Reference no: EM13209810
1. One criticism that has frequently been directed at Plato's theory of justice and the ideal state is that true justice is only attainable for a select few. The fact that lies have to be used by the rulers to maintain compliance and acceptance of the order of the city reveals that it is really unjust at heart. How do you think Plato would respond to this criticism?
2. Because it is organized "with an eye to the Forms", and ruled by philosophers who understand these truths, Plato's best state is a harmonious whole in which all citizens fulfill the function for which they are best suited. Given the stability and "rightness" of this ideal state, why does Plato seem to assume it will degenerate (from aristocracy, to timocracy, to oligarchy, and so on)?
3. In Book V of the Republic, Plato argues that (some) women are capable of becoming Philosopher-Guardians, just as (some) men are. Given his frequent observations that women are in general inferior to men, why do you think Plato makes this argument? Do think it is consistent with his theory of virtue?
4. In the Apology, Socrates uses the elenchus in the manner of a "gadfly," to stir his fellow citizens out of their complacency and to get them to think seriously about the moral order. However, he is also defending the traditional moral virtues, in both word and action. Indeed, his reasoning for upholding the laws of Athens in the Crito is articulated on the grounds of conventional Greek morality. Is Socrates a radical or a conservative? Or both?
5. Plato, like Thrasymachus, appeals to Nature or "reality" to criticize the social conventions and practices of his time. Yet his conclusions about what is and what ought to be are radically different from those of Thrasymachus and other radical Sophists. Explain these similarities and differences. Do you think Plato succeeds in responding to the challenge to traditional morality presented by the Sophists?
6. In the Apology, Plato (through Socrates) seems to be saying that true virtue has, or should have, nothing to do with politics. Yet in the Republic, he concludes that people with true (philosophic) virtue should have absolute power in the polis. Do you think Plato's argument that knowledge and (political) power must be joined contradicts his earlier arguments about politics?