The Republic

The Republic: Plato’s Unspoken Defense of Socrates College

Plato’s Republic utilizes a political approach to answer what is essentially a moral question. In attempting to identify justice in the individual, Socrates takes an unmistakable turn toward the direction of political philosophy, describing the formation of his ideal city Kallipolis. It can hardly be disputed that the ideal state described by Socrates in Plato’s Republic is close to a totalitarian state, by its general definition. All political decisions are made by the guardian-class without any reference to the citizen body. The guardians, moreover, are neither elected nor removable from office by popular vote. Politically, their power is absolute; the only control over them is itself ideological, in that they are under an absolute moral obligation to “…cling to education and see that it isn’t corrupted” [1] and acceptance of the political system is passed on from one generation to the next. The system which Plato details through Socrates’ discussion is certainly close to totalitarian on the surface, but Plato’s true views of Kallipolis and his intent in allowing Socrates to create it are less clear.

As hinted by a number of subtle contradictions in the text, particularly in the Allegory of the Cave, it seems that Plato did...

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