The Republic

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The Republic Plato was born around the year 428 BCE into an established Athenian household with a history of political connections -- including distant relations to both Solon and Pisistratus. Plato's parents were Ariston and Perictone, his older brothers were Adeimantus and Glaucon, and his younger sister was Potone. In keeping with his family heritage, Plato was destined for the political life. But the Peloponnesian War, which began a couple of years before he was born and continued until well after he was twenty, led to the decline of the Athenian Empire. The war was followed by religious movement that led to the execution of Plato's mentor, Socrates. Together these events forever altered the course of Plato's life. Plato studied in many forms of poetry as a young man, only later turning to philosophy. Aristotle tells us that sometime during Plato's youth the philosopher-to-be became acquainted with the doctrines of Cratylus, a student of Heraclitus, who, along with other Presocratic thinkers such as Pythagoras and Parmenides, provided Plato with the basis of his teachings. Upon meeting Socrates, however, Plato directed his thoughts toward the question of virtue. The formation of a noble character was to be before all else. Indeed, it is a mark of Plato's brilliance that he was to find in metaphysics and epistemology a host of moral and political implications. How we think and what we take to be real have an important role in how we act. Thus, Plato came to believe that a philosophical approach toward life would lead one to being just and, ultimately, happy. It is difficult to determine the precise chain of events that led Plato to the intricate web of beliefs that unify metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and politics... ... middle of paper ... ...lato describes injustice as: " strife which rises up against the three principles, it is like a rising up of the soul against the whole, an assertion of unlawful authority, which is made by a rebellious subject against a true prince." Another teaching is that the soul cannot be satisfied with the material goods of the world, but it needs just acts to feel "whole" or complete. This is also something the church teaches, nothing can take the place of God in your life, you won't feel whole unless you fill the void in your soul with faith and not the material things. According to Plato, justice is the beauty and well being of the soul and vice the disease and weakness of the soul, this is very similar to the teaching that sin is tainted on the soul, something like a virus or a smudge on a mirror. If we act justly we can strengthen our soul to ward off temptation.

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