prison dwelling

"The realm exposed through sight should be likened to the prison dwelling, and the light of the fire inside it to the sun's strength. And, if you think of the upward journey and seeing things above as the soul's upward journey to the intelligible realm, you won't misunderstand my intention...' 517a (Plato, The Republic)
Plato's concept of ""knowledge"" appears to involve the apparent paradox that ideas are reality (hence ""the Good"" is ""the brightest of realities"), but what does this have to do with politics?
Plato's ideas on education and knowledge are intertwined with practically all of his other works, including politics. In his work "The Republic", he tries to make his readers understand knowledge and education from a political and ethical consideration context in what he regards as his ideal state that everyone is entitled to good life and happiness. Plato's education and knowledge views come out theoretically and philosophical and these ideas play a significant role considering the manner in which they are applied to curriculum and schooling in Republic.
However, his conception of knowledge can be looked and from different perspectives. He addresses the concept of knowledge and education from a general perspective and in this sense, argues that knowledge serves as the main responsibility of the state now that it plays a significant role in providing a real art of politics and science. He addresses the conceptual, conceptual, and impracticable of knowledge and education. Education forms a basic part of the utopian state of Plato within which the rule of philosophers exists. Within these laws, Plato looks at practical law codes for his definition of a state.
This way, he justifies the exercise and concentration of power for people who have been endowed with knowledge in political governance. Plato describes his political philosophy idea, which he basically describes in the book as ruled by kings who exercised absolute power over their subjects. Their authority was seen to mainly come from their justice comprehension, from which they base on when coming up with political judgments on behalf of the states.
Plato also introduces a practical political philosophy in which he states that the absolute rule by the kings is in most cases undermined by the impure political knowledge character. Based on this philosophy, Plato argues that in the case of a mixed governance fusing theory, the monarchy institution with democracy should be the best practical city-state (Plato 512). He finds out that the insuperable challenges of this political thought and hence instead settles for a more practical political philosophy that is based on well-informed rulers.
A political Philosopher
Plato is regarded as one of the most influential and greatest philosophers to ever lived. This applies to his political philosophy and it is viewed as the easiest political view to comprehend. Together with other great figures, the political theory by Plato forms part of his general philosophical system as well as shaped his political and social circumstances profoundly and this is evident in most of his works. His political experience is regarded as one of general decline and delay (Plato 510)
In Plato's view, the basic function that was inculcating within moral values in the societies was the traditional polis and it was under attack from forces of individualism, democracy, and imperialism. In all his works, including "The Republic", Plato is seen to defend traditional polis and insisted on the need to seek knowledge virtues and values of justice instead of reputation and wealth. "The Republic" invokes the setting of political theory to the readers, as well as what it implies to the consideration of reality, truth, and justice.
The Just City
The essence of the political theory by Plato is presented to the reader in a straightforward manner. The aim of Plato introducing the idea of having a just city was to make the people who resided in the cities to be as virtuous as possible and this away from anything possible would be done to accomplish this. This resulted in an environment that was controlled where all the resources within the city tended to be devoted to virtue inculcation. In order to achieve this, Plato insists that the rulers and the residents have to be well-educated and have the required knowledge. This means that he suggested that the primary institution in such cities had to be the education system.
In this context, it was the rest of the institutions such as the famous communism system by Plato, that was meant to offer a conducive environment in which the education-related tasks were carried on successfully. The just city was made up of three classes which included the farmers, auxiliaries, and rulers. What underlined the city structure, as well as its educational function, were the two main psychological assumptions.
Initially, Plato believed that people were mainly malleable, and this meant that they were largely impacted by the environment in which they are brought up in and this meant that they were likely to be made virtuous in the event that they grew up in a city that was poorly governed. The other philosophical assumption was that of limits malleability. In this assumption, Plato states that there exist innate differences between humans that are fundamental and that there are three types of people depending on their souls including bronze, silver, and gold (Plato 415).
The different kinds of souls make people have different abilities to achieve virtue. Despite the fact that the design of the just city was in such a way that it was meant to raise people who had the highest levels of virtue in relation to their respective abilities, the outcome was different classes of people with different virtue levels. Plato believed that the arts were one of the most effective ways that could be used among children to instill harmony and balance, and this way, children grow up ready for true mortal principles at a later stage when they were ready to understand them.
According to Plato, following intensive, lifelong education, people are raised to the highest possible virtue levels. However, following the inherent inabilities of most people, it is expected that people coming from the lower classes to be subordinate to their rulers and Plato even describes them as slaves (Plato 590). The major institutions in the just city are meant to facilitate knowledge and education. Plato argued that he preferred that the city was ruled by philosophers and not kings.
He claimed that it was not possible to have a just city until you join philosophic knowledge and political power. The claim of philosophers to rule is based on their apprehension of the moral standards that are perfect existing outside the extraordinary world and are seen as the only things that are real. It is such divine knowledge that orients the desires of philosophers away from the normal desires of the world in that they can be trusted to be good rulers. The nature of the knowledge of the philosophers have been illustrated by Plato in three famous images that include "the divided line", the "the form of the Good as the sun" and the "Cave" (Plato 580)
The other just city institution that remains distinctive according to Plato is the manner in which the communism and women are treated. He argues that the existing differences related to gender should not be part of the ruling. Plato is regarded as a pioneer when it comes to the history of the equality of women and he insisted that women who had the knowledge and qualified to rule should be given a chance.
Philosophers are regarded as the best rulers now that to some level, they are normally forced to put aside their personal desires. Despite the fact that they normally preferred to concentrate on their studies, they have to serve people as rulers, and this is not for their personal benefits but for the fellow citizens. Plato insists that any city will be in a position to prosper only in the event that its ruler unwillingly rules it now that he does not need to profit from the ruling (Plato 598).
In addition, Plato states that living in an environment that is secure, away from the normal scares of life, and honored by their fellow subjects, the rulers will be happy with their work. This according to Plato is his definition of the sketch of an ideal city. However, many scholars criticized this position insisting that it is not possible to find such a city in the current society and that it can only exist in theory. Plato defended this position by suggesting that it does not really matter if such a city is ever realized (Plato 592). Some scholars even stated that in his argument, Plato was out to demonstrate that it was impossible to have an ideal city that the ruler is not well educated and that knowledge is the reality, the brightest of realities (Plato, 517)
Whether or not the justice city can be realized, "The Republic" forms the basis of the critique Plato tabled of the Athenian democracy. In applying the common parable of the ship of state, the majority had no respect for the people who really had the knowledge to navigate the ship and they regarded them as being old, and went ahead to turn over the ship's control to charlatans who had pretended to have the knowledge that was required to navigate the ship (Plato 525)
In the same context, Plato also states that the mob can be easily misled and that is always emotional. The Sophists in the book are compared to the trainers of animals are have acquired the knowledge of managing the beast that unruly of the mob. Basing on the above examples as related to his idea of knowledge and ruling, Plato introduces a wonderful democracy sketch and goes ahead to criticize democracy following the manner in which it treated unequals as being alike. This position applied for the young and old, women and men, slaves and masters (Plato 562).
The basis of the critique that Plato had of democracy is how it believed in objectives values in which only a few people had the ability to know. According to Plato, it is wrong to simply follow other values, and hence the knowledge of the few need to come before the wishes of the mob. As a result, on top of educative institutions that are responsible for making many people as virtuous as possible, a higher education system is meant to create a political experts class. Now that there are established means that are meant to train experts in the various areas that are often discussed by the Socrates in the early dialogues, Plato comes up with a description of such a system meant to train philosophers in future.
The Cave image also demonstrates the central orientation of the political philosophy employed by Plato (Plato 514). The cave prisoners are bound in such a manner that they are only in a position to see shadows passing on a wall before them and they are content for ascendancy in this shadow world. In the event that they escape and view the real world outside the cave, they would likely despise their situation while they were still in the cave (Plato 514).
However, when a freed prisoner from the cave goes back to the cave in an effort to free the rest of the prisoners, he gets disoriented by getting back to the darkness. He becomes foolish before his former colleagues who end up resisting his efforts and opt to kill him if they had the chance. Now that the prisoners live in a world that is not really that can enable them to gain values and knowledge, they have to move beyond their appearances and they can only achieve that by moving out of the cave.
This position is a good demonstration of reality where people completely deny the legitimacy of the desires of the ordinary people, and of the life's appetitive that Plato considers with contempt. The same way knowledge stands out as being the reality in that in order for people to be freed from the bondage of appetite people, they have to be educated in a state that is properly run.
To demonstrate that knowledge is the brightest ideas of reality, Plato demonstrates how a city that lacks such leadership looks like. Plato discusses more about community of family as compared to community of property in the book. In this context, he demonstrates the way the Guardians resides in permanent barrack existence that appeared like a camp of soldiers and has a common mess.
They were permitted to only have their weapons with them, they were forbidden to have silver and gold, and also did not have storerooms and houses where for any member who wished was not free to get into too. The land of the city was under the ownership of the lowest class members, while at the same time the Guardians were sustained by taxing the lower class and served as a salary for the role of protecting them.
In the city that is described by Plato, the main means of production is land and was owned by people from the lower class.
This brought out the sense of communism mode of leadership in the city, now that the guardians were seen to live communally and no individual guardian possessed property. However, this was a community of poverty and not a community of property. Looking at the two setups, the just city appears to be constructed cleverly so as to meet the needs of every class. This is considered as the temperance virtue that allows each class to choose where it stays and hence allowing the city to always remain just.
In "The Republic" Plato presents to the readers the way the Socrates developed the position of justice and how it was related to happiness. One thing that stood out in his narration is how in order for a society to be happy, the ruler had to be well equipped with knowledge. To defend this position, Plato offers a unified argument as he defends his position of the just life and how it necessarily related to a happy life. Basing on the dialogue in the book, two main questions stand out. The first question is what justice is and he addresses this question in relation to individual person terms and political communities. The other question was the relationship that existed between justice and happiness.
By referring to the two questions, the philosophical concerns of Plato are political and ethical. He comes up with his definition a just city which to him is what can make people living in the city happy. Plato insists that in order to have such a city, it has to be ruled by philosophers and not kings now that philosophers have the required knowledge to come up with a just city as they do not have their interests at heart but those of their subjects.
According to Plato, education system institutions form the basis of coming up with a just city hence a happy life. The book is centered on the basic political question of justice and Plato explores several political issues questioning the best and at the same time, practical types of government, the scope and significance of political science and political knowledge, and the right ways of evaluating the type of government like democracy, communism, and oligarchy.

Works Cited
Plato, "Crito," in The Trial and Death of Socrates, trans. G.M.A. Grube, rev. John M. Cooper, 3rd edn. (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2001).
Plato, Republic (ca. 380 BCE), trans. C.D.C. Reeve, rev. John M. Cooper, 2nd edn. (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2004)

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