The Problem With The Soul City Analogy In Plato's Republic Undergraduate Studies Essay

2695 words - 11 pages

Upon arguing the intricacies and meaning of justice, Socrates questions Adeimantus, brother of Glaucon son of of Ariston, "There is, we say, justice of one man; and there is, surely, justice of a whole city too?"[footnoteRef:1] Adeimantus agrees with this statement and thus bringing the theory, of the inter-relationship between justice in the city and justice in the soul. The essay aims to examine weather the limitations of the city and soul analogy are substantial enough to consider it valid. Furthermore, can the analogy be applicable to reality? Socrates states that, “the just man in his turn, simply in terms of the form of justice, will be no different from a just city. He will be like the just city.”[footnoteRef:2] This suggests that, Socrates perhaps assumes that there is a relation between the structural features of the city and the values as well as characteristics of an individual. Socrates says that, “each one must practice one of the functions in the city, that one for which his nature made him naturally most fit.”[footnoteRef:3] Moreover, after stating this Socrates claimed that, “justice is the minding of one's own business and not being a busybody, this we have both heard from many others and have often said ourselves."[footnoteRef:4] This suggests that Socrates believed that justice is when each class performs their own functions and must not stray away from that, as one is only fit to do a specific job. On the other hand, in correspondence to the city, Socrates begins to explain the three structures present in individual human soul. He claims that balancing the parts of soul can bring forth justice as a whole. The essay’s intent is to use the theory of specialization (minding one’s own business) and the theory of tripartite soul (three parts of the soul: rational, spirited and appetitive) to bring forth the limitations and flaws in the analogy of the city and soul. [1: Plato, The Republic: Translated by Allan Bloom, (New York: Basic Books, 1991), 368e] [2: Plato, The Republic: Translated by Allan Bloom, 435b] [3: Plato, The Republic: Translated by Allan Bloom, 433a] [4: Plato, The Republic: Translated by Allan Bloom, 433a]
With the argument proceeding further, Socrates explains that the city he and Adeimantus had founded was perfectly good.[footnoteRef:5] He explains that. “Plainly, then, the city is wise, courageous, moderate and just."[footnoteRef:6] He further considers the relationship between the wise and courageous. The wise being the guardian class and courage in the city is derived from, “a certain kind of preserving."[footnoteRef:7] It is intriguing what Socrates has to say about this. Socrates explains that, “a city is also courageous by a part of itself, thanks to that part's having in it a power that through everything will preserve the opinion about which things are terrible—that they are the same ones and of the same sort as those the lawgiver transmitted in the education.”[footnoteRef:8] Form t...


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