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The development of the utopia of mankind in platos republic

Contact Author Socrates' Utopia As mentioned in my analysis of piety in Plato's Euthyphrothe Greek philosophers Plato and Socrates are oftentimes imperceptibly interchangeable in their contribution to philosophical theory. In the dialogue, Socrates is given the task of creating the perfect city. In order to succeed in creating the perfect city, Plato, speaking through Socrates, develops his ideas on several different levels of thought.

Since a perfect city would be run by a perfectly developed society, Socrates first analyzes the class divisions of the populace. As Socrates sees it, the perfect city would have its citizens divided into two separate groups, of which, the first group would be further subdivided within itself.

Source Plato's Three Classes: Guardians, Auxiliaries, and Craftsmen The first group is called the guardians, who are sometimes referred to as rulers or philosopher-kings. The guardians are the military of the city. They must epitomize physical strength, spiritedness, and a love for learning. As Socrates further speculates upon the guardians, he then decides that they should be broken into subcategories themselves: Complete guardians will be most knowledgeable; they will see to the development of the utopia of mankind in platos republic good of the city before they see to themselves, because, essentially, they are the foundation of the city.

Finally, Socrates states that the third class will be the farmers and craftsmen. This final class is not a shameful position in society. These people will be nearly as important to the city as the rest of the classes, for if there was no one to grow food or develop material goods, the rest of the city would surely fall like a tripod missing a leg. Socrates' Single, Noble Lie Next, Socrates realizes that the division of class in this manner may be upsetting to some. He does not want the citizens to feel as though they the development of the utopia of mankind in platos republic being lumped into a wrong or unfair category.

So, in order to avoid such chaos, Socrates brilliantly devises a single, noble lie. This lie will be for the betterment of the city; it is a lie that will result in good rather than evil: Depending on whichever metal god gave you, that is your true place in society; it is honorable and one must do their duty to their fullest potential. Furthermore, to go against this decision would be to go against god himself.

In order to get the citizens to fully believe this fabrication, Socrates says he will persuade the people to believe their education and upbringing was merely a dream or figment of their imagination. Like a dream, the people imagined and were deceived into thinking they had a family and upbringing aside from their true origins. In fact, the people have no real nuclear family; all people were conceived in the womb of Mother Earth and birthed directly into the city, which is their one and only true home.

In order to justify the fact that what he will be doing is telling a lie to an entire population which will persist through numerous generations, Socrates juxtaposes his lie with the many poetic fabrications of the past.

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It seems as though Socrates has efficiently developed a lie that produces good instead of evil. If the people no longer believe they are part of different families, backgrounds, or classes, they will all become one single family. As one family, the citizens will see the city as their home and their birthmother; they were not produced from a woman, instead it was the city which has created them. By saying this, Socrates means that a shoemaker is best fit to make shoes and a farmer does his job best when producing food.

Plato's Three Classes: Guardians, Auxiliaries, and Craftsmen

The ultimate goal, then, is to have each citizen imitating a job, beginning at childhood, which is in direct accordance with their innate soul metal. By having each citizen do a single job to the best of their ability, the city will begin to work like a single organism. Each person will be driven to do their job so that others may profit from them, and themselves from others.

Analyzing Plato

The city will work like a unit, the good of the city will be the good of the individual, and whenever an individual deviates from their place in society, they will be shamed because they are going against their brethren and against god who placed the metal for their class within their souls.

Source Plato's Utopia In conclusion, it seems that Plato, as Socrates, has developed a solid foundation for the society within his perfect city.

  • The rulers are bound to make mistakes in assigning people jobs suited to their natural capacities and each of the classes will begin to be mixed with people who are not naturally suited for the tasks relevant to each class 546e;
  • But if the goal is to dissolve the family group, how can the reproduction of the members of the ruling class be ensured?

Although the populace will be lied to, it is a good lie which produces profitable results. By telling each citizen they have a specific metal in their soul that determines their status within society, Plato has strategically developed a way to have people fully satisfied with their roles in life. In the end, the city seems to be working as a single unit; each person profiting from the other.

While this approach may not work in the modern world, it is an interesting route for such a wise philosopher to take and is worth taking the time to consider and analyze closely.

Is there a better way to conduct civilization?


The question remains for us to think about. Until then, utopias remain more of a philosophy than fact. Do you think Socrates' single, noble lie is a necessary choice for the greater good of society? Yes, society is already founded on myths. This one, noble lie is the least of society's problems. No, it is unethical to cause entire generations to exist based on the premise of a false belief.