Comparison Between Plato And The Composition Of The Ideal City State

1368 Words Feb 16th, 2015 6 Pages
Plato and the Composition of the Ideal City-State in Parts I-III of The Republic

Wei Ting Lee


Ryerson University

Appearance versus reality is a pertinent theme in Plato’s dialogues. Yet, the precise nature of truth, the good and the beautiful all rely on contradiction, which the philosopher uses in his discussion of an ideal civil society. To properly understand Plato’s motivation, it is necessary to briefly explain his historical context: Athenian democracy and the Peloponnesian War had wreaked havoc on civil institutions during Plato’s time. Athen’s during the 4th century BCE was on the verge of ruins, as were prevailing systems of governance and ideas of justice. Against this background, Plato penned his Dialogues containing ideas by Cephalus, Polymarchus, Thrasymachus and Glaucon. Plato gives his own theory of justice consistent with virtue and harmony, arguing ultimately that an ideal society is predicated not on conventional theories prevalent in Athens at the time, but rather as a harmonious and balanced society where justice prevails based on a sense of civic duty.
Part of Plato’s idea of justice held that the state—i.e. the assembly of men in the polis available to vote—should reflect the virtue and the good for without these no man could be free. Plato’s notion of virtue is therefore inextricably linked to justice, which the philosopher saw in terms of the moral bond shared by all citizens. In Ancient Athens…

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