It would be nearly impossible to read Plato and not be affected in one way or another. Republic has long been known to be a vision of Utopia, sought after by many leaders and systems, yet the very unpredictable character of humanity throws a wrench into the works every time.
In formulating his rhetorical arguments, Plato launches an invitation to delve deep into the matter at hand; his views on education are startling in their simplicity yet definitely do not fit in with the contemporary views held by our country's First Amendment; in Chapter 2 of Republic (trans. by Benjamin Jowett, 1901), Socrates indignantly states that fiction should be censored, separating the good from the bad. This is discussed as a necessity for good education of children. He further suggested that the children could only hear "authorized" tales of fiction and stated that most of the current fiction would have to be discarded due to its glorifying of (false) gods and heroes. Socrates despised lies and felt that children should not be exposed to them early in life and for no good reason. The ethos of Plato in Republic is made clear in his adherence to what is true and good and in proportion.
This was the foundation on which Plato's other offerings on education were built. If we look at this concept with any amount of depth, it is not difficult to understand that Plato's thoughts regarding outlandish stories about things that never (tangibly) existed were those of dismay. This is similar to the modern favor of special effects in a movie being more important than the quality of the story. Plato's feelings are not so outlandish but his arguments in favor of making these conclusions into laws reveal his vulnerability in longing for a perfect society. His pathos in his preference of truth over what pleased the ear in poetry is clearly defined, as is his fervent wish that every human should embrace only truth.
Plato vehemently argued in favor of censorship of reading material; while he loved the character of Homer he despised the lies of such writing inasmuch as worshipping heroes as gods and giving them superhuman powers. He also deplored the need to appease the gods and declared that all such stories should be censored. The logos of this is justified in that if young people and the simple-minded didn't have any exposure to such nonsense, they would not pursue unworthy endeavors in those directions, nor would they be prone to lying themselves. To Plato, removing the imaginative yet wholly untrue content of fiction from the hands of simple minds would not corrupt those minds.
Plato necessarily saw education and theology as one and the same, and lauded philosophy as the highest form of education since it searches for truth. To Plato, the pathos of a brilliant mind educated badly would result in negativity with regard to society. A brilliant mind alone is not enough to forge an outstanding individual; that mind must be crafted and nurtured and disciplined. Brilliance cannot be imitated.
Plato's continual unwavering adherence to philosophers being the only ones worthy brings us to the ethos of Republic. Plato did not care if his words were misunderstood by the masses; he anticipated this and bolstered his argument time after time with the proof of observation. In stating that one could judge, in youth, whether or not the character of an individual held the potential for the pursuit of philosophy/theology, Plato points out that the natural philosopher was gentle in nature, socially adept, contemplative as opposed to aggressive and crude and thoughtless. The core of this ethos ...
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(“Plato In the Contemporary View Book Report/Review”, n.d.)
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“Plato In the Contemporary View Book Report/Review”, n.d. https://studentshare.net/philosophy/287108-plato-in-the-contemporary-view.
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It is through
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