Education In Plato's The Republic

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A question that I have been considering lately, especially in light of reading Plato’s Republic, is whether or not education should be compulsory in a modern society and, more generally, if it is ultimately the responsibility of the government or the citizens to provide and regulate it. As is presumably the case with all LASA students, I have invested a comparatively high amount of time and effort into my education, and so I will naturally be biased toward emphasizing its benefits, though I will make an attempt to balance my discussion of both sides of the issue. I will draw many of my anecdotes from mathematics in particular as I am particularly opinionated on education in that field, but they should be applicable to other subjects as well. …show more content…
The character of Socrates argues that education is necessary for at least the elite guardian class by suggesting, “A dog knows the difference between friend and foe by using knowledge, and is not philosophy the love of knowledge? So we must give our Guardians a philosophical spirit. Quite so, and that means we must educate them” (Plato 2). He contends that the purpose of education is not so much the pursuit of knowledge itself so much as the cultivation of a love of learning, which will eventually yield wisdom, a quality necessary for the ruling class. I do not agree entirely with Plato’s chain of reasoning here, but my thoughts do coincide with his in places, particularly with the idea that the purpose of the educational system in an ideal world is not to actually teach the students but rather to encourage and enable them to do so for themselves. People only have teachers to guide them through the process of learning for a limited time, and even then the relationship is suboptimal as any given teacher must cater to the abilities and learning styles of multiple students simultaneously, and after this time …show more content…
I believe that most people would agree that at least some amount of it is absolutely essential to success in today’s world, and it is fair to say that young children are not in a particularly good position to decide whether or not they wish to attend school, so I take no issue with required education up to a point, which is what currently exists in most regions of the world, and I would argue that the current age at which a student can legally choose to opt out of this system was fairly well chosen, so perhaps the more interesting question is not whether education should be compulsory in general but instead which, if any, specific aspects of it should be. Both Plato’s and Lockhart’s views on the matter certainly have merit, and now I find myself torn between them. I had initially leaned toward the idea that students should be free to study whatever they wish and opt out of anything else after a certain point, something which I would likely have done given the chance, but considering the value of education as priming students to teach themselves later in life rather than solely for the purpose of learning what often appears to be useless trivia has called this into question. It would almost seem that the subject matter itself is almost entirely irrelevant so long as there is at least sufficient variety and challenge in it to allow students to grow as individuals, yet at the same time there is an

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