A Critique of Plato's Ideal Regime in the Context of Ancient Athens Thesis Statement: Plato's classification of citizens within a given society is detrimental to the progress and, possibly, the survival of a city-state structure like that of ancient Athens. Introduction:
This paper attempts to critique Plato's structure of the social classes. The researcher would hope to dismantle Plato's social structure in his Republic and the presuppose good of such a system to a city-state setting like that of Athens. The researcher will be using Athens as the sample city because it was, at the time, the center of trade and culture of Ancient Greece and the home of the Greats(Socrates, Plato and Aristotle). The study would focus primarily on the political aspect of the subject matter but will go off tangent, from time to time, onto other spheres of interest like that of the society, the economy, and the relationship of Athens with other city-states. The researcher will first define politics and how the ancient Greeks understood the meaning of the word. He would then describe the inner workings of the political structure of ancient Athens and the dynamics of power within the state. The researcher would then present a glimpse of the political philosophy of Plato in his work “The Republic”. He would then single out the salient points of the Plato's three classes, presenting the virtues of each class and their specific role in society. The researcher would then apply said classes in the political environment of Athens and analyze the effects of such change to the state, hoping to show the negative impact it would have to Athens. Granted the city-state survives the transition from one political structure to another, the researcher would then examine the long-term effects of Plato's three classes to the state. He would then present both the positive and negative effects of the three classes to Athens and would attempt to argue that the negative out weighs the positive effects. Finally, the researcher would hopefully conclude that Plato's system of classifying the population into three classes is detrimental and possibly destructive to the unique and fragile order achieved by the ancient Athenians.
The word Politics has no absolute definition for it changes with the context of the definer. It can be as formal as that of legitimate government officials deciding what policies to enact in a given scenario or as informal as that of a group of friends deciding where to go and what to do. It can be open and honest like that of signing a contract for an agreement made between legitimate entities, or it can be close and shady like that of scheming business men trying to outdo one another. Hammer, Dean presented in his essay “What is Politics in the Ancient World?” “six different views of politics” from different schools of thought. They are as follows: Politics as Formalized Institutions; Politics as the instrument of group interest and power; Politics as the site of class interest and conflict; Politics as actions of the state backed by legitimate force; Politics as inscribed relations of power; and Politics as public performances. The first view, Politics as Formalized Institutions, is the most traditional of all for it focuses more on the formal channels of power like that of constitutions and institutions that help a particular community to function within its given political structure. Hammer was referring to that of a formalized government that can “allocate resources, enforce values, and adjudicate disputes.”(Hammer 2009). This view acts as a wall in understanding the politics of ancient Greece because political structures in ancient times were founded after a certain community have been established. Since this view does not consider any activity before the founding of said political structures being a kind of politics, it is unreliable in giving us a view of the political reality of the time. The second view, Politics as the instrument...
Bibliography: Balot, Ryan. A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought. West Sussex: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2009.
Cottingham, John. Western Philosophy: An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 1996.
Sedly, David. The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Clavell, James. The Art of War Sun Tzu. New York: Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1988.
Abel, Donald. Fifty Readings in Philosophy. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1994
[ 1 ]. .Ryan K. Balot, A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought, (West Sussex: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2009), 231-245
2.John Cottingham, Western Philosophy: An Anthology, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 1996), 477-481
3.James Clavell, The Art of War Sun Tzu, (New York: Dell Publishing Group, Inc. 1988), 9-14
1.Donald Abel, Fifty Readings in Philosophy, (New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 1994), 411-419
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