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PhilosophyGround >> Plato's gold, silver and bronze


1/1/06 3:03 PM
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Radford¼
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Edited: 01-Jan-06
Member Since: 03/14/2002
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Plato's system of testing male youths mental ability to see if they should go into the Gold, Silver or Bronze categories; Gold- the rulers who make the choices, get the pick of the women, but have no material possesions. Silver- The administrators/police etc who do the government jobs and run the country for the golders. Bronze- The labourers and manual workers who get the last choice of the women. I would think this system would suck no matter what category I was. Plato, the first communist. I can see why poor South Americans are into communism, but it will never work for them, because they will always get the corrupt in power.
1/1/06 8:29 PM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 01-Jan-06
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I can´t really see the communist connection to Plato to be honest.
1/2/06 1:50 PM
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dnwsr
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Edited: 02-Jan-06
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plato proposed an "ideal" society and never suggested it could be realized. furthermore, the republic isn't really about the best society. it is about the ordering of the individual and his soul. the polis is "man writ large." by looking at the ordering of the "state" (a term that would have no place in ancient greece), one can understand the ordering of the individual.
1/3/06 1:47 AM
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Magnus
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Edited: 03-Jan-06
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"I can?t really see the communist connection to Plato to be honest" The quasi-realized communist arrangement that we are familiar with stems from the former Soviet Union. The totalitarian aspect of it connects with Plato to the extent of his imposition of the 'GOOD' from the top down.
1/3/06 3:16 PM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 03-Jan-06
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So then it´s totalitarianism that stems for Plato, not communism.
1/3/06 5:49 PM
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dnwsr
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Edited: 03-Jan-06
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lol
1/4/06 6:10 PM
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dnwsr
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Edited: 04-Jan-06
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no, i don't think that is a fair assessment of plato. his "main" goal was to emphasize the importance of having a well ordered soul. he was looking to cure a disease in society, and that was one of the spirit. he wanted the leaders to know the good, thus the idea of a philosopher king. also, the so called "communism" of Plato relates to everyone having a shot at having order within their soul. the guardians had to live communally so they wouldn't put family ties over that of the community. however, material possessions were never the focus of Plato's teachings. he believed in a natural aristocracy whereby the best in each field would be allowed to rise to the top. to the extent that a leader was not attuned to the "true" order of being (which he would find through philosophy), he was illegitimate. i do agree that the republic is not something plato thought would actually come to fruition (as i stated before, the polis is used as an analogue to the individual's soul). the main point was that a society, as the individual soul, must be properly ordered.
1/4/06 7:54 PM
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Socrates
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Edited: 04-Jan-06
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I can't help but throw my two cents in, but I don't really have time to defend it at length. By the way, this is somewhat of a Straussian reading. My take on the Republic is that it is a reductio ad absurdum, which is meant to illustrate the tension between the individual man and the city as a whole. As dnwsr noted, the "ideal city" is built up off an analogy to the soul. But this analogy ASSUMES that the parts of the soul are bound together and analogous to the parts of the city. I think that the whole point of the Republic is to show the ways that this assumption is wrong. The ways that the analogy is flawed revolve around Eros. Readers miss this fact in large part because they are conditioned by a long tradition of bad Platonic scholarship. I mean, think about what Socrates suggets: sharing your wife and children with other men in the city - that is fucked up, and both Socrates the charatcer and Plato the author knew that was fucked up. That was his point. If you don't believe this, just look at the Symposium, where Socrates notes that children are the most important thing to most individuals, because they give that individual immortatlity. NOBODY would share their children. When a reader gets to that point, he should stop and ask himself, "what went wrong with this argument?" Once one goes back and exames what went wrong, one will come to understand what Plato really thought about the ideal city and the soul of man. As a side a note, I should point out that it is only in the DEMOCRACY that Eros and thus both Philosophy and Tyranny can come to be. I think Plato's point was that a democracy allows for the best and worst of human beings. So, it is the best place for a human being to reach maximum potential, but it is an unstable thing - and thus not the best government for a stable, gerenally healthy society. The best government for producing the best (and worst) men is a democracy, but the best government for producing a stable, healthy society would not be a democracy. Therein lies the tension. Plato surely did not believe that the city sketched out by Socrates in the Republic was either possible or good. A "philosopher king" is an oxymoron. Philosophers don't rule in that way; note that the philosopher has to be forced to rule in the Republic.

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