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Plato's View of Democracy - Essay Example

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Plato's View of Democracy

Many people were wondering how the ideal state could come about. It was argued that it could be a democracy, and this 'idealized world,' could, in name exist. Plato doubted this however. Other people caught onto Plato's ideas about the Greek state quickly. They even adopted them for their own philosophies about the world. In fact, "Jews used Plato's myth [about the demiurge in Timaeus] to imagine how the world could have gotten so out of shape when it was God's wisdom that had planned it." (Mack, 1995) Plato was talking not only about democracy, but about the creation of a polis: "Well, then, said I, is not the city you are founding to be a Greek city" (Hamilton, 2005) Plato insisted that Greeks would run a democratic city in a better fashion than barbarians or non-Greeks, and insisted upon this point with some alacrity.
"They will not, being Greeks, ravage Greek territory nor burn habitations, and they will not admit that in any city all the population are their enemies, men, women, and children, but will say that only a few at any time are their foes, those, namely, who are to blame for the quarrel." (Hamilton, 2005)
Plato insisted that Greeks would not harm their own land if they were to fight for it and, would indeed not pillage the land. "And on all these considerations they will not be willing to lay waste the soil, since the majority are their friends, nor to destroy the houses, but will carry the conflict only to the point of compelling the guilty to do justice by the pressure of the suffering of the innocent." (Hamilton, 2005) Plato considered that it would be an injustice towards Greek countrymen if Greeks were to commit their own savage acts of war on their own country in pursuit of democracy, saying, "if either party...
The Plato's View on Democracy

The problems Plato had with democracy were that: there was a fake quality about this notion, and that in fact in Greece not all men were equipped to become faciliators of the state; men needed an oligarchic state because no man was an island capable of helping himself; and that a society in which there is a hierarchy avoids justice, and includes a state which would dissolve into a tyranny because people would not know what would be the right thing to do.

"While Plato and Aristotle founded their schools, the Academy and the Lyceum, before the beginning of the Hellenistic period, the Epicureans and the Stoics first appeared in the early decades of that period." (Koester, 1995) Plato does have a way of describing events, but he does so in a mentally rigorous process. "When Plato describes the universe [and how ordered a democracy should be], "he does so in almost entirely mythological terms; so too in his many discussions of the nature and destiny of the soul (Phaedo, Gorgias, Phaedrus, Republic, Laws)." (Tarnas, 1991)

In that period, not every man was deemed equal in Plato's eyes. "In the middle period dialogues (Phaedo, Symposium, Republic), Plato set out the character of the ideal society and speculated on the nature of true reality as such. Plato had a very narrow view on democracy, and he can’t be blamed for that seeing as how the people of his time were at times unreliable. ...Show more


Plato found democracy to be a loathsome entity. What democracy meant in Plato's time does not mean the same thing that democracy means for us moderns in today's era. So first, one must define what a democracy was, in Plato's time frame. In Athens at the time Plato lived, democracy meant that the people were solely responsible for the matters of the state…
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Platos View of Democracy essay example
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