Summary Of Plato's Republic

1001 Words 4 Pages
In the Republic Plato describes the perfect city in which justice and unity are not a myth, but reality. He believes in the hierarchical structure of the society, in which the philosophers, who posses the greatest knowledge, should rule. Plato 's argument is that every person should follow the path he is destined to follow and a good ruler is the one that has great wisdom and experience. This system is supported by the metaphysical idea of the Forms, the universal form of all, that have likeness but no thing is like them. Reaching the ultimate knowledge of those Forms gives the philosopher the experience and the ability to rule and enlighten the society.

The perfect polis presented in the Republic is constituted of three layers. The philosopher-kings
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In the Republic there is a clear distinction between knowledge and opinion. While the first is to truly understand something, the second does not always lead to the perception of the true nature of this something.

The transition from opinion to knowledge is described in the Republic by the Divided Line. On the side of opinion there is illusion and belief. Illusion is the perception of things as mere images, more like shadows than real objects. Belief is the beginning of understanding them through experience, the slow acknowledgement that there is something beyond the visible world, but yet not the full recognition of this fact.

After it comes the stage of mental reasoning. Through the sciences the philosophers begin to widen their knowledge. Yet, this stage is still far from the true understanding of the Forms. For instance, in geometry there can be different types of triangles, but they are all an image of one universal Form, that is unchangeable. This Form is the perfect idea of the triangle and while all the others will inevitably change, the Form will forever remain the
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Their perceptions are still based oh hypothesises and are yet to be defined in order to reach the truth of the Forms.

The fourth stage is described by Plato as the pure ideal. Through it, the philosopher has gained the ultimate understanding of the Forms, and is able to grasp the truth of the intelligible world of thought. As he reaches the true knowledge he is eligible to rule, because now he posses the experience that is needed for a good ruler.

The world of Forms is not clearly defined in the Republic, as even Plato struggles to fully describe it. The Forms are universal and unchanging and all that comes from them is just a mere likeness. As Plato states “we always postulate in each case a single form for each set of particular things, to which we apply the same name”, the Forms are the true models that are unseen, but existing.

As Sean Sayers writes, the Forms are the ideal models of all and they are the true perfection, and everything is derived from them. Just as the carpenter crafts “with his eyes on the Form”, every single thing that we perceive is an ultimate illusion of a single

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