The Republic

Property in the Ideal State

Since the birth of society thousands of years ago, thinkers have pondered one of the most basic, important questions with which mankind must grapple: How should society be organized? Plato was one of the first to write his response to that question. His work, the Republic, clearly outlines his plan for an ideal society. Aristotle, a pupil of Plato's, disagreed with much of what Plato offered in his work, and wrote a response, called Politics. At the beginning of book two, Aristotle states that the purpose of Politics was "to study which political community is best of all for people who are able to live as ideally as possible" (Politics, 1260.27-28). In order to accomplish this, it was necessary to analyze the foremost work in the field, Plato's Republic. In his analysis, though, Aristotle's logic is imperfect and his criticism of Plato's structure for civilization is weak.

A fundamental part of any society is the way in which citizens share things. Plato argues in the Republic that, among other possessions, "marriage, the having of wives, and the procreation of children must be governed as far as possible by the old proverb: Friends possess everything in common" (Republic, 423e-424a). Instead...

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