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"The Kind Of Knowledge Plato Has In Mind In His Theory Of Forms Is Not The Kind Of Knowledge Needed To Rule A City"

2096 words - 9 pages

The good city is Plato's view of the perfect state and its relation to the human soul and its four virtues. The human soul is a larger version of Plato's community (Lee ). Therefore, each of the virtues as Plato relates them to the city, apply on a larger scale to the human soul. The following paper discusses these various aspects of the soul and how they are interrelated. It discusses how Plato applies his theory of the individual soul to his theory of the proper political order of the state. It ends with a personal assessment of the theory.According to Plato, the four virtues of the human soul are prudence, courage, temperance and justice. Plato relates the virtues to a community, which is ...view middle of the document...

Plato relates that in a community, the rulers and their subjects agree on who the rulers should be (Lee 431e). Temperance is also used to control the desire to go against one's free will. To be self-disciplined is somehow to order and control the pleasures and desires (Lee 430e).The last virtue Plato discusses is justice, otherwise known as morality. Justice in the city is achieved when all three groups function cohesively as a whole, resulting in a society that is free of crime. If one steps outside the normative roles defined by society, his/her actions are considered to be immoral. When each of the three classes perform its own function and does its own job in the community, then this is morality (Lee 434c).The human soul, comprised of three parts, is a larger version of Plato's community and therefore each of the virtues relate to it. The first part is reason, which is the capacity to think rationally. Next is passion, which is fighting for what is right. Plato describes the unified relationship between these two parts by declaring that the rational part is wise and looks out for the whole of the mind and for the passionate part to be its subordinate and its ally (Lee 441e). The last part of the human soul is desire, which can be found in temperance and is closely related to passion. Desire is the temptation to do what is wrong. The desirous part, which is the major constituent of an individual's mind, is naturally greedy for things (Lee 442a). In his theory, Plato shows how self-discipline can control desires. Justice is again found in all three parts of the soul because, when they all work together justly, they are successful. The virtues are arranged in a hierarchical pyramid, in which the rulers are found at the top. The top resembles the highest position, where the rulers are in charge of the community (Lee 442b). The next position is the military, whose role it is to take orders from the rulers and then send them to the workers. The workers, then fall on the lowest level of the pyramid. The only virtue that cannot be placed in the pyramid is justice. Justice is found in all three of the virtues, therefore it reigns in all of them (Lee 442b).The way that the virtues are arranged makes it impossible for any of them to mix, be missing, or trade places. One must have all four virtues to be completely moral. Each virtue is directly related to each other in an indirect way. The rational part will do the planning and the passionate part the fighting. The passionate part will obey the ruling part and employ its courage to carry out the plans (Lee 442b). The three H's which inspire each virtue are head, habitual and happiness. In the Head the person must contain the rational ability to know what he/she is doing. In the Habitual, the person's actions are always aimed toward the good. In Happiness, the person must simply be happy at what he/she is doing (Lee 442b). When the three H's are obtained one is considered moral or just.Plato applies his...

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