"Republic" Plato Automatic translate
Plato’s "Republic" defied classification for a long time: it’s a philosophical masterpiece, it’s a sharp political theory, it’s great literature. Although some inconsistencies, philosophical and otherwise, were subsequently discovered, there is no doubt that the " Republic " is a work of genius. Its central concern is the nature of justice. In a word, what is justice? From this general beginning, however, the book diverges on a broader level.
There is first of all the mundane, presented in the first books as a refutation of proverbial morality and traditional society. But the middle books belong almost exclusively to pure philosophy. In them, Plato deals with the figure of the philosopher, metaphysics and epistemology - a long study, culminating in an allegory of vision, visibility and the sun as a symbol of goodness or justice.
However, only after the description of the famous "Myth of the Cave" in Book VII, these two realms: the material and the ideal, polity and philosophy, the historical state and the ideal state, virtue and ethics are truly united.
The image of the liberated prisoner who left the light, forced by force or duty - Plato would say "duty" - to return to his comrades in the impenetrable darkness of the cave, is perhaps the key to the basic unity of the "Republic". It is in man that the two kingdoms meet. Plato’s goal, then, was to achieve social and political stability on the foundation of moral and spiritual absolutes by which every person can live.
The seed of the "Republic" was probably sown in the philosopher’s early youth in Athens. While still an aspiring politician, Plato befriended the elder Socrates and quickly became his informal student. After the Peloponnesian War, Athens was ruled for eight months by an oligarchic tyranny called the Thirty Tyrants, which tried to recruit both Plato and Socrates. Plato did not dare, and Socrates was forced to openly refuse. However, Socrates subsequently acquired a reputation as an anti-democrat, which was extremely dangerous in the conditions of the radical democracy that had recently overthrown the "thirty".
When in 399 Plato witnessed the trial and execution of Socrates at the hands of the restored Athenian democracy on charges of corrupting the youth, introducing new gods to the city, atheism and unusual religious practices, his disappointment was complete. Fearing for his life, Plato left Athens and traveled, giving up his political career and the state he could no longer serve.
Thus, to some extent, the "Republic" can be seen as a correction of the fate of Socrates - a just man, killed by an unjust state. And in fact, Plato’s Seventh Letter, written in the mid-seventies, seems to confirm this conclusion. In it, he writes that his early hopes for public life were irrevocably destroyed by the trial and death of Socrates. After that, he decided to devote his life not to an ephemeral and hopelessly corrupt state, but to the creation of a society based on the eternal ideas of truth, goodness and justice.
Politics was an integral part of the life of the ancient Greeks. It can be considered an external expression of the inner conclusions of the soul. And although Plato never held office, he was politically active. His longest work, The Laws, is also devoted to his enlightened social and political views. Plato simply refused to participate in a hopeless situation and become an unnecessary martyr.
The actual writing of the "Republic" took place in Plato’s middle period, indicated by the mature formulation of the "Theory of Form", perhaps around 370-5 BC. BC. The exact date is unknown. The exact date is unknown. Most scholars believe that the dialogue was written more or less without interruption for another piece. At that time, as throughout Plato’s adult life, the Athenian city-state was in decline. Plato, while in the sanctuary of the Academy, continued his research and wrote fruitfully, despite external skepticism on the part of the sophists who ruled the state. These people, who are mentioned several times with irony in The Republic, doubted the validity of any unified theory of knowledge and the existence of absolutes. Republic" did not have a publication date, as is usually the case with ancient texts, therefore unconditional verification of its authorship is impossible. However, the authenticity of the text does not cause much controversy.
There is nothing at the beginning of Plato’s most famous and influential book, The Republic. She doesn’t exist. It not only does not exist in reality, but also does not exist in theory. It must be built. Its architect will be Socrates, a fictional figure that Plato created for himself. In the first episode, Socrates meets acquaintances during the Bendis festival. His reputation as a good interlocutor has already been established, familiar amateur philosophers approach Socrates and draw him into a dialogue. Thanks to Socrates, the conversation quickly turns to justice.
Other philosophers, including Thrasymachus, Polemarchus, Glaucon, and Adeimantus, enthusiastically agree on such a worthy topic. However, it is unlikely that any of these philosophers, except for Socrates, of course, foresees the ambitiousness and grandeur of his undertaking.
In the first book, Socrates considers two different definitions of justice. The first is given by Polermarch, who suggests that justice is "doing good to friends and hurting enemies". This definition, which is a variant of conditional morality, is accepted for consideration. However, its shortcomings soon become apparent. It is too relative to serve as a formulation of justice. Moreover, its individual terms are vulnerable, that is, how do you know who is friend and who is foe? And aren’t friends, like enemies, capable of evil? And when a friend does wickedly, shouldn’t he be punished? And then, what does it mean that an act is good or bad?
The dangers associated with trusting false appearances are one of the main themes. It will be discussed in detail in subsequent books. Therefore, of course, such a noble idea as justice cannot stand on such shaky ground. Socrates is not happy. The second definition, proposed by Thrasymachus, endorses tyranny. "Obedience to the interests of the stronger" is also tested for value, shows flaws, and is discarded. Tyranny, Socrates argues, using several analogies, inevitably leads to the fragmentation of the soul.
On the other hand, benevolent government ensures the harmonious life of both the individual and the state. Justice is the means, and the good is the end. The fact that “justice is the perfection of the soul” is the main conclusion of Socrates. But it contains too many presumptions. Although his listeners find it difficult to refute his claims, Socrates realizes that he was too vague and that if they really want to explore the question of justice, he will have to be more specific.
The first book ends with another question. Is a just life more pleasant, more useful than an unjust one? Rather, the philosophers overwhelmed themselves. But the first book succeeded in one major way. It defined the territory of the overarching argument of the entire work;
In the second book, philosophers continue the discussion by introducing a new definition that refers more to political philosophy than to pure philosophy: justice is a legal compromise designed for the mutual protection of the citizens of the state. In other words, justice is an invention of the state that does not allow citizens to harm each other. Socrates is certainly ready for this. He dislikes the idea that justice does not exist naturally, but must be imposed from outside and superficially to discourage unfair behavior.
Adeiman’s mention of the state seems accidental, but Socrates seemed to have been waiting for this all this time. Not knowing if they can come up with an acceptable definition of justice in any other way, Socrates invites them to create a state that they approve of and see if justice is hidden in it. This state arises, says Socrates, "out of the needs of mankind." And the grandiose project of building the state from its very foundation was officially launched. First, the basic needs are met, then the primitive division of labor, followed by the beginnings of education. In an ideal state, Socrates argues, there will be no need for "bad fictions" or manipulative poetics at all, since education must be absolutely moral.
Art in education is dealt with mainly in the third book. Socrates completes his attack on the "slanderous poetry" that portrays his beloved virtues in such a negative light. It is not useful for the state. And if it is useful, it must be strictly didactic and have nothing to do with the condescension and rhapsody characteristic of their tradition and modern poets. Even Homer is condemned. Instead, the citizens of the state—usually called guardians at this early stage—should feed only on literature—which Socrates broadly calls "music"—illustrative of courage, wisdom, temperance, and virtue (just conduct).
The second part of education, gymnasiums, consists mainly of the physical training of citizens. At this stage, Socrates’ state needs rulers. Who can rule better than the best and most patriotic citizens who have been brought up by a strict educational apparatus. These chosen ones are now more strictly referred to as guardians, while non-guardians remain citizens. Guardians will be rulers.
The book closes with a Phoenician myth, which Socrates believes will serve as an effective mythical explanation for their state. The myth says that citizens are made of a certain mixture of metals: gold and silver, iron and brass, etc. They are born that way and should be that way. They are born that way and should occupy the appropriate social position. However, if a gold or silver citizen is born to parents of a lower metal, he will, as it should be, rise in social terms, and this rule will also apply in the opposite situation. The myth provides the state with an accessible, allegorical illustration of its stable, hierarchical social organization.
In the fourth book, the happiness of the guardians who have been trained so hard is called into question. Socrates calmly accepts the objections of his listeners, reminding them of their original premise: the state should be for the benefit of the many, not the few. Over the past time, their state has grown and began to divide their labors. Questions of defense and security from neighbors and foreign invasion enter the discussion. But undoubtedly, says Socrates, the education, military and otherwise, received by citizens, combined with their love of the state and solidarity, will repel or surpass all challenges.
Believing that the state they created is perfect, the philosopher again seeks justice. Socrates invites them to act by the method of elimination from the four virtues. It defines courage, temperance and wisdom, but before justice can be achieved, a digression must be made. Retreat leads to the three principles of the soul: reason, passion and appetite. When they exist in harmony, Socrates concludes, there is justice. This is a preliminary definition.
However, at the end of the fourth book, the philosophers’ agreement to discuss various corrupt forms of government is interrupted by an accusation of laziness. Thrasymachus expresses his dissatisfaction with Socrates, who, according to him, deliberately avoids talking about the more practical problems of the state. The objection develops into a section on marriage.
Covering marriage, family, and community, Socrates lays out his very scientific, very futuristic plan for population control and the proper reproduction of the human animal. The strong breed more often than the weak. Weak offspring are destroyed or hide in an unnamed place. Socrates went through two of the three "waves", which he calls "waves". The third and biggest is the question of whether their possibility is in any way feasible. Socrates’ answer is mostly negative.
However, there is one way in which the states they see around them can become ideal states. This is if philosophers become kings or, more likely, if kings study philosophy. Hence the famous term "philosopher kings". But this, in turn, raises the question: what is a philosopher? This leads Socrates to another complex idea, a rudimentary version of the theory of forms. Manifestations, appearances, likenesses, opinions - all these are not Reality; it’s just shadows. Only the forms, the ideals that lie behind them, are the truth. And the philosopher seeks above all to know these Forms.
Another accusation from the gallery directs the question of Socrates at the beginning of the sixth book. Adeimant believes that the guards they created are monsters. On the contrary, Socrates defends, their nobility and dignity are beyond doubt, using as an illustration the parable of the pilot and his crew. In this parable, the desires of the majority are opposed to the authority of a truly worthy leader.
The people, explains Socrates, do not know what is best for them. They must be managed by one who is specially adapted and trained for that purpose and for the common good. Socrates is forced to develop a relationship between guardians and philosophy. Keepers, he says, cease to be keepers when they give up the truth, be it a minority or something else. The final section of the sixth book includes a number of remarkably vivid and understandable figures or metaphors which help to clarify somewhat the theory of forms and goods.
Visibility, sight and light are analogous to knowledge, the knower and that which makes knowledge possible, the good. The good is symbolized by sunlight, the vital means by which the sun not only sheds light on the world, but nourishes it. Philosophy is love for light, an attempt to perceive and understand it in all its metaphorical manifestations. Everything else belongs to the world of diversity, to the world of shadows. Finally, dialectics is the only way to climb, like a ladder of ideas, to a bright good.
Book VII is dominated by the Allegory of the Cave. One of the most enduring images, perhaps in the history of Western philosophy, is a dim cavern containing a group of prisoners, chained so that they cannot move their heads, staring at the wall all day. Thanks to a small fire, the captives see the shadows of their captors projected onto the wall. Since they have always been in the cave, they believe that the shadows are true; in the same way, the voices they hear, they also consider the truth.
One day one of the prisoners is released. The secrets of the cave are revealed to him, and he is taken out into the sunlight, which blinds his unaccustomed eyes. In the third part of the allegory, the enlightened prisoner, who has looked, contemplated and adapted to the true light of the sun, must return to the cave. There, he discovers that his new eyes are ill-adapted to cave life and is cruelly ridiculed by the other prisoners. The allegory, which is a summary of the life path of the guardians, contains a moral about the obedient service to the common good.
Guardians must forego the beauty and peace of the light in order to help their fellows, most of whom live in pitch darkness. But who can make such a sacrifice? Given their education, which has now expanded even further, Socrates is confident that the guards will go for it. After all, they spent the first fifty years of their lives preparing for this opportunity and, they believe, to their honor.
At the beginning of Book VIII, Socrates asks permission to step back a little to analyze the forms of corrupt governments. In this way, they will be able to look at the individual people who inhabit them, thus cutting off the grain, so that only meat remains - a just person.
There are four fundamentally vicious forms: timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and tyranny. The degeneration of the aristocracy (republic) into timocracy occurs as a kind of hypothetical accident, an error in population control. Timocracy is government based primarily on honor, not justice, and the timocratic man is torn between his philosophical ancestors and the new, insinuating contemporaries who flatter his vanity.
Oligarchy arises when wealth becomes the standard. The state is divided into two different and distant classes - the rich and the poor. And timokrat personifies the old, noble ways in competition with stinginess. After the revolution, during which the rulers are overthrown by the discontented poor, democracy arises, the most liberal and diverse state. The democratic representative is driven by appetites that take precedence over reason and honor.
The ultimate disintegration into the worst and most evil form of government, tyranny, is the result of democracy’s supposed virtue, freedom. But it turns out to be in abundance, and after another revolution, a new ruler rises, a tyrant. He has no unlimited freedom and therefore no morality. He feels outside the state, taxes his people, defends himself with the help of mercenaries and destroys any threat to this power. The most unfortunate character in the book, the tyrant is the opposite of the guardian; he is injustice incarnate.
In Book IX, Socrates takes a closer look at the figure of the tyrant. This is a necessary digression, for by appreciating the life of a tyrant, his pleasures and pains, they can better understand what an unjust life is. Eventually they will use what they learn from the tyrant to compare his life to that of a philosopher.
The tyrant begins as the protector of the people, promising to free them from debt. However, towards the end of his reign, he reduced them to poverty and enslaved them. Then, in an unexpected turn, the tyrant, who for a while became the master of all people, himself becomes the slave of all people. He is ruled by insatiable appetites, he is threatened from all sides and at every moment with betrayal and murder, and he can never leave his land for fear of being overthrown. The portrait is rather gloomy; what appears to be absolute freedom is, in fact, absolute slavery.
Book IX closes with a re-positioning of the question: is the life of an unjust person, who is perceived in public as just, better or worse than that of a just person, who is perceived as unjust? There follows a discussion of the nature of pleasure, and base pleasures are separated from noble ones and are, in fact, more pleasant. Ultimately, Socrates replies, in the long run, injustice takes far less pleasure, if at all, and must inevitably manifest itself and be banished or exiled. The final, and in fact the end of the state as such, is Socrates’ assertion that regardless of whether the ideal state becomes a reality, the philosopher must always live as if it were real inside him.
The Republic’s latest book, The Rewards of Life, includes two main points. First, there is the question of imitative poetry. Here Socrates offers his final assessment of the art of poetry. Homer, he apologizes, must, with the exception of those parts that depict the nobility and correct behavior of famous people and gods, be left in the state. It may even have to be translated from poetry into prose so that the musicality of the language does not seduce any of the citizens. Secondly, there comes the true retribution for life, which takes place in the afterlife. Although a just person reaps great fruits in earthly life, it is in immortality, or the immortality of his soul, that he receives the true reward. The gods accept the just man, who all this time sought to imitate them, as a quasi-equal.
And, finally, the "Republic" ends with Socrates’ colorful story about the hero Era. This is a long description of the afterlife, in which all those virtues that Socrates so carefully exposed and defended take their rightful place. The souls are shown in eternal repetition, moving up and down from heaven to earth and back again (with the wicked spending millennial periods in hell).
List of characters
Socrates is the narrator of the Republic, the central consciousness through which everything passes and is filtered. He is also the protagonist of the text, if such a term can be used. First of all, the text is a recording of a philosophical dialogue in the first person, an exploration of the question of justice; so it has very little traditional action and movement. This is an intellectual pilgrimage. We understand Socrates mainly through his mind, which at first appears to be wandering, though no doubt shrewd. The fact that he "knows nothing" seems to clearly emphasize the titanic intelligence. But he does almost nothing but talk. As we learn from one of his listeners at the beginning of the dialogue, it was his provocative and instructive conversations that he became famous for.
Gradually, a pattern emerges from the constant testing and re-examination of the ideas presented by his auditors. Socrates does not introduce any idea himself; his preliminary conclusions, irrefutably his own, follow or arise from the proposals (most often erroneous) of his auditors. What Socrates really knows is impossible to convey, but he can always say when someone else does not recognize his own ignorance.
By the end of the Republic, however, one can tell what Socrates more or less believes. He believes in the four virtues: courage, wisdom, temperance, and justice. He believes that philosophy is the noblest and most useful occupation of man; in fact, it is his responsibility. He appreciates poetry, although he does not trust it. He is unusually humble and patient, never rejecting any idea without an honest inquiry. The character of Socrates, like his morality, which requires a person to really live it, materializes through his thoughts. No doubt when he talks about the stressful upbringing of guardians, he considers himself a guardian. But the most important thing, perhaps, is that the philosophical reasoning of Socrates embodies the process rather than philosophy. He has no doctrine, no dogma, no allegiance except to the Truth.
That is, the method of Socrates corresponds to the nature of research and the intellectual search itself: it is his style, he is dialectics, jumping, as he explains, from one invisible step to another in search of the good.
Glaukon is the name of one of Plato’s older brothers, who in the "Republic" remains the closest and most devoted student of Socrates. Throughout the dialogue, he never leaves his teacher. In the second book, after a confrontation with Thrasymachus, Glaucon, for the sake of arguments, agrees to oppose Socrates. He is quite good at expressing conventional wisdom, and therefore, not unreasonably, he can be considered the embodiment of conventional thinking. Later, he is compared to an assistant in the state apparatus.
The second of Plato’s brothers, Adeimant, is the source of poetry and literature in the course of the dialogue. He is also a sworn student of Socrates and, like the others, refuses the opportunity to lead the discussion. In the third book, he barely understands Socrates’ idea of the style of narration, which forces the philosopher to clarify a difficult point.
The elderly father of Polemarchus, Cephalus’s affectionate thoughts about old age initiate Socrates’ reflections on the nature of a virtuous life. It is in his house that the dialogue begins. Cephalus, insofar as he believes that the lamentations of old people are the result of their vicious characters, is the fruit and logical conclusion of right actions. Despite the physical discomfort of late adulthood, Cephalus is happy, and that, after all, is the point of Socrates.
Polermarch invites Socrates to his home, looking forward to a conversation. The son of Cephalus, Polermarch holds very common ideas. In the first book, he believes that justice is a reward to everyone according to their deserts. And in Book V, being caught in a whisper, he accuses Socrates of laziness and demands that the philosopher explain in detail the mechanism of the family and community in his state.
Thrasymachus is the furious embodiment of tyranny. He explosively interrupts dialogue in the first book, but refuses to state his position without being rewarded for doing so. Socrates’ disciples pay him, and Thrasymachus gives his definition of justice: the interests of the strong are a summary of tyranny. The consequences of his argument are used by Socrates throughout the argument to develop the notion of perfect injustice.
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