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177. Book Review | Plato’s Republic

Plato, one of the best known Greek philosophers, was a student of Socrates and a teacher of Aristotle. He’s notable not only for his tremendous insight into philosophy, but his style as well. Instead of explaining his ideas in a long soliloquy, he used dialogue to teach. For his dialogues, he uses Socrates and what we now know as the Socratic method to extract ideas from his characters. In Plato’s Republic, we take a look at what he thinks the ideal society would be. So, let’s take a look at what Plato has to say about his ideal political situation.

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“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.”

Plato

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Socratic Method

For starters, it’s important to understand how Plato writes, like what I mentioned above. He uses his teacher, Socrates, and a dialogue to extract ideas from his characters. In order to do this, he has to use students of Socrates to ask questions. By doing this, he allows readers to enter into the story and see different points of views answered. Rather than reading a long explanation of an idea, you can see how the ideas clash and follow the tension between them. So, you are pulled in more like a story than a philosophical treatise.

More about Plato’s Republic

What does Plato prescribe for the perfect society? Well, we may not find it ideal based on our modern ideas, but he raises many interesting points about human nature. At the beginning, the characters are discussing morality with Socrates. Questions arise about what morality is and whether or not it is a good thing to be moral. After that, we look at an extended allegory of the perfect society that leads us to an understanding of morality. In this work, he shows that morality is something noble and worth pursuing, and that it is good in and of itself.

Plato and Aristotle talking - Republic by Plato

211. Elitism and Prideful Disdain | A Nasty Story by Fyordor Dostoevsky Conversation of Our Generation

In Dostoevsky's Nasty Story, we follow the dreadful evening of a prideful bureaucrat. The story follows Ivan Ilyich Pralinsky, as he decides to crash his subordinate's wedding reception. His reason for doing so, whether he admits it or not, is his pride. And, that's what I want to discuss today: how elitism leads people to pride and a disdain for "common people." What is Elitism? Basically, elitism is the idea that a group of wealthy, powerful people deserve their wealth and power. Even if the elites are born into it, they still feel deserving. And, if they're deserving, then the common people they look down on did something to be undeserving. So, it turns out to create a sort of social, political, and financial caste system. The problem is, the self-proclaimed elites aren't always deserving of the praise they seek. So, it can go wrong for them. Humbling the Elites In the past, I've reviewed Dostoevsky's work, and discussed the neuroticism of his characters. Ivan Ilyich Pralinsky is no exception. Throughout this story, he has this inner dialogue where he'll be held up as a hero of the people. But, the story doesn't go the way he planned it. In the end, he is humbled terribly and it shows that the higher one holds himself up, the further he can fall. Pralinsky's elitist attitude blinded him from reality just as our elites are today. If you want to read it, you can find it for free here. For more book reviews and discussions like these, check out my library. For more on this, click here for the full episode and show notes to Elitism and Prideful Disdain. Subscribe to my podcast, wherever you listen, here>> — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/support
  1. 211. Elitism and Prideful Disdain | A Nasty Story by Fyordor Dostoevsky
  2. 210. Political Action and the Call to "Do Something"
  3. 209. Breaking the Rules of Philosophy
  4. 208. Failures of Modernity and Rationality
  5. 207. Was Lincoln a Good President?

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