The appetitive longs for the basic needs and pleasures of life while the rational balances choices, and the spiritual being the passionate, brave part of our soul. Each part of the soul gives great balance to a man and works as a whole to control one??™s decisions and conscience.
In the same matter the soul works, society works the same way. Plato explained in the Republic that the Spirited and the Rational work together to most efficiently control the appetitive. When Plato explains society, he explains how soldiers represent the spiritual, being courageous and virtuous, and the rational describes traits found in rulers. People of the state are considered the appetitive, and just since all people are different, desires and wants are different. If everyone had different opinions and wants, fulfilling everyone??™s desires would lead to chaos and the destruction of the state, thus it is the soldiers and rulers duty to maintain and control the society. The soldiers and rulers act as the rational and the spirited part of the soul in which both parts of society and the soul maintain peace and satisfaction in a harmonic way. This defines Plato??™s first part of justice being unity, everyone working together as a whole.
Plato describes each person to have certain skills and traits that make them most eligible for certain duties of the community; the brave and physically strong being the soldiers, the wise being rulers, and the rest being workers. Each man depending on education and upbringing has strengths and weaknesses. If a person is very strong and a good fighter, it is most logical for him to become a soldier to best serve the state, just as a very wise man should use his knowledge to serve the community as a ruler. If a ruler who contains infinite wisdom, works in a field, he is not fit for the job, and letting his skills go to waste. Rather if he worked as a ruler, he could serve the community and help the growth and balance of society. Same applies to the soldier. If every person used his skills to play a role in society and fulfill his duties, then the society is deemed just. Justice then is defined, as each person in society fulfilling one??™s duties.
Justice in Plato??™s view consists of unity in a harmonious way, and each person fulfilling their duties in society. Thus, Plato believes in everyone having different natural abilities, which then pre-determine their role in society. A society where every person fulfills the duties they are best fit for is a just community, and if a society has the best suited people for every job, unity and satisfaction will arise from the people for they will know they are the best suited for their own jobs.
One key aspect of Justice that Plato discusses is the wisdom of the ruler. Unless a ruler knows what is best for the society and thinks in the way a philosopher would think; looking at justice as unity and each person fulfilling one??™s duties, the king will not be able to rule in a just way. A king must have the wisdom to see justice as Plato described to seek and fulfill what??™s best and most just for the society, only the understanding of justice and the knowledge of philosophy can a king be fit to rule. Only a king who has the wisdom of a philosopher can have the eligibility to rule justly both the society and the soul. For a king who cannot understand parts of the soul and parts of society, cannot understand the importance of unity and one??™s duties. Thus Plato defines justice to be a unified state with people fulfilling their duties, with a king who is wise and who contains the virtues of a philosopher.