Plato’s Attack On Democratic Politics
- Topics: Plato
- Words: 1069
- Pages: 2
- This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.
The idea of a democratic system started in Athens around 550 BCE; this system of government was intended to be a direct democracy where every citizen would have the opportunity to vote on every piece of new legislation. This new form of government allowed the ordinary Athenian citizen, the none-aristocrats, who had political ambitions to rise to the highest ranks of Athenian politics. Although to have the right to vote a common citizen did have to be free men who had completed military service. Therefore, in reality only about 20% – 25% of the population were enfranchised. Women had very few rights in Athenian society.
The Athenian philosopher Socrates who lived from 469 to 399 B.C was a total devotee of the democratic system but he earned the displeasure of his fellow citizens by constantly questioning the accepted gods and established practises. Socrates was sentenced to death by the Athenian courts and famously refused to escape when he had the opportunity as he respected the court decision as a part of a system he passionately believed in. He chose to committ suicide, by drinking hemlock.
Plato (427 – 347 BC) on the other hand was a pupil of Socrates who, although believing in the democratic principles of the system, had serious doubts about its failings. Plato did not have the passionate, blind adherence of Socrates and created extensive Dialogues (a genre of literary prose) to explain his misgivings. These have made it possible to fully understand his thinking. Socrates himself left no written records but Plato’s dialogues have allowed an insight into his thought process and to how democracy matured and grew.
Plato was from a family of Greek aristocrats, his real name was Aristocles but he was given his nickname by a wrestling coach because of his broad shoulders, (Platon is Greek for broad). Plato decided against a career in politics and chose instead to pursue a more artistic life style, writing plays and poems however he abandoned this to follow Socrates. (Mark Joshua J Sept 2009)
In his writings Plato explains the differences between necessary desires and unnecessary desires. He describes Necessary desires as being desires we cannot overcome, such as our desire for shelter and sustenance. Unnecessary desires are desires that we are quite able to overcome but do not, these include luxuries and personal possessions. Plato believed that freedom is a desire that once tasted generates the demand for more which in turn leads to the rejection of authority and the expectation of liberty. It is at this point, Plato believes, that the democratically appointed leaders start to lose control and try to distract the people by creating problems such as wars which focus the minds of the populous and unite them in a single united purpose. To pay for these distractions taxes will have to be raised alienating their former supporters. The soldiers will then be employed to enforce unpopular decisions and to silence voices raised in opposition. More soldiers will be required to supress protest by force and consequently more taxes. Plato also discusses the danger of democracy turning into Tyranny. For example, Plato argues the democratic system allows power hungry figures to gain control through manipulation of the system and using the freedoms of the people to back a political cause and the perceived ‘interest of the people’. This will allow the tyrannical figure to gain control and eventually silence any democratic challenges to his reign and silence the opposition
These democratically appointed leaders will now need protection from the very people who elected them to office, people who now want to overthrow them to form a democracy. Plato predicted that democracy would lead to nations being governed by bullies and brutes and history has shown a consistent pattern of subjugation, revolution and subjugation once again.
Plato’s description of a democracy is rather thought provoking. It gives us pause and forces us to examine our own government. Could it be true that our leaders are the bullies and the political tyrants that Plato describes? Does democracy lead to entangling wars for the benefit of the ruling class? And are the people so subjugated by senseless laws and stiff taxes, that they are unable to resist in any meaningful way? Perhaps. History has shown a consistent pattern of subjugation, revolution and subjugation once again. (Van Bryan 8/7/2013)
In Plato’s dialogue, The Republic, Plato’s view on systems of government can be seen, as he describes five men each representing the states of aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny. It is clear that the Plato’s favoured regime is in indeed aristocracy in which he believes the leaders are highly educated people who have experience and exercise good judgment and are ‘philosopher kings’. This aristocratic system consists of three different castes, the ruling ‘philosopher kings’, the soldiers who are defined by their immense honour and lastly the majority class who represent the ‘will of mankind’. Plato believed that this was the best governmental system as the people with the most knowledge are assigned to the most responsible and powerful roles in society. In contrast Plato shows dislike of the system of democracy favoured by his mentor Socrates. For example, he believed that a democratic society consisted of immense differences and disputes in which there was no common consensus and order. He is also believed that in democracy the rulers are obliged to perform the will of the lower classes.
Plato’s philosophies still carry relevance in modern history, for example there have been many accounts of the collapse of democracies which have turned into full tyrannical rule. This was evident in the election of Adolf Hitler in 1932 in which he swept to power with a mandate based on the ‘brutish’ values which Plato has described. This absolute tyranny came in the form of fascism which swept across Europe with ease but however was defeated and democracy once again reigned supreme. Many modern leaders have recognised the Platonic critical view of democracy but also how it is the best political system which currently exists. For example, Sir Winston Churchill’s quote that “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Holds to Plato’s believe that democracy is fundamentally flawed but is however the most adequate system when compared to the others.
The Second Treatise of Government by John Locke and The Republic by Plato is historically significant philosophical and political theorists’ figures. John Locke greatly influenced the American Constitution based on ideas on liberal government. Plato expanded the ideas of his teacher Socrates and argued for justice and equality in a state system. Though these two theorists hold valuable ideas, they contain contrasting perspectives on how a government or city should be ruled and governed. While Locke believes that money/property is...
This essay will discuss Plato’s conception of philosophy; his approach, thoughts, and influences in regards to the discipline of philosophy. Perhaps one of the most influential philosophers of all time, a lot of Plato’s work has influenced how we as human civilization think of ethics, epistemology, logic and mathematics. The primary concept that will be examined in this essay is Plato’s theory of Forms, which could be argued as his most substantial contributions to philosophy. Plato’s influence on western civilization...
Throughout this essay, I will discussing the nature of Plato’s thought in regards to who should rule an ordered society. I will do this by looking at the works of Plato in order to gather ideas, while investigating other key texts such as Jonathan Wolff, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and other scholars in order to discuss, support and compare Plato’s hypothesis of a philosopher king rule. The Republic deals with the idea of ‘justice’ throughout all the books, and...
Introduction Plato is broadly viewed evenly one of the superlative and most operant philosophers in the western custom. His political school of thought is held in too difficult value, and is the originally comp political thought we believe. evenly with early immense figures, Plato’s political supposition was non alone section of his overall philosophic scheme just deep molded away his accessible and political destiny. Plato’s political receive was 1 of universal decompose and decrease. in his conception, the ancient polis,...
This essay will discuss the significance of Plato’s theory’s and how they may or may not affect scientists’ ideas. These ideas may be affected by Plato’s belief in ‘a priori’ knowledge. This means theory’s using reason rather than experience. Reason meaning using knowledge and common sense to come to a justified conclusion on a scientific study where reason may have been used to arrive at an end solution. This will therefore consider whether scientists have used Plato’s theories of reason...
There have always been various forms of government throughout society. People have been ruled by leaders, princes, and presidents. Certain philosophers such as Plato, Lao-Tzu, and Niccolo Machiavelli have proposed their views on how to show power. While Lao-Tzu and Plato had similar views compared to Machiavelli, they developed different actions when it came to people. The views of Plato, Lao-Tzu, and Machiavelli will develop the government as we know today. In this comparison, what do these three philosophers reveal...
In this paper, I will argue that Martin Luther King’s claim concerning civil disobedience as expressed in Letter from Birmingham Jail is more persuasive than that of Plato’s claim concerning obedience to the law in Crito. Specifically, I will argue that King’s claims are more persuasive because they take a more realistic and practical approach compared to Plato’s claims, which contain inconsistencies and rely on assumptions that may not always be true. To accomplish this, I will first provide an...
The value and meaning of education has surely changed over time. Having an education was often seen to be more of a privilege than what education stands for today. Many people see early education as preparation for adulthood, whilst further education as a means to develop one’s own understanding of a subject. Argued to be one of the most influential philosophical accounts of education is Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” The “Allegory of the Cave” can be found in Book...
The two philosophers has very different interpretations of their God/Gods. However, I would like to point out that both philosophers believed that their deities are or have been present in the world at some point. Descartes wrote six meditations because of the fact that he believed that God created the world in six days, which is an act of presence. Plato believed that ‘What is really good cannot do any harm or be harmful, so what is really good can...
01 / 09
Fair Use Policy
EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via email@example.com.
We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.