Plato is among the mostcelebrated philosophers. His legacy has grown over the years as more peoplelearn about his teachings and life achievements. His life story has always beenan interesting subject among many. Also, his notable works such as Republic haveremained to be a topic of interest over the years. To date, many scholars andphilosophers look up to Plato’s works as a source of information as they goabout their works (Russell, 2016). An example of such captivating works is hisdialogue on the political framework where he developed his political theory. Itis within this context that the paper gives a detailed exposition on Platofocusing on his political theory.
Plato is believed to have beenborn between 420BC and 424BC. He was born in Athens Greece to a man namedAriston and a woman named Perictione (Nails,2006). From a tender age, Ariston was very involved in instillingessential life skills in his son. It is for this reason he worked hard andsacrificed a lot to ensure Plato went to school to get educated. In school,Plato is believed to have been a smart student who was very interested inobtaining knowledge (Nails, 2006). At thetime, there were no higher education institutions. For this reason, he did notenroll in any higher education school.
As he grew, Plato developed agreat interest in philosophy. His desire drove him to engage in philosophicstudies. It is in this line that he came to meet Socrates. Socrates was histeacher. He had a great admiration for Socrates.
This is evident through hisworks where he constantly refers to works by Socrates (Nails, 2006). Years later, Plato would meet up with Aristotle andbecome his teacher. As noted by Nails (2006), the three scholars are celebratedfor having laid the foundation for western philosophy through their ancientphilosophy. Plato is known for his manyworks. Among his most prominent include Republic, Symposium, Apology, andPhaedo. His works were mainly based on his assessment of various life aspects.He further referred to works by other philosophers.
Apart from Socrates, otherphilosophers who inspired him to include Pythagoras and Parmenides (Nails, 2006). As part of his studies andendeavors, Plato traveled a lot. He traveled to Cyrene, Italy, and Egypt. Hewent back to Athens at the age of 40.
It is at this point that he founded ahigher education institution in Athens known as the Academy of Athens (Nails, 2006). It was the first higher educationinstitution in Greece. Throughout his life, Plato hadmany interests.
One of these is art and literature. Plato was fascinated byancient art and literature. As a result, he made use of the two in his works.Secondly, he had a great interest in education from a tender age.
This isfurther pointed out by his efforts to develop a higher learning institution.Plato also had a great interest in love and friendship. As manifested in hisworks, he believed that they are part of what keeps a man going (Nails, 2006). His other interests includejustice and politics which he discussed in his details through his variousworks. As earlier pointed out, Plato isone of the greatest and most influential philosophers that ever lived in thewestern tradition. As noted by Russell (2016), most of his works are still usedas a case study to understand the present contemporary world better. Among thesubjects, he was most passionate about was politics (Barker, 2012).
This is evident through the various politicaldialogues he crafted to share his insight. According to Plato, man is apolitical being. As such, he argued that man’s nature can only be fulfilled asa result of their participation in the political community (Bloom & Kirsch, 2016). He went ahead toexplain that every individual is part of a political community and that whoeverdid not belong in one was either more or less of a man. Plato’s political theory wascentered on what he felt should be the ideal structure of the political arena.
In his theory, he argued that traditional polis was being brought down by otherforces such as imperialism, democracy, and individualism. He explained thatthese forces should work to improve traditional polis rather than deteriorateit (Bloom & Kirsch, 2016). He feltthat defending traditional polis is essential than other economic and socialfactors such as wealth and reputation. This is because the political frameworklays the foundation for economic and social factors (Barker, 2012). Further, political aspects shape the developmentof these aspects either in a positive or negative manner.
Over the years, discussions onPlato’s theories such as the political theory have always been a subject ofcontroversy. The controversy raises since unlike other scholars who opted fortreaties when sharing insight, Plato chose to share through dialogues (Nails, 2006). As such, people tend to interpretthem differently. However, one fact that holds is that Plato has a strongaffinity for just. He believed that a community’s approach towards justicedepicts how members of the community live (Ferrari,2005).
To Plato, justice was more of an individual personal matter. Hetermed it as a factor of the soul. He alluded that justice is not onlyconcerned with an individual’s conduct but also has a lot to do with theirinternal psychic condition (Ferrari, 2005).Justice is an integral part ofthe political framework.
As such, in a bid to shedding more light on hispolitical theory, Plato describes his view of a just city. He begins byexplaining that many societies have their focus on labor. However, according tohim, this should not be the case. He explains that in a just city, the primaryfocus should be on education (Bloom &Kirsch, 2016).
Other aspects such as labor, should all work tofacilitate and enhance education. Plato felt that if more emphasis were placedon education, then there would be an automatic improvement in the politicalframework (Bloom & Kirsch, 2016). At this point, Plato states thathe believes that people are affected by their environment. He explains that thehuman nature is to adapt to any changes in the environment to facilitatecomfort and ensure survival (Barker, 2012).This belief depicts his belief that people tend to behave based on theirsociety’s political framework. He goes ahead to state that he further believesthat people are different. Plato makes it clear that people in a community havedifferent standings on various factors based on their differences in ideologies(Barker, 2012).
Similarly, he explainsthat people are different based on their political standing within the society.He states that a group of people are the rulers, others are auxiliaries, whilethe rest are farmers (Barker, 2012). Inthis case, the rulers are ranked highest in the political class while thefarmers are the lowest. In discussing the difference inpeople based on their political class, Plato’s opinion is that people indifferent political classes have different capabilities to achieve virtue.
Heargues that the rulers have the highest capabilities while the farmers have thelowest (Bloom & Kirsch, 2016). Heexplains that the development of a just city is meant to elevate people indifferent classes. However, he feels that even in a just city the politicalclasses will still hold, only that they will be properly balanced (Ferrari, 2005). Plato attributed the currentimbalance to poor leadership whereby philosophical aspects were not taken intoconsideration by the rulers as they went about their mandate. As noted byRussell (2016), Plato strongly felt that for a just city to be attained thepolitical power and philosophic elements must be merged. Moreover, Plato’s theory takesinto consideration the issue of gender in relation to leadership. Platoexplains that the issue of gender shouldn’t affect leadership.
He states thatboth a man and a woman can make to be great ruler if his other highlightedfactors are taken into consideration (Bloom& Kirsch, 2016). However, he insists that every individual within asociety should play the role they are best suited. Alluding to his belief ondifferences between human beings, Plato states that every individual has thatrole which he performs best. As such, if all individuals were to perform theirbest in these activities, then a great socio-political balance would be struck.