Plato True Falsehoods And Spoken Lies Summary

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In the fragment about the education of the guardians of the second book of the Republic, Plato argues that the stories narrated by the poets lack any moral substance. The problem with these stories is that they do not transmit the truth, but shadows of the truth. This premise is based on Plato’s theory about the mimetic nature of the poetic art. For Plato, the art of poetry is the result of a process of mimesis which consists in imitating the appearances of ultimate reality, but not reality itself. According to this notion, the art of the poet is doubly removed from reality and the poet himself cannot access the true nature of things. Plagued with harmful tendencies, his creations are deceiving illusions. For this reason, the stories made by the poets should not be used as tools to educate the malleable minds of children that will become guardians …show more content…
Two are the types of lies around which he builds his argument: true falsehoods and spoken lies. Telling true falsehoods is seen as a pernicious and self-destructive action misleading the soul into ignorance, a condition of the individual incapable of appreciating the true nature of life and existence. On the other hand, telling spoken lies is an ennobling action with not direct repercussions in the soul, for the reason that spoken lies are not real lies, but mere imitations of the Idea lie. Contrary to the negative effect that true falsehoods have over the soul, spoken lies can help an individual to arrive to the knowledge of the truth. By contrasting these two concepts of lie, Plato establishes a moral basement to support a mechanism of control over his republic. One in which the guardians act as moral guides and censors. Due to the nature of their task, the guardians are permitted to tell spoken lies, ennobling action whose purpose is to propagate the truth, without compromising their role as platonic

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