Plato and individual in society

   9/7/2019                                                 “It takes a tribe to raise a human.”
                                                                                                    ― Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

                                                                              I think Plato was saying this !

                      And in a very Realistic way, as knowing the Family might not be able to properly guide the " Individual";

                                                                   as much as the truth hurt, this is very Real !

                                                                               Thus it takes the Society / tribe 

                 " I think Plato, very Realistically knew the Tribe comes first, when the Tribe does well, the individual can do well " 

                                                                             My problem with Aristotle's idea


            Like Plato, I personally imagine in a Ideal way, though, understand reality, still the " Idea of " is key to evolution

  " I do know Western Civilization has followed Aristotle's ways, much more then Plato's when it should of been a balance of Ideas "

                                                                                            That is Real

                                                             Watch video below, it short and sweet, then ponder it

Yet if one watchs video above, and in Context of Humans being a "Pack Animal " ..Aristotle's idea is Idealism, as Humans can't survive without the Pack !...........A grand Paradox ?

                                                Being Selfish doesn't work in a "Pack of Wolf's ", and Humans are similar

 Also Plato believed "each individual had a "Role ". and that Role could change,if one educated self to change.


Plato and the Individual

  • Authors
  • Robert William Hall

excerpts from above ;

"This study attempts to show a genuine concern for the moral well being of the ordinary individual in Plato's thought. Virtue in a univocal sense is potentially applicable to all men as inherently desirable. After an analysis of the essential elements of Plato's view of the individual, this work displays Plato's thought as a break with the traditional Greek valuation of virtue for its various beneficial consequences rather than for its own sake. The manner in which this break is accomplished is through the depiction in the early dialogues of the inability to construct an adequate utilitarian ethic based on the values and knowledge of techne or art. "

"By building on and modifying the ethical thought of the Phaedo, the Republic and Laws are shown to develop the theory of the individual soul, which in theory and practise results in the ordinary individual's acquiring the full measure of virtue allotted to man. This study suggests the need for reconsideration of the traditional distinction in Plato's thought between the lower, "demotic" morality of the ordinary man and the higher, "true" morality of the philosopher. It establishes the radical and significant conclusion when viewed againstprevlOusPlatonicscholarship, that, insofar as one term in the relationship between individual and polis is prior, it is the individual who is more important. "
"I do not insist on the propriety of terming Plato a holder of individualism, even a latent individualism, for the ancient Greeks had no term for individualism. The term itself is unimportant, although I believe there is a sort of individualism in Plato’s thought. The fundamental concept or principle of individualism is the priority in value or worth of the individual over all else, especially over the social institutions and the state itself. Of course, this does not mean that the individual is completely free to do as he pleases or that he has no obligations to the state. His freedom of action is limited by the right of other individuals to do as they individually desire within the limits of the law. His obligations to the state require from him certain concessions and sacrifices. These are not means for maintaining or increasing the state’s power and authority for its own sake, but rather for ensuring the ability of the individual citizens to fulfill their individuality however it may be understood."

                                                                                                                                                - link.springer.com


Brett V. Benson and Dr. Noel B. Reynolds, Political Science

There is a popular strain of Platonic scholarship that has accused Plato of being imprudently idealistic in his political philosophy. These scholars point to Plato’s Republic as evidence for their criticisms, claiming that in the Republic Plato advocates a social ideal in which the common good is encouraged over the value of the individual. According to these critics, Plato distrusts the ability of the many to manage themselves and, therefore, proposes an ideal city wherein the philosopher elite would direct the choices and actions of the many for the common good. Thus described, Plato’s ideal is nothing short of a totalitarian regime.

The central books of the Republic contain a lengthy discussion between Socrates and his interlocutors that describes a holistic society which manipulates and lies to its citizens, controls access to education, and institutes such repulsive practices as eugenics and infanticide. Even a cursory reading of the actual description of the city discussed in these passages reveals a regime which is indeed radical, inhuman, and totalitarian. However, what is at issue is not whether or not such a city is in fact discussed by Plato’s characters in the Republic, but whether or not Plato himself believed, as his opponents contend, that this city is the “ideal”.

Those who accuse Plato of having totalitarian inclinations read Platonic dialogue straightforwardly. That is, they approach Plato’s elusive dialogues like straight-forward philosophical treatises and regard statements given by Plato’s lead character, usually Socrates, as representative of Plato’s own philosophical position. However, Plato’s dialogues are fraught with internal contradictions. Consequently, in order for their own interpretations of Platonic dialogue to be consistent, Plato’s opponents, by making a straightforward reading of Plato, must assume these contradictions to be logical flaws in Platonic philosophy.

There are two fundamental contradictions that one must grapple with when maintaining that Plato is setting forth a holistic regime in the Republic. The first conflict is that the political philosophy of the Republic and the political philosophy of the other Platonic dialogues seem to be in diametric opposition. This contradiction is sharpened when one considers that the Republic was written in the middle of Plato’s career, and the political dialogues that were written both before and after the Republic can be interpreted to espouse rule of law, a system of rule generally thought of as being antithetic to totalitarianism. That Plato’s earliest and latest dialogues are consistent on the question of rule of law poses a problem to those who ardently cleave to the view, taken solely from the Republic, that Plato is a totalitarian.

The second contradiction occurs between Plato’s political philosophy, as ascribed to him by his opponents, and his moral philosophy. Plato’s opponents contend that Plato’s political philosophy is holistic. That is, whatever is good for the whole is right, regardless of the effect on the individual. If, however, this is indeed the position that Plato is taking in the Republic, it contradicts the individualistic position that seems to be consistently advanced in most of Plato’s dialogues, including the Republic. Plato’s portrayal of Socrates in the dialogues depicts his untiring emphasis on individual virtue. The Socratic model maintains that virtue is knowledge, and rational dialectic brings one to knowledge. One could, perhaps, argue that Plato believed such virtue could be imposed by his ideal government. But, the “ideal” that Plato’s opponents attribute to Plato, the city discussed in the Republic, is a society that completely devalues the individual and, therefore, directly contradicts the view emphasized throughout Plato’s dialogues that the virtue of the individual soul is the highest good.

My project takes an in depth look at the controversy surrounding Plato’s political philosophy. At the beginning of my research I wanted to better understand the positions set forth by Plato’s opponents and evaluate the contradictions brought about by their claims. If Plato’s opponents are correct that Plato is advocating a holistic and totalitarian regime, then either these contradictions must be flaws in Platonic philosophy or they must be reconciled in some other way. But, if Plato is consistent, then my responsibility would be to present a careful interpretation of the Republic that would show both that the holistic regime in the Republic is not intended by Plato to be a depiction of an ideal regime and that Plato’s moral and political philosophy in the Republic is logically consistent with his other dialogues.

After becoming familiar with most of the arguments presented in opposition to Plato, I then began to carefully read Plato’s political dialogues to determine whether or not Plato’s political philosophy is consistently anti-totalitarian. Since many agree that the political dialogues written after the Republic, namely the Statesman and Laws, contain arguments which defend rule of law, I set out to examine the political content of some of the early dialogues. This stage in my research culminated in a paper entitled Plato and the Rule of Law, a paper which won BYU’s 1998 David Yarn Essay Contest and was subsequently published in Aporia, BYU’s undergraduate philosophy journal. In this paper I argue that Plato’s Crito and Apology, both early dialogues, espouse rule of law.

Since it seemed clear to me that both Plato’s early and late political dialogues consistently advance an anti-totalitarian, rule of law position, I then set forward to examine the contents of the Republic itself. Because the view that Plato is advancing a holistic philosophy directly contradicts Plato’s overarching individualistic moral philosophy, it makes sense to look for the possibility that Plato may have included the discussion of the holistic city for reasons consistent with his moral philosophy.

The final version of my paper contends that the inclusion of the discussion of the holistic city is not intended by Plato to be an illustration of his ideal society but is instead a thought experiment insisted upon by Socrates’ interlocutors and entertained by Socrates. By focusing my attention upon the dramatic exchange between Socrates and his interlocutors, mostly Glaucon, it becomes evident that the Republic reveals not an idealistic and totalitarian Plato, but a spoiled and imprudent Glaucon, for it is Glaucon who insists upon the holistic city. Socrates patiently tries to help Glaucon realize how imprudent and irrational the holistic city is. The Republic, then, is primarily Plato’s own attempt to redirect and lead his interlocutors and readers toward individual goodness. Since the holistic city of the Republic is not intended by Plato to be an illustration of his own ideal and since his political dialogues seem to be consistent on the issue of rule of law, Plato is clearly not advocating totalitarianism but instead stands as a wise and prudent political philosopher, an advocate of individual liberty, and one of the first champions of rule of law.


                                 Simone Weil in the Light of Plato's Phaedo 83

                                                                                                                           - maverickphilosopher.typepad.com            

                                          To understand Simone Weil, one must understand her beloved master, Plato.

excerpt from  ;


" The first statement conveys the Platonic conviction that ultimate reality is beyond the world of sense. But Weil goes beyond Plato and deeper into mysticism by holding that the reality beyond the sense world is inaccessible to human faculties. At St. 84, Plato has Socrates say that (intuitive) reason is the faculty whereby we contemplate what is "true and divine and real."

The second statement conveys the Platonic thought that the soul's longing can never satisfied by any sense object.

The third statement suggests a way of arguing that the sense world cannot be ultimate: if we take it to be such we land among insoluble aporiai

William F. Vallicella


Plato's morality is: Do not make the worst possible mistake of deceiving yourself. We know that we are acting correctly when the power of thinking is not hindered by what we are doing. To do only those things which one can think clearly, and not to do those things which force the mind to have unclear thoughts about what one is doing. That is the whole of Plato's morality.

True morality is purely internal.


                                                              Simone Weil's views on Plato

                                     "To understand Simone Weil, one must understand her beloved master, Plato."