Response to Plato’s Repbulic

In this excerpt from Plato’s Republic, Socrates describes to Glaucon a new utopia. He began by addressing men and women as equals. That, despite the fact that they have “different natures” each of the sexes should be allowed to receive an education and take on a guardian role. He even said, “our guardians and their wives ought to have the same pursuits.” He goes on to discuss that the sexes are equal in the fact that different individuals have different strengths and weaknesses. I thoroughly enjoyed the part where Socrates mentions that woman should be allowed to join the war, and if a man were to laugh at her, he would be, “plucking ‘A fruit of unripe wisdom.’” Meaning that the man would be ignorant to the fact that women are just as capable.  

However a part that I did not agree with Socrates on was the argument that those of the “same nature” should always be paired together and that in order to keep the breed of the guardians pure, the offspring of the “inferiors” will be “put away in some mysterious, unknown place, as they should be.” I think that this notion is extremely unjust and straight up awful. Who gets to determine which members of the society are deemed inferior? In the beginning of this excerpt, Socrates had validity in his ideas of equality of the sexes, and in debunking the myth that women are inferior to men. However, towards the end of what he describes as an utopia, there is much control over the citizens and how they live their lives. From the people they marry, to the age they can bear children, to what offspring are allowed to survive.

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4 thoughts on “Response to Plato’s Repbulic

  1. I completely agree with you when Socrates said that those of the “same nature” should always be paired together and that in order to keep the breed of the guardians pure, the offspring of the “inferiors” will be “put away in some mysterious, unknown place, as they should be.”
    Normally, opposites attract, if you put two of the same people paired together your going to get nothing different or diverse. No one would think abstract or have great intelligence. Also, who gets to say that ” this person belongs with this person” that defeats the whole purpose of true” love” or true friendship.

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  2. I think you make a good point where you explain how Plato’s Utopia might not be as ideal as he intended it to be. Even though he is talking about gender equality among the citizens, for his own reasons, at the end this freedom and equality loses its meaning. How can one be considered equal among his or her people if their life is thoroughly controlled? This Democracy that Plato is fighting for is lost among the lines.
    Furthermore, I agree how you pointed out Plato’s tendency to essentialism and his dedication to create these so called “talented” people, excluding them from all others. In this way it seems like these people would slowly be dehumanized as their social circle would decrease more and more.

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  3. I also disagreed with the concept of those of the same nature should be paired together. A main way a society functions is due to its diversity. Since each person holds different personalities from one another, they are able to share different ideas and thoughts. This concept allows society to not only be more diverse, but also be more creative.

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  4. I very much agree with your argument that “being paired by nature” is unjust. Human nature is so complex; there is no way to determine a person’s “true nature” because we are all so multifaceted. Also, who has the power to determine which individuals are best suited for each other? This is a very imbalanced level of power that seems very dystopian.

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