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Original Author (Copyright Owner):

OKECHUKWU DANIEL CHIDIEBERE

3,000.00

The Project File Details

  • Name: THE EPISTEMOLOGY OF PLATO’S CONCEPTION OF IDEAL STATE
  • Type: PDF and MS Word (DOC)
  • Size: [194 KB]
  • Length: [88] Pages

 

ABSTRACT

Plato introduced his ideal state to salvage bad governance that could
spring up from bad leaders. He classified the citizens of his Republic
into three categories; Guardian (Rulers), Auxiliaries (Military) and the
Artisans (Farmers). He apportioned duties for each of the three classes
and conditions that make one a member of either of the classes. He
defined duties for both the sate and individuals that make up the state
and introduced Justice as a means of assuring peace in the state, which
is by the principle of one minding his duties without interfering with
others. The individuals owe the state a duty of obedience, while the
state on the other hand owes the individuals a duty of security and
provisions of other amenities. Finally, Plato’s ideal state is a pace
setter for all generations and has made a whole lot of positive impact
which prevails over his mistakes throughout the history of political
Philosophy.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TITLE PAGE…………………………………………………….. I
APPROVAL PAGE…………………………………………….. .II
CERTIFICATION PAGE……………………………………… III
DEDICATION……………………………………………………. IV
AKNOWLEDGEMENT………………………………………….. V
ABSTRACT………………………………………………………… VI

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY ……………………………. 1
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM …………………………… 3
1.3 SCOPE OF THE STUDY ……………………………………….. 4
1.4 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY ……………………………………. 5
1.5 SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY ……………………………… 7
1.6 METHODOLOGY ………………………………………………… 8
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS ……………………………………… 9
1.7.1 EPISTEMOLOGY ………………………………………. 9
1.7.2 STATE …………………………………………………… 9
VIII
REFERENCES ……………………………………………………………… 11

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW ………………. 12
REFERENCES …………………………………………………………….. 21

CHAPTER THREE: PLATO’S CONCEPTION OF THE
IDEAL STATE
3.1 THE NOTION OF THE INDIVIDUALS ……………………. 26
3.2 THE CLASSIFICATION OF INDIVIDUALS ………………. 29
3.3 GUARDIANS ………………………………………………………. 30
3.3.1 PHILOSOPHER KING ………………………………………….. 34
3.4 AUXILLARIES …………………………………………………….. 41
3.5 ARTISANS …………………………………………………………. 43
REFERENCES …………………………………………………………….. 45

CHAPTER FOUR: OBLIGATIONS IN THE STATE
4.1 THE USE OF JUSTICE FOR HARMONY ………………….. 48
4.2 INDIVIDUAL’S OBLIGATION FOR THE STATE ……….. 52
4.3 STATE’S OBLIGATION FOR THE INDIVIDUALS ……… 55
IX
REFERENCES …………………………………………………………….. 60

CHAPTER FIVE: EVALUATION/CONCLUSION
5.1 EVALUATION ……………………………………………………. 62
5.2 CONCLUSION ……………………………………………………. 69
REFERENCES …………………………………………………………….. 75
BIBLIOGRAPHY ………………………………………………………….. 76

CHAPTER ONE

BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Plato was born in 427B.C. at Athens; he was born into a
distinguished and wealthy family; his birth, took place some
few years after the out break of the Peloponnesian war. This
war lasted until he was twenty three years old. This is to say
that his experience with this war, made impact toward his
ability to sharpen his thought on the relationship between the
individuals and the state.

More so, Plato’s analysis on the relationship between the
individuals and the state was also influenced and sharpened
through the political connection of Plato’s family. He had a link
with Pericle whose political influence, dominated Athens for a
period of about thirty years. Pericle was a democrat to the core
and he died at the early state of the war in 427BC. After the
death of Pericle, some radical democrats came up and used
more ruthlessly, the element of force in the Athenian
confederation. According to Plato, “they were ready to act on
the belief which Thracymachus expresses that it is natural and
2
sensible to exploit the weak”! This was an ugly experience for
Plato, between the agency of the state and the individuals.
These radical democrats had all their powers depended on their
ability to sway and win the popular support through rhetoric.
Their policies depend on popular acclamation rather than what
the situation demanded. It was in their hand that Athenian state
got humiliated and defeated, due to their inability to do what
the mind of the individuals.

After the final fall of Athens, then came on Oligarchic
revolution and commission of thirty was set up. Though, they
started on a good note, purging the city of perpetuators of evil
and later the resorted to savage tyranny. Their tyranny lasted for
only eight months and they were divided out and subsequently
killed. So the ugly democratic but tyrannical political
dispensation and the outbreak in the political scene of Athens
contributed in no small measure, to the Platonic idea of what
the relationship between the state and the individuals ought to
be, the measure to ensure peace and avoid tyrannical leaders.

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1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Right from the ancient days, philosophers are faced with the
problem of what the relationship between the individual and the
state would be and the structure of the society where the
individuals live. On this quest, Aristotle voted earlier that “man
is by nature a political animal and thereby needs the existence
of others in the society (state) for his survival”2 Most is political
scholars till date are still faced with this unique problem of
what nature, form or kind of state that will be the best
organization to enable man to live a good life, which is what
man cherishes best. The kind of principle, which will best guide
the relationship that exists between the individuals, is part of
the existing problem facing political philosophers.

Since the individuals according to John Locke, Jean Jacques
Rousseau and Thomas Hobbes gave up their right of self and
independence governing of them selves to the sovereign state,
which gave rise to the civil society. What then are the
expectations of the individuals from this civil state that they
have formed, by given up their rights of self and independence
4
governance, which is the political obligation of the sovereign
state? What also is expected from these individuals in a civil
society, so as to sustain peace and harmony and to make this
state, what they want of it is also another basic problem facing
all political scholars.

1.3 SCOPE OF STUDY
Plato dealt with numerous topics in his various works. But this
research work is narrowed down to his conception of the
motion of the state and notion of the individuals: What the
relationship between the individuals and the state is in the
Plato’s ideal state. Plato’s three categories of the individuals
and the principle that shall be applied in his ideal state so as to
maintain peace and harmony among the individuals and classes
that make up the state. Also are the respective political
obligations of the individuals for the sovereign state and
political obligations of the sovereign state for the individuals
that formed the sovereign state.

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1.4 Purpose of the study
Politics has been denoted as one of the most interesting
endeavors through all the epoch. The reason for this, been that
it concerns man and how he relates with his follow man in a
community or groups. This derives from the fact that man as a
person is dignified and ennobles as a being and as a result must
be treated as such.

However, the purpose of this work; about the ideal state in the
political philosophy of Plato, is to view the Platonic conception
as it presents enough materials for learned research into the
ways of improving man’s life in the society.2 Plato conceived
government in general to be fundamentally based on
competence, that is why he tried to introduce hiss ideal state so
as to replace the general conception of governance that involves
ruling the people through a democratically elected leaders and
which he called the rule of the mob. He went as far as
suggesting his ideal state as a veritable replacement for
democratic society. This is where the philosopher king will
always be at the realm of affairs.
6

Furthermore, the general purpose of this work is to explore the
element of Platonic conception of his ideal state and how it
poised to be credible alternative to any system of government
and equally on how the Platonic conception of ideal state can be
relevant to the improvement of lives.

Moreover, this ideal state contains some comprehensive
department of Philosophy very relevant to the improvement of
life in society, such as Ethics, Philosophical Theology and
Psychology. For Plato, ethics, politics and education are all one
and constitute a positive branch of knowledge. Plato believed
that the peace of a society depends on the good character of its
citizens. This research for the ideal state, lays much emphasis
on the righteousness of the individuals, this is why the
philosophical logics of the republic might as well be the
Socratic used dictum that an unexamined life is not worth
living3. this introduces a notable point that even though the
ideal state is an aspect of Plato’s philosophy, it is remarkable to
bear in mind that for him the ideal state is not so much a form
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of government in the political sense; rather it is the form of the
character of the people who live in it.

More so, for Plato, there is no distinction between knowledge
and practice, between right conduct and self-fulfillment,
between the needs of the individual and that of the society.
Even though Plato knew that in human affair, the idea is not
practicable, but he hoped that societies could come very near to
this form of community; the ideal type that he referred to in the
dialogue.

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this research stems from the fact that not
only does the work give a substantive and uncomplicated
treatment of the major political ideas of a substantive of Plato
as they concern the ideal state, but also, more importantly; it
provides an application of the relevant themes and perspectives
of these theories to the specific situation in the third word.

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1.6 METHODOLOGY
In the bid to carry out a successful research work, the researcher
extensively used available materials, sourced for information on
the internet and read books with similar thematic frame of
reference after which the comparative analysis of these work
was made.

Secondly, materials such as journals, periodicals etc were
subsequently made use of. Finally as somebody who has been
in the society and watched the society undergo and experience
some kinds of political inequality, to some extent the researcher
laid down what he has observed. Thus the method is
hermeneutical for it is more of interpretations.

Also, this research work is to be divided into five chapters.
 Chapter one will be on general introduction, statement of the
problem, purpose of the research work and definition of terms
used in this research work.
 Chapter two, shall constitute of the literature review.
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 Chapter three will be an analysis of the Plato’s conception of
the ideal, which deals more on the relationship between the
individuals and the sovereign state.
 Chapter four comprises of the political obligations in the civil
state, and
 Chapter five will be a critical evaluation and conclusion of this
research work.

1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
1.7.1 EPISTEMOLOGY
Epistemology is derived from a Greek word “episteme”, which
means “knowledge”! and is a branch of philosophy concerned with
the nature and scope (limitation) of knowledge. And it is also “not
only the study of knowledge, but it is associated with a justified
belief”3.

1.7.2 STATE
A state is defined as “a country considered as an organized
political community controlled by one government”. This signifies
that a state is the political organization of a country with its
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sovereignty limited to her geographical territory, free from any
external control.

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