Plato*s Republic books III & IV Discussion

Background to Book III
 The education of a Guardian should include a perfect
balance of music and gymnastics
The ruler is going to be selected among the Guardians
To ensure the right selection of rulers, all the young
guardians in training are made to go through tests
Those that succeed are exposed to higher forms of
education that will prepare them to rule
The Guardians who are not selected to be rulers or of the
ruling class are going to be re-named Auxiliaries
The Auxiliaries are required to enforce the laws passed by
the Guardians
The Myth of the Metals
• All citizens of the city were born of the earth
• Each citizen has a certain sort of metal mixed in with
his soul
1. Explain the significance of the metals.
Rulers- souls is mixed with gold
Auxiliaries- souls are mixed with silver
Producers- souls are mixed with bronze or iron
The city must never be ruled with a person whose soul is
not made of gold or the city will be ruined.
Auxiliaries: children and lifestyle
2. How does the city raise the children?
The rulers watch the children to see which metals are
mixed in their souls.
They will be raised by the appropriate group based on
the metal that the rulers see in their souls
3. What steps will be taken to prevent auxiliaries from
turning on fellow citizens?
A proper education and housing.
They will live communally.
Auxiliaries: private property
4. What restrictions are placed on the auxiliaries with regard
to private property?
They may not have any private property except for what is
necessary. Their house and storeroom must be open to
everyone else.
5. What conditions are put on the wages of the auxiliaries?
They will be provided enough so that they will be no surplus
and no deficit
Their salaries are provided by taxing the producers
6. Why aren’t the auxiliaries (the ruling class) allowed to
have private property?
If the rulers are given private property, they will rule for their
own gain and not for the good of the entire city.
Background to Book IV
Socrates has declared that they have developed a just
city because it has the four virtues:
1. wisdom
2. courage
3. moderation
4. justice
7. How is each virtue identified
in the city?
Wisdom can be found with the guardians because of
their knowledge of how the city should be run.
Courage lies with the auxiliaries because it is their
courage that will defend the city.
Moderation is identified with the agreement over who
should rule the city.
Justice is finally defined as the principle of
specialization, the law that all do the job to which they
are best suited.
8. Socrates definition of justice:
a) Justice is a political arrangement in which each
person plays the appropriate role.
b) Each is assigned a role that best suits their nature
and society as a whole.
Background to the reading
of Book IV:
Now Socrates turns back to the idea of finding justice
within the individual.
Tripartite soul- Socrates divides the soul of the
individual into three parts:
9. The three parts of the soul are?
a) The rational part that lusts for truth
b) The spirited part that lusts for honor
c) The appetitive part lusts for food, drink, sex, &
Virtue vs. Vice
10.What is virtue?
Virtue is a certain health, beauty and
good condition of the soul.
11. What is vice?
Vice is sickness, ugliness and
12. How does justice in the soul
mirror the classes in a just society?
In a just person the rational part of the
soul rules the other parts, with the
spirited part acting to keep the
appetitive part in line.
In a just city the truth-loving guardians
rule, the honor loving auxiliaries acting
to keep the money-loving producers in
Myth of the metals
Nature vs. Nurture
Can you think of a person who was born to perform a
certain task or job in life?
Can you think of another person who was nurtured to
perform a certain task or job in life?
Write your answer down.
Turn to another person and share your two examples.
Do you believe in nature vs. nurture with regard to the
task or job that a person should fulfill?

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