Plato and Democracy Term Paper by BAHistory

Plato and Democracy
An analysis of the justification of Plato's criticisms of democracy.
# 96872 | 1,543 words | 11 sources | MLA | 2006 | GB

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This paper describes Plato's criticisms of democracy, from the role of the forms in his metaphysical reasons for his dislike of Athenian democracy, to the concept of role allocation, which stemmed from this and the division of society into 3 classes of peoples - artisans, auxiliaries and philosopher kings. Plato's understanding of what democracy meant to him is examined in order to establish the parameters for the paper. Many examples and quotes are used throughout, which come from such sources as the Declaration of Independence. Representative democracy is also discussed as well as an alternative to Athenian democracy. Oligarchy, timocracy and aristocracy are also touched upon.

From the Paper:

"The first of Plato's criticisms of democracy concerns itself with what is commonly referred to as the concept of role allocation. Plato advanced the idea that the best society would be one where the society was divided into three classes; workers (Artisans), soldiers (Auxiliaries) and rulers (Guardians). He based this argument upon his notion of human nature that stated that "no two of us are born exactly alike and that we have different natural aptitudes that fit us for different jobs" . He advocated that the guardians were the wisest and most logical individuals in society and so were able to make informed, objective decisions (based on the theory of the forms)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Francis MacDonald Cornford, The Republic of Plato, (Oxford University Press, 1941)
  • Plato, The Seventh Letter, Translated by J. Harward
  • Plato, The Republic, Translated by Demond Lee, (Penguin Books Ltd, 1970)
  • Aristotle, Politics, Translated by R.F. Stalley and Ernest Barker, (Oxford University Press, 1998)
  • Peri Roberts and Peter Sutch, An Introduction to Political Thought, A conceptual Toolkit, (Edinburgh University Press, 2004)

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