Plato Response

Plato’s Republic, through an argumentative dialogue, paints the picture of a “utopian society” in which justice and structure are of fundamental importance. In the piece, philosophical beliefs are expressed about the ideal society. The main speaker is Socrates; he formally conducts a conversation with with Glaucon (though he is more of a respondent).


One of the most striking pieces of Plato’s Republic begins “Are dogs divided into he’s and she’s, or do they both share equally in hunting and in keeping watch and in other duties of dogs? Or do we entrust to the males the entire and exclusive care of the flocks, while we leave the females at home under the idea that the bearing and suckling their puppies is labour enough for them?” Of all of the arguments in the piece, this seems to be one of the strongest in regards to biological essentialism. In the comparison in the nature of dogs to the nature of human beings, Plato suggests that there are some innate qualities in male and female gender roles. I believe this to be true as well; however, equating dogs and humans is a very loose comparison. Human nature is far more complex; this complexity spawns from our ability to think freely and in a multitude of ways. It also spawns from human emotion; as far as we know, no other form of life has the ability to feel.


Glaucon’s response to the previous statement is “No, he said, they share alike; the only difference between them is that the males are stronger and females are weaker.” This is specifically referential to physical strength. Biologically, a majority of males have a higher muscle mass then females. Yet, this in no way implies that males possess higher intellectual qualities. It is simply that innate qualities differ in males and females; assuming this, men and women have different strengths and weakness.


One thought on “Plato Response

  1. I agree that Sucrates comparision of man and women to dogs is the strongest argument in the writing. However, he ruins the idea of there being no reason to “gender roll” by comparing humans to dogs. That in itself is interesting because to compare a person to a dog is seen as an insult today so by making that comparision he loses credibility from those who are reading because the ideal of being compared to as a dog is unappealing.


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