Plato’s political philosophy provided the first significant theoretical analysis of political life, regarded as his work’s philosophical foundation. Plato examines several political topics in the Republic and Regulations, including the best and most workable kinds of government, the limits of political knowledge or political “craft” in The Statesperson, and how to assess different types of governance, including democratization, properly. Furthermore, Plato’s understanding of politics extends beyond what he has discussed.
According to Plato, good governments are necessary for a decent life, and good governments cannot exist without intellectually and morally outstanding leaders. Plato outlines an educational strategy in his dialogue, The Democracy, to help, as much as necessary, ensure that politicians—like doctors, lawyers, nurses, physicists, and philosophers professors—are trained in fields essential to making crucial societal decisions. In The Republic, Plato made up the ruling class. Plato also believed that the verdict elite ought to be of the highest moral calibre. Below is a discussion of the political profession as envisioned by Plato
To assist their brothers Polyneices and Eteocles, Antigone and Ismene travel back to Thebes. Upon arrival, they realized that both of their brothers had passed away while struggling to become Thebes’ King. Creon, Antigone’s uncle, and future father-in-law, later ascends to the throne of Thebes and declares that Thebes must always come first (Goheen, 2017). Eteocles, who protected Thebes and battled for their land, will be given a hero’s burial, according to Creon, whereas Polyneices, who took up arms against the city, will not be allowed a burial to put his soul to rest. Despite being set in the city-state of Thebes a generation, perhaps once well before Trojan War, several millennia before Sophocles’ time, the tragedy was composed in Athens around the reign of Pericles (Goheen, 2017).
Sophocles was selected as a member of the ten commanding officers to organize a military operation towards Samos Island immediately after the play’s debut during this period of intense patriotic enthusiasm (Goheen, 2017). The play features zero misinformation, topical metaphors, or references to Athens and generally exhibits zero signs of patriotism. Theban civil war has left Thebes in a state of unsettling stillness. As the argument between the two prominent players progresses, the atmosphere becomes increasingly one of dread and imminent disaster. However, the play’s climactic fatalities give off the sensation of catharsis and emptying of every feeling, with all desires exhausted.
By providing Polyneices with a befitting burial, Antigone defies Ismene’s advice and the rough rule established by Creon (Goheen, 2017). She would rather perish for a good cause. Creon’s punishment of Antigone and her death sentence initiates radical action. The main confrontations in the play are between people and supernatural beings, between people and society, and between men. Antigone and the community in Thebes are in dispute since she is viewed as an alien and a traitor since she defied the King. Between Antigone and Creon, Antigone and Ismene, and Haemon and Creon, a man versus man fight. Struggle between extraordinary people is fueled by the notion that several of Antigone’s family—have been condemned by the gods and are doomed to destruction.
The scenario is the production’s main topics and ideas: civil disobedience Antigone’s prideful disobedience of the King, and the law of Theba Creon enacts a law that he regards as divine and thinks everyone should abide by, and he is eventually persecuted for it. Mortal law versus immortality Antigone prefers the rule of God to the rule of man (Goheen, 2017). The status of women in the patriarchal society is very restrained and submissive to males, and Antigone questions this assumption when Ismene, as well as other women, think they should not risk the fury of men.
How do Socrates and Plato believe they are reacting?
The philosophy of Socrates discusses several values attributed to people. For example, Socrates was accused of being wiser than others since he consistently challenged their assertions. Additionally, according to Socrates, those who understand the truth are worthless. Plato’s Repentance contains information about human mortality, as per Socrates. Socrates claimed that, regardless of their efforts, nobody knew if death may be the best of all beautiful things to ever happen to humans (Basili, 2020). He claims that individuals fear dying because they believe it to be the worst thing that could happen to them.
Socrates believed that those with little gain should only evaluate if their behaviours are right or wrong rather than considering the implications of those deeds, such as ALMARRI’s life or death. Socrates says that the death sentence should not prevent people from committing actions they believe are justified. For instance, he claims that if a monarch or man is given a position of authority, a man must not attempt to survive on something dishonourable but should instead consider death or perhaps an option. People continue to fear death because it claims lives (Basili, 2020). The idea that death is the worst thing that can happen to a person causes people to cry and lament when someone passes away.
Death, despite this anxiety, is still a mystery because it has not been thoroughly investigated. Fear of dying and unquestioned beliefs will end if people pay attention to Socrates’ writings (Basili, 2020).
Why philosophy was good in the city
The qualities of wisdom are strongly correlated with the qualities of “being a nice person,” according to Plato’s philosophical conversations. Euthyphro by Plato is based on a discussion of what constitutes piety or impiety between Socrates and Euthyphro outside the Athenian court. Euthyphro was taken aback to see Socrates there and became even more inquisitive as to his purpose for being there.
Meletus was spreading accusations about him corrupting the Athenian youth, Soc0rates claimed, which is why the court was prosecuting him for impiety. Euthyphro informs Socrates that he was there to bring charges against his father for the murder of Dionysus, a farm labourer. Socrates makes a scathing remark that boosts Euthyphro’s ego. Euthyphro implies that he is an authority on holiness (Strauss, 2017). Euthyphro’s claim of expertise amuses Socrates, who pretends to be ignorant of the subject and asks Euthyphro to teach him what is religious.
The Republic’s most well-known passage is about philosopher rulers. In particular, Plato’s famous proclamation that political authority and philosophy would entirely be merged until philosophers rule as kings in their cities or until those currently referred to as kings and leading men become trustworthy and competent philosophers. Cities will be able to escape atrocities; neither belief will destroy humanity. Plato suggests a drastic shift in how philosophy and public life are related, saying that philosophical practice should be required to improve society. Such a claim, however, begs the question, given the negative stigma of scholars and philosophy in general, that Socrates’ legacy has left over Athens. However, Plato was aware of these realities. Furthermore, most Athenians view philosophy as having little practical usefulness for society (Strauss, 2017).
Plato’s analysis of philosophy through the eyes of Adeimantus, a Socrates follower, acknowledges the tragic position of philosophy and one of the Republic’s most intriguing passages, which acknowledges the futility of philosophy in the social sphere and the dubious reputation of philosophers (Strauss, 2017). Even previously in the Gorgias, the phrase “philosophy is inadequate for social sphere” is echoed, but it also occurs in later dialogues, most notably in the Theaetetus. Socrates represents a person willing to participate in public affairs, knowing that doing so would probably result in his death.
This philosophical endeavour sets itself apart from contemporary politics, run by sophists who entertain the populace in acting out a mockery of politics. Plato’s political project will be fundamental, unlike the historical Socrates. Its goal is to rebuild the city in a way that will combine politics and philosophy; this combination will result in the idea of philosopher-king (Strauss, 2017).
Strauss, “What is Political Philosophy?”
He asserts that politics attempts to achieve good by dividing both negative and positive. Strauss, like most other greek philosopher, seeks facts and the truth. This reality is intended to help one comprehend and succeed in their studies (Özkan, 2019). According to Strauss’s philosophy, philosophers should be drawn to philosophy and link it to the truth. According to Strauss, the most critical aspect of technology that leads to political ideology is positive. He first evaluates the historical development of positivism. He characterizes it as a paradigm that differs considerably from Descartes and Compte in that it regards the appraisal of facts as a fundamental requirement of science. Social science that is positivist is unbiased and devoid of values. For him, moral ignorance is necessary (Strauss, 2017).
Strauss gets the purpose of positivism crystal plain. He asserts that social science significantly impacts all types of inclinations for positivism. He always perceives himself as becoming independent from morals and neutrality, which he interprets as aimlessness and nihilism (Özkan, 2019). He still applies the Positivism approach and adopts the following strategy to critique it: Social science cannot decide whether or not it is valuable and worthwhile. Good and bad, however, are value judgments, and materialist social science is useless. A social scientist also emphasizes that social science may be helpful and detrimental. All social scientists, however, are ready to support and promote social science. Where they are currently staying is where social science hopes to arrive at reality (Strauss, 2017). However, positivism is fundamentally flawed, making it impossible to grasp the truth.
He is sick of his prophecy outbursts, having been made fun of by his relatives and the Athenians. When he speaks in front of the group on spiritual matters, they laugh at him and act as though he is crazy. His father did not think to consult Euthyphro, the family cleric, when his servant killed a family enslaved person on Naxos. While everything was going on, Euthyphro’s guy passed away from maltreatment and exposure. Euthyphro had to endure the embarrassment of missing his client and being ignored by his father in his self-declared area of expertise. He shows his kin the full power a person knowledgeable about celestial affairs possesses. Euthyphro wants to force his sire and the Athenians to treat him with respect they had previously refused by making his dramatic accusations of murder and impiety. Considering Socrates makes the ironic comment that Euthyphro’s wisdom is almost as great as his youth, Euthyphro is presumably not much older than Meletus.
The fact that Euthyphro is suing his father for incidents that must have happened at least five years ago makes the case even weirder; Athens lost control of Naxos at the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404. In 399, Socrates went on trial. Given the lack of chronological and spatial proximity to the contaminating incident, it is difficult to conclude that Euthyphro was motivated by a different motive when she unlocked a can of worms.
Consider that Euthyphro’s opening line would have been, What is holy is that which the gods accept, to complete the circular pattern. In such a situation, Socrates would just have needed to make the same argument he did by claiming that the gods frequently disagree with one another while making decisions. If something were made holy since the gods approved, we would constantly debate which God’s opinion was to be taken more seriously. One God would view Euthyphro’s trial as holy, while another might view it as evil to bring charges against one’s father. Therefore, it would seem that understanding the nature of the sacred is still of utmost importance. The form can neither be added to nor subtracted from. Socrates would easily have identified the flaw in Euthyphro’s argument if he had started off this way.
Strauss, in “Irony”
The majority of Strauss’ analysis of Plato’s Republic discusses his logical perspective on Platonic conversations. First, Strauss assumes that Socrates is the ideal representative of Plato. Therefore, Strauss thinks it is essential to think about what it may imply to communicate through the lips of a leading character for his irony. Socratic irony must be understood for one to understand platonic doctrines entirely. The irony is “a form of dissimulation or untruthfulness,” according to Strauss (Strauss, 2017). The principle highlights the bad aspects of irony: saying anything with the intention that the content is to be regarded as having a distinct perspective from what is spoken is a lie known as irony designed as dissimulation.
Given that Strauss views irony as a form of dishonesty, it becomes crucial to understand who is being ironically addressed. In reality, irony can be a humorous means of communicating if directed at a person who is supposed to comprehend the ironic gesture (Strauss, 2017). When irony is used to distinguish between individuals who can comprehend the true meaning and those who are blind to it, it might be used to address a person who is assumed to be stupid and unaware of it. Thus, Strauss must address the criticism that irony might be seen as essentially a vice when applied to unavoidable circumstances.
The idea behind Strauss’ description of Plato’s writing style is that by carefully analyzing the text’s various levels and voices, one can piece together the Platonic doctrine. However, this dissimulation shows what is hidden behind it: the dialogue’s genuine significance, which is only available to individuals with decent natures, as opposed to the numerous types of people who do not.
The inadequacy of philosophy’s reaction to Athens’ artists and conventions
Expectations are disappointed by Plato’s in-depth treatment of poetry. He did not write a treatise on the topic. He did not write any treatizes and instead focused his thoughts on “significant” conversations that were creative and poetically influenced (Yang, 2022). The observations he provides us also meander haphazardly within a normal conversation and branch off in what seem to be odd suggestions, like consultations about the supposed self-corrupting effects that poetry is said to reveal to its listeners (Özkan, 2019). However, Plato was unmistakably aware that something far more fundamental than simply nailing down the specifics of the topic in a decent philosophical manner depends on his appraisal of poetry.
Plato had thoughts transcriptions or presentations, frequently had in the setting of theatre, rather than poetry as a written work read in quiet (Yang, 2022). Further, when Socrates and Plato were conducting their research, poetry had a much greater impact than what Plato refers to as “philosophy.” It is quite easy to forget that at the time, Plato was promoting a historically novel project in a society boiling with disagreement about the relative worth of such projects and what “philosophy” meant, given the tremendous success of his advocacy of “philosophy.”
While Plato was unaware of media like broadcast tv, recordings, and the movie theatre, forms of literature like the narrative, and information systems like the World Wide Web (Özkan, 2019).
In conclusion, the municipality must be led by a person with philosophical training who can understand the actual nature of reality, justice, and wisdom. According to Plato’s simplified view of political and social life, which also maintains that one’s natural abilities decide one’s position in the community. Social justice in Plato’s worldview is anti-democratic and non-egalitarian. Even if his perspective might not be widely accepted today, it is important to consider his critique of capitalism and popular sovereignty.
Basili, C. (2020). After Socrates. Leo Strauss and the Esoteric Irony. In Anales del Seminario de Historia de la Filosofía (Vol. 37, No. 3, p. 473). Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
Denyer, N. (Ed.). (2019). Plato: The Apology of Socrates and Xenophon: The Apology of Socrates. Cambridge University Press.
Goheen, R. F. (2017). Imagery of Sophocles Antigone. In Imagery of Sophocles Antigone. Princeton University Press.
Özkan, D. (2019). Crito: Upon the Duty, Citizenship and, Justice. Beytulhikme An International Journal of Philosophy, 9(1), 89-101.
Strauss, L. (2017). What is political philosophy? In Plato and Modern Law (pp. 71-96). Routledge.
Yang, K. (2022, July). Socrates’ Piety. In 2022 3rd International Conference on Language, Art and Cultural Exchange (ICLACE 2022) (pp. 430-435). Atlantis Press