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Contents:
  1. Michael Porters Strategic Tools
  2. The Ideal State
  3. An Evaluation of Plato's Ideal State
  4. An Evaluation of Plato's Ideal State by Oluwafemi Bolarfinwa | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble®

Socrates does not criticize the Book One suggestion that justice requires helping friends a ff. Otherwise, we cannot be sure that psychological harmony is justice. Unfortunately, Socrates does not give any explicit attention to this worry at the end of Book Four or in the argument of Books Eight and Nine. But there are other places to look for a solution to this worry.

First, we might look to Books Five through Seven. Second, we might look to Books Two and Three. In Book Four Socrates says that the just person is wise and thus knows what is good for him, but he does not say anything about what knowledge or the good is. In Books Five through Seven he clearly addresses these issues and fills out his account of virtue.

His account also opens the possibility that knowledge of the good provides the crucial link between psychological justice and just actions.

Plato on Truth in Ideal City State 6 min

Socrates does not name any philosophers who can knowledgeably answer questions like that. In fact, his account of how philosophers would be educated in the ideal city suggests that the ability to give knowledgeable answers requires an enormous amount of largely mathematical learning in advance of the questions themselves b—a.

The form of the good is a shadowy presence in the Republic , lurking behind the images of the Sun, Line, and Cave. But it is clear enough that Socrates takes goodness to be unity Hitchcock He explicitly emphasizes that a virtuous person makes himself a unity c—e and insists that a city is made good by being made a unity a—b. The assumption that goodness is unity also explains why mathematics is so important to the ascent to the good through mathematics an account of the one over the many is learned cf.

Burnyeat , why the good is superior to other forms the good is the unity or coherence of them, and not another alongside them , why the other forms are good by being part of the unified or coherent order , and why goodness secures the intelligibility of the other forms they are fully known teleologically. Aristotle Eudemian Ethics a20 and Metaphysics a8—16 and b10— So the philosophers, by grasping the form of the good, will recognize goodness in themselves as the unity in their souls.

They will see that the harmony or coherence of their psychological attitudes makes them good, that each of their attitudes is good insofar as it is part of a coherent set, and that their actions are good insofar as they sustain the unity in their souls cf. Socrates suggests one way when he says that a philosopher will aspire to imitate the harmony among the forms b—d. Some scholars have understood Socrates to be saying that philosophers will desire to reproduce this order by cultivating more order and virtue in the world, as Diotima suggests in the Symposium Irwin , —; cf.

Waterlow —, Cooper , Kraut On this reading, knowledge of the forms motivates just actions that help other people, which helps to solve the standing worry about the relation between psychological justice and practical justice. Unfortunately, it is far from obvious that this is what Socrates means.

He does not actually say in the Republic that knowledge of the forms freely motivates beneficence.

In fact, he says eight times that the philosophers in the ideal city will have to be compelled to rule and do their part in sustaining the perfectly just city d4, d4, e4, a8, e2, b7, e3, b5. It is possible to understand this compulsion as the constraint of justice: the philosophers rule because justice demands that they rule.

But Socrates himself suggests a different way of characterizing the compulsion. He suggests that the compulsion comes from a law that requires those who are educated to be philosophers to rule.

There is another reason to worry about explaining just actions by the motivating power of knowledge. If the philosophers are motivated to do what is just by their knowledge of the forms, then there would seem to be an enormous gap between philosophers and non-philosophers. Brown , Singpurwalla ; cf.

Michael Porters Strategic Tools

Gill , Kamtekar , and Scott Less often noted is how optimistic Socrates is about the results of a sufficiently careful education. Note that Socrates has the young guardians not only responding to good things as honorable with spirited attitudes , but also becoming fine and good. This optimism suggests that the motivations to do what is right are acquired early in moral education, built into a soul that might become, eventually, perfectly just.

And this in turn suggests one reason why Socrates might have skipped the question of why the psychologically just can be relied upon to do what is right. Socrates might assume that anyone who is psychologically just must have been raised well, and that anyone who has been raised well will do what is right. So understood, early childhood education, and not knowledge of the forms, links psychological justice and just action.

Of course, there are questions about how far Socrates could extend this optimism about imperfect virtue among non-philosophers. Perhaps honor-loving members of the auxiliary class have psychological harmony secured by their consistent attachment to what they have learned is honorable, but what about the members of the producing class?


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Can their attachment to the satisfaction of bodily desires be educated in such a way that they enjoy, in optimal social circumstances, a well-ordered soul? Do they even receive a primary education in the ideal city? These questions will be considered more fully below and see Wilberding and Wilburn Open questions aside, it should be clear that there are two general ways of linking psychological justice to just action: one that depends upon the motivational power of knowledge in particular and the other that depends upon the early training of a wide range of attitudes in the young.

If one of these ways works, then Socrates is entitled to argue that it is always better to be just than unjust by showing why it is always better to have a harmonious soul. It is possible to find in the Republic as many as five separate arguments for the claim that it is better to be just than unjust, without regard to how other people and gods perceive us. The first appeals to an analogy between psychological health and physical health in Book Four a—b.

And the fifth is the image of the human soul consisting of a little human being reason , a lion spirit , and a many-headed beast appetite b ff.

The Ideal State

Already in Book Four, Glaucon is ready to declare that unjust souls are ruined and in turmoil. But Socrates presses for a fuller reckoning. When he finally resumes in Book Eight where he had left off in Book Four, Socrates offers a long account of four defective psychological types. The list is not exhaustive cd, cf. At the end of this long discussion, Socrates will again ask which sort of person lives the best life: the aristocratic soul of Books Six and Seven, or one of the other souls of Books Eight and Nine?

We might expect Socrates and Glaucon to argue carefully by elimination, showing the just life to be better than every sort of unjust life.

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An Evaluation of Plato's Ideal State

But they do not. Instead, they quickly contrast the tyrannical soul with the aristocratic soul, the most unjust with the most just. But it does not even do that, since Socrates is very far from portraying the best soul in the least favorable circumstances and the worst soul in the most favorable circumstances. Socrates and Glaucon characterize the person ruled by his lawless attitudes as enslaved, as least able to do what it wants, as full of disorder and regret, as poor and unsatisfiable, and as fearful c—a.

These characterizations fit in a logical order. The tyrant is enslaved because he is ruled by an utterly unlimited appetite, which prompts in him appetitive desire whenever any chance object of appetite presents itself to his consideration.

An Evaluation of Plato's Ideal State by Oluwafemi Bolarfinwa | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble®

Given this condition, he experiences appetitive desires that he cannot satisfy, either because they are too difficult for him to satisfy or because satisfying them would prevent satisfying other of his desires. His experience of unsatisfied desires must make him wish that he could satisfy them and feel poor and unsatisfiable because he cannot.

Worse, because his unsatisfied appetitive desires continue to press for satisfaction over time, they make him aware of his past inability to to do what he wants, which prompts regret, and of his likely future inability to do what he wants, which makes him fearful. The result is a miserable existence, and the misery is rooted in unlimited attitudes that demand more satisfaction than a person can achieve.

In a nutshell, the tyrant lacks the capacity to do what he wants to do. The philosopher, by contrast, is most able to do what she wants to do, for she wants to do what is best, and as long as one has agency, there would seem to be a doable best. Should circumstances make a certain apparent best undoable, then it would no longer appear to be best. But this is not to say that the philosopher is guaranteed to be able to do what she wants.

First, Socrates is quite clear that some appetitive attitudes are necessary, and one can well imagine circumstances of extreme deprivation in which the necessary appetitive attitudes for food or drink, say are unsatisfiable. Second, the capacity to do what is best might require engaging in certain kinds of activities in order to maintain itself.

The Ideal State, The Dialectical Method, Educational Programs, The Cultivation of Morals

So even if the philosopher can satisfy her necessary appetitive attitudes, she might be prevented by unfortunate circumstances from the sorts of regular thought and action that are required to hold onto the capacity to do what is best. Thus, even if a philosophical soul is most able to do what it wants, and the closest thing to a sure bet for this capacity, it does not retain this ability in every circumstance.

Socrates does not need happiness to be the capacity to do what one wants, or the absence of regret, frustration, and fear. He could continue to think, as he thought in Book One, that happiness is virtuous activity a.


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But if his argument here works, happiness, whatever it is, must require the capacity to do what one wants and be inconsistent with regret, frustration, and fear.