Plato by R. M. Hare

By R. M. Hare

The earliest thinker whose paintings has survived largely, Plato is still the starting-point within the learn of common sense, metaphysics, and ethical and political philosophy. R.M. Hare offers a concise, well-connected creation to Plato's dialogues, concentrating on the critical difficulties which led Plato to turn into a thinker. He describes those difficulties and Plato's strategies with nice readability, and units them within the context of Plato's existence and instances, and his position within the background of philosophy.

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Being neither pleasureseeking nor ambitious, the true philosopher, alone qualified to rule through his knowledge of the Good, can leave the pursuit of material pleasures to the lower orders. Hardly any detail is given in the Republic of how the government of the ideal state is actually to be carried on. In particular, the relation of the rulers to the laws remains somewhat obscure. In the Crito, an early work, Socrates is made to enjoin and himself exemplify a highly reverential attitude to law; although he has been unjustly condemned to death, it would be wrong for him to break the laws by fleeing into exile, because the laws could then accuse him of going back on a compact with them from which he had benefited in the past (50).

More typically he gives to reason itself a motivative power, claiming, as in a passage already quoted, that merely to know the Good is automatically to be attracted by it, so that the same faculty of reason fulfils both the cognitive and the motivative roles. In the same way, in the Politicus, the body of the king has small strength; he manages to govern because of the understanding and power of his soul or mind (259c). Whether this is a possible solution depends on whether there could be such a thing as 'Plato thought the Good to be.

But it is obvious that in the Republic, in his primary education, Plato is consciously taking over, with modifications, the traditional Greek education in 'music and gymnastic' such as any well-born. Greek boy could expect to receive, and such as Socrates says in the Crito that he himself received when young (50e). -48This old education did not mix very well with the new education offered by the sophists. The old education aimed primarily at training the character, the new the intellect. A person who was successfully educated in the old way at its best would have the virtues which had made Athens what she was: the virtues extolled by the 'Right Argument' in Aristophanes' Clouds.

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