PLATO’S REPUBLIC BOOKS VI & VII Senior Seminar Civitella & Verguldi-Scott Books V & VI summaries In Book V, marriage and procreation for the Guardians is described: Men and women are made husband and wife at festivals Your mate is chosen for you by lot The marriage lasts only long enough for you to have sex at the festival Those Guardians with the best qualities may have marriages and then sex with four or five spouses in one festival Books V & VI summaries The children that are produced from the festivals are taken from their parents and raised together so that no one knows which children belong to which parents No Guardian may have sex at any other time of the year The understanding is that if they do and a child is produced, the child must be killed To avoid incest, all adults are to consider each child as their child and each of the children is to consider each other child as their brother and sister Books V & VI summaries Socrates believes that this is necessary so that each citizen considers each other citizen family and does what is best for the city as a whole- patriotism When asked how will you get the Guardians to agree to live like this, Socrates states that it will be acceptable to the Guardians if their ruler is a philosopher-king A philosopher is defined as someone who understands truth Only a philosopher understands knowledge Books V & VI summaries Socrates states that the philosopher loves truth so the rational part of his soul rules his soul and is best to rule the city as a whole Adeimantus disagrees based on the philosophers that he knows and finds useless Socrates says that these philosophers have been corrupted by their families and others to use their wisdom to benefit their own family and are not true philosophers Books V & VI summaries Philosophers raised in the manner described for the Guardian class would be pure philosophers “lovers of wisdom” for the good of the city To select the philosopher-king from the Guardians, the rulers must determine which best understand the “form of the good” The form of the good is not good behavior Socrates describes the form of the good is an understanding of all existence and what is responsible for knowledge, truth, and human existence Book VII- The Allegory of the Cave Considered the most important metaphor in Western Philosophy Meant to show the effects of education on the soul It is through education that the philosopher is moved to know the form of the good The Allegory of the Cave a group of people have lived in a deep cave since birth, never seeing the light of day These people are bound so that they cannot look to either side or behind them, but only straight ahead Behind them is a fire, and behind the fire is a partial wall There are statues on the wall which are manipulated by another group of people who are out of sight behind the partial wall The Allegory of the Cave The prisoners watch the stories that these shadows play out, and because these shadows are all they ever get to see, they believe them to be the most real things in the world (this stage is called illusion) A prisoner is then freed and forced to look at the fire and the statues themselves After pain and confusion because of direct exposure to the light of the fire, the prisoner realizes that what he sees now are things more real than the shadows he has always taken as reality He sees how the fire and the statues cause the shadows and realizes that the shadows are copies of the real things The prisoner then accepts the statues and the fire as the most real things in the world. (this stage represents belief) The Allegory of the Cave Next the prisoner is dragged out of the cave into the world He is pained and confused by the light of the sun At first he can only bear to look at the shadows, then reflections, and finally real objects He sees then that the trees and flowers are even more real that the statues were and that the statues were only copies of these real images This stage represents reason or thought Allegory of the Cave Finally, the man’s eyes have fully adjusted to the light and he is able to look up at the sun He understands that the sun is the cause of everything he sees around him (the flowers, the trees, ect.) The man has reached the stage of understanding or wisdom (read from book VII) Study Questions for book VII 1. Describe the Allegory of the Cave. 2. What is the goal of education? To drag everyman as far out of the cave as possible. Education should not aim at putting knowledge into the soul, but at turning the soul toward right desires (truth & wisdom) Study Questions for book VII 3. Does everyone in the city make it out of the cave? No, education is the struggle to move as far out of the cave as your intellect will allow. Some people cannot make it all of the way out. This is why some people will be producers, guardians, and the man who makes it all of the way out has the intellect and wisdom to do what is best for the whole, he is the philosopher-king. Study Questions for book VII 4. Why must the philosophers return to the cave on occasion? To see and empathize with others. If you stay outside of the cave, you can not contribute to the city as a whole. (a professional student) Study Questions for book VII 5. What is the ultimate goal of the city? To educate those with the right natures, so that they can turn their minds toward whatever it is that they can contribute to the city. a) Producers- goods & services b) Guardians- protection and training for the ruling class c) Rulers- prudence (wise decisions before action) & governance This is why Socrates definition of justice is centered around specialization Questions for discussion Would our leaders be considered philosopher-kings according to Socrates definition? How do they fit this definition? How do they not fit this definition? How do we as Americans value education differently than Socrates and Plato?