Important: If you reached this web page via a link, other than to the Home page, you must go to the Home page to acknowledge the rules of the domain.
Plato, 2007c. The Republic [357 BC, Translated by Desmond Lee], 2nd edition. England, London: Penguin
8 December 2011
Page 45: 360a
Socrates discusses with Glaucon and Adeimantus the reasons for justice and injustice. Glaucon made the following statement before Socrates answered him with reference to the formation of a society wherein different people group together their individual attributes to have a better combined living than a living a single person can have when not part of a group.
" 'So much for that. Finally, we come to the decision between the two lives, and we shall only be able to make this decision if we contrast extreme examples of just and unjust men. By that I mean if we make each of them the perfect of his own line, and do not in any way mitigate the injustice of the one or the justice of the other. To begin with the unjust man. He must operate like a skilled professional – for example, a top-class pilot [There was no pilots at the time. The editor is a pilot] or doctor, who know just what they can or can't do, never attempt the impossible, and are able to retrieve any errors they make. The unjust man must, similarly, if he is to be thoroughly unjust, be able to avoid detection in his wrongdoing; for the man who is found out must be reckoned a poor specimen, and the most accomplished form of injustice is to seem just when you are not. So our perfectly unjust man must be perfect in his wickedness; he must be able to commit the greatest crimes perfectly and at the same time get himself a reputation for the highest probity, while, if he makes a mistake he must be able to retrieve it, and, if any of his wrongdoing comes to light, be ready with a convincing defence, or when force is needed be prepared to use force, relying on his own courage and energy or making use of his friends or his wealth.
picture of the unjust man let us set one of the just man, the man of
true simplicity of character who, as Aeschylus says, wants
"to be and not to seem good". We must, indeed, not allow
him to seem good, for if he does he will have all the
rewards and honours paid to the man who has a reputation
for justice, and we shall not be able to tell whether his
motive is love of justice or love of the rewards and
honours. No, we must strip him of everything except his
justice, and our picture of him must be drawn in a way
diametrically opposite to that of the unjust man. Our just
man must have the worst of reputations for wrongdoing
even though he has done no wrong, so that we can test his
justice and see if it weakens in the face of unpopularity
and all that goes with it; we shall give him an undeserved
and life-long reputation for wickedness, and make him
stick to his chosen course until death. In this way, when
we have pushed the life of justice and of injustice each
to its extreme, we shall [own
emphasis on shall] be able to judge which of the two is
the happier...And if the description is somewhat brutal,
remember that it's not I that am responsible for it,
Socrates, but those who praise injustice more highly than
justice. It is their account that I must now repeat.' "
20 December 2011
[Socrates]: " 'And so our properly good Guardian will have the following characteristics: a philosophic disposition, high spirits, speed, and strength.' "
Page 71: 378e
[Socrates]: " To which I replied, 'My dear Adeimantus, you and I are not engaged on writing stories but on founding a state. And the founders of a state, though they must know the type of story the poet must produce, and reject any that do not conform to that type, need not write them themselves.'
[Adeimantus]: 'True but what are the lines on which our poets must work when they deal with the gods? [own emphasis]
[Socrates]: 'Roughly as follows,' .. 'God must surely always be represented as he really is, whether the poet is writing epic, lyric, or tragedy.' ... 'And in reality of course god is good, and he must be so described.' "
Socrates was advising Adeimantus and Glaucon on how they could go about to start a well arranged republic. Socrates refers to god in the singular male and Adeimantus refers to the gods. Socrates said earlier that the children of the new state who will be the Guardians should not be told stories about gods which do horrible things to their fellow human beings. The Guardians were the highest class; the rulers and defence force of Adeimantus' and Glaucon's imaginary state.
Page 72: 379c
[Socrates]: " 'Then god, being good, cannot be responsible for everything, as is commonly said, but only for a small part of human life, for the greater part of which he has no responsibility. For we have a far smaller share of good than of evil, and while god must be held to be sole cause of good, we must look for some factors other than god as cause of the evil. ... So we cannot allow Homer or any other poet to make such a stupid mistake about the gods, as when he says that
"Zeus has two jars standing on the floor of his palace, full of fates, good in one and evil in the other;"
and that the man to whom Zeus allots a mixture of both has
"varying fortunes sometimes good and sometimes bad",
while the man to whom he allots unmixed evil is
"chased by ravening despair over the face of the earth"."
Socrates effectively excluded human beings from the definition of God because according to him God is perfect; 100% truth; the unchanging Forms of perfection.
Page 73: 381b
[Socrates]: " 'But god and the things of god are entirely perfect.' ...On this argument, then, god is not in the least likely to take on many forms.'
[Adeimantus]: Any change must be for the worse. For god's beauty and goodness are perfect.
[Socrates]: 'You are absolutely right,' .. 'And, that being so, do you think that anyone, man or god, would deliberately, make himself worse in any respect?'
[Socrates]: 'Then it must also be impossible,' ., 'for a god to wish to change himself. Every god is perfect in beauty and goodness, and remains in his own form without variation for ever (sic).'
Here it seems Socrates did not have a fixed definition for God because 'Every god ..' implies plurality of the form of his definition existed. Previously he referred to the singular '..god..'
Page 81: 389a
[Socrates]: " 'And surely we must value truthfulness highly. For if we were right when we said just now that falsehood is no use to the gods and only useful to men as a kind of medicine, it's clearly a kind of medicine that should be entrusted to doctors and not to laymen. . . It will be for the rulers of our city, then, if anyone, to use falsehood in dealing with citizen or enemy for the good of the State; no one else must do so. And if any citizen lies to our rulers, we shall regard it as a still graver offence than it is for a patient to lie to his doctor, or for any athlete to lie to his trainer about his physical condition, or for a sailor to misrepresent to his captain any matter concerning the ship or crew, or the state of himself or his fellow-sailors.' "
Socrates here gives the impression that perhaps the gods Adeimantus and Glaucon refers to were a class above the rulers or guardians of a state; the people who had the means to create a republic after colonisation. Adeimantus and Glaucon were the younger brothers of Socrates (Page xvii). Socrates perceived God as an unchanging Form which did not include humans. Socrates was instructed to commit suicide in order to stop his influence on the youth of Athens and because he was accused of introducing new gods (Page xix). Apparently, during the time of Jesus, about 399 years after Socrates' death the rulers in Israel were also not impressed by the influence of Greek philosophy on the youth of Israel.
Page 205: 485c
" 'Then if the philosopher is to be as we described him, must he not have a further characteristic?'
'Truthfulness. He will never willingly tolerate an untruth, but will hate it, just as he loves truth.'
'That seems likely enough.'
'It's not only likely,' I [Socrates] replied, 'it is an absolutely necessary characteristic of the lover that he should be devoted to everything closely connected with the object of his love.'
'And is there anything more closely connected with wisdom than truth?'
In the Bible wisdom as a result of fear of God is mentioned. See Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 9:10 and Acts 17:11 [Google search: ' "Fear of God" Wisdom '; 20 December 2011]
Whether fear of
God or truth and trust in God is the source of wisdom is a
discussion which can only be fruitfully entered into after
consensus has been reached about a definition for God. The
place that honest people have or do not have in the
definition of 'Lord' or 'Here' is relevant. I suspect
despotism is also relevant.
That is despotism of honest persons who cracked and who
then became maniacs.
Page 231: 507a
Source of growth and light
Source of reality and truth,
which gives visibility to objects of sense and the power of seeing to the eye.
which gives intelligibility to objects of thought and the power of knowing to the mind.
The faculty of sight.
The faculty of knowledge.'
Page 266: 534a
[Socrates]: " 'Then let us be content with the terms we used earlier on for the four divisions of our line – calling them, in order, pure knowledge (A), reason [B], belief [C], and illusion [D]. The last two we class together as opinion, the first two as knowledge (A + B), opinion being concerned with the world of becoming, knowledge (A + B) with the world of reality. Knowledge (A + B) stands to opinion as the world of reality does to that of becoming, and pure knowledge (A) stands to belief and reason to illusion as knowledge (A + B) stands to opinion. The relation of the realities corresponding to knowledge (A + B) and opinion and the twofold divisions into which they fall we had better omit if we're not to involve ourselves in an argument even longer than we've already had' ... So you agree in calling a man a dialectician who can take account of the essential nature of each thing; and in saying that anyone who is unable to give such an account of things either to himself or to other people has to that extent failed to understand them. ... Then doesn't the same apply to the good? If a man can't define the form of the good and distinguish it clearly in his account from everything else, and then battle his way through all objections, determined to give them refutation based on reality and not opinion, and come through with his argument unshaken, you wouldn't say he knew what the good in itself was, or indeed any other good. Any shadowy notion such a man gets hold of is the product of opinion rather than knowledge, and he's living in a dream from which he will not awake on this side of the other world, where he will finally sleep for ever (sic). ... So you will lay it down that they must devote themselves especially to this discipline [of a dialectician], which will enable them to ask and answer questions with the highest degree of understanding ... Then you agree that dialectic is the coping-stone that tops our educational system; it completes the course of studies and there is no other study that can rightly be placed above it.' "
Dialectic reasoning can take place between two persons. Their individual dialogical definitions for the same words become very relevant for clear understanding of their opinions. When dialectic reasoning happens in one person's mind the dialectical dependencies of definitions are less relevant because words will mean the same in thesis and antithesis. Definitions for words of definitions for words ad infinitum could be good for talking or not.
Page 268: 535c
[Socrates]: " 'They must have good memories, determination and a fondness for hard work. How, otherwise, will they be ready to go through with such an elaborate course of study on top of their physical training? . . Which explains what is wrong with philosophy today and why it has a bad reputation; as we said before, it is taken up by those unworthy of it. Philosophy should be wooed by true men, not bastards.' "
definition of truth is problematic because he says rulers
may lie but they should also be philosophers who strive to
the greatest truth possible. How can a person strive to
the greatest truth possible if he corrupts his own mind
and memory with untruth? According to my theory deceit
will diminish the ability of a person, who deceives, to
think logically, because he will use additional memory to
remember the deceits. On page 231 Socrates attributed
truth to the 'Intelligible world' but maybe his truth did
not include being outwardly truthful. It seems he thought
that truth is only applicably inward; that is to know
truthful knowledge but not to portray it. He did not then
consider the probable effect that lies and honesties have
on memories and the ability to think clearly and to
distinguish fact and self created fiction. A question
exists in my mind whether a deceiver can properly
distinguish between fact and self created fiction in their
thought processes when attempting to use pre- existing
knowledge only to create new knowledge by combining
current knowledge (truths) and new facts.
Page 268: 535d
" 'We shall regard as equally handicapped for the pursuit of truth a mind which, while it detests deliberate lying, and will not abide it in itself and is indignant to find it in others, cheerfully acquiesces in conventional misrepresentation and feels no indignation when its own ignorance is shown up, but wallows in it like a pig in a sty.' "
It seems from the notes of the book that Socrates referred to a person who are easily swayed away in common misrepresentations which deceive many people; also to a person who does not feel remorse when he finds that self portrayed opinion as knowledge. I think a person portrays opinion as fact if that person deliberately deceives with a false reference because when a writer states something it is obviously his opinion unless it is vouched by a reference. Sometimes, in my own writing, referenced opinions combine my opinion with another's opinion to form a group opinion. When an opinion can be referenced with many authors', surely it strengthens the opinion. Facts are rare in non-statistical research.
Page 274: 540b-d
[Socrates]: " 'And so, when they have brought up successors like themselves to take their place as Guardians, they will depart to the island of the blest (34), and the state will set up a public memorial to them and sacrifice to them, if the Pythian Oracle approves, as divinities, or at any rate as blessed and godlike.' "
'It's a fine picture you have drawn of our Rulers, Socrates.'
[Socrates]: " 'And some of them will be women, all I have said about men applies equally to women, if they have the requisite natural capacities. . . The indispensable condition is that political power should be in the hands of one or more true philosophers.' "
(34) "The Greek heaven."
Up to this page Plato through Socrates has used capital letters when referring to Rulers or Guardians and a small g when he referred to god. Maybe his definition of god was the same as the definition by Egyptians for 'neter' (Egyptian book of the dead). In my thoughts the Egyptians' belief in 'neter' corresponds to the Pan belief. Pan has goat hooves and horns. If I recall correctly 'neter' was not spelled with a capital n after being translated from hieroglyphs in my Book of the dead. I do not have an impression that neter is a name like Pan. In the above quote Socrates refers to 'one or more true philosophers' and 'some of them will be women'. I doubt thus again that humans could have been included in his definition of god because of the small g he used to write god and the capital R and G he used for Ruler and Guardian. Again, I think, that Socrates thought humans can only aspire to be 100% truthful but could never reach it and therefore could approximate 'godlike' status. It feels illogical. My definition feels better and is more logical. My definition will increase truths and creativities because the one and only god who is one person only will not be relevant. It could be argued that capital Rs and Gs classify his rulers higher than his god, but then he says the "Rulers" are "godlike". To say Rulers are godlike, could be argued, makes no sense because the capital R categorises ruler above god but the word godlike categorise ruler below God.
Page 297: 560c
[Socrates]: " 'And back he goes to live with the Lotus-eaters.(16)' "
(16) " Odyssey, IX, 82 ff. Proverbial of those who abandon home and family ties. "
Page 306: 567d
[Socrates]: " 'In the dog's name!'(25)"
Note 69 Part III: "Glaucon swears 'By Zeus', the chief Olympian god; Socrates, who always avoided such oaths, swears the oath traditionally ascribed to him, 'By the dog'. "
From Wikipedia on 21 December 2011 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynocephaly
"Ancient Greece and Egypt
Cynocephaly was familiar to the Ancient Greeks from representations of the Egyptian gods Hapi (the son of Horus) and Anubis (the Egyptian god of the dead). The Greek word (Greek: κῠνοκέφᾰλοι) "dog-head" also identified a sacred Egyptian baboon with the face of a dog.
Reports of dog-headed races can also be traced back to Greek antiquity. In the fifth century BC, the Greek physician Ctesias wrote a detailed report on the existence of cynocephali in India. Similarly, the Greek traveller Megasthenes claimed to know about dog-headed people in India who lived in the mountains, communicated through barking, wore the skins of wild animals and lived by hunting.[3"
Page 355: 608e
[Socrates]:" 'I call anything that harms or destroys a thing evil, and anything that preserves and benefits it good.' "
22 December 2011
Good and evil according to Socrates can only be determined in relation to something else than the good itself. What is good for one may be not good for another. The Forms he proposed as the highest category; the unchanging goodness can only be evaluated in relation to "a thing". A thing is one and if it consists of different parts the good will become relative if the thing divides into different parts, because then again what is good for one part can be not good for another part. Maybe it could be generalised if something good can be found that preserves everything. Everything would include evil things which would make everything illogical because how can it be good to preserve evil things. Even if an evil thing is changed into a good thing the thing becomes a new thing and the evil thing is destroyed. If argued that the evil thing which became good is one thing, then the evil thing was also preserved because evil behaviour destroys self. Once the evil thing becomes good it will be preserved. It is thus argued that the evil thing should first be changed into a good thing. Before Socrates' good can be generalised good things, to be preserved, or to be changed into good from evil, good has to be identified. If good actions depends on the existence of good things which are preserved by way of good actions, then a good thing must first be defined, according to Socrates' philosophy.
If truth (searching for it and portraying it) is good, what are the good things it preserves? The question does not start at the good things but at the good actions. If it is argued that the argument of goodness should start at the adverb and the verb then it could be argued that everything that good actions preserves are good things. Where does the dialectic reasoning begin; at the verb or the noun? On page 231 Socrates said Good is the source of truth. Good in that sense is the portrayals of realities because truths are a result of portrayals and communications.
He used the
verbs preserves and benefits in the singular. Maybe it
should rather have been preserve and benefit in the
plural. The next question then is what are the things that
should not be destroyed? It seems it could be everything
and that if a thing is not good it should be changed in
order to preserve it or it should just be left alone and
then it will change itself or be changed by the
metaphysical part of God.
On page 266 Socrates says, as I understand it, that the good in itself can only be described as an opinion. It seems that he refers to good as a noun, because only a part of a noun can be in the noun itself The subject-object dichotomy is relevant. If good is seen as an adverb; to communicate truth or to preserve and benefit, what are the things to be preserved on second thoughts? Probably the things that truthful people create should be given priority when preservation is considered. Who should own those things? ICrMA argues the people who create the truths and the things as a result of the truths should be given income rights or ownership rights to their intellectual creations. Motivation to be truthful will then be more common. More common truths will then lead to a more successful economy. ICrMA has to happen before identification of intellectual creations can take place. The source of intellectual creations has been identified partly as truths. The sources of truths; the people who communicates truths, can perhaps be identified by modern technology. After identification of the sources, as close as possible to the truths, remunerations can be adjusted on a scale to fit levels of honesties.
[Socrates]: " 'Then hasn't each individual thing its own particular good and evil? So most things are subject to their own specific form of evil or disease; for example, the eyes to ophthalmia (sic) and the body generally to illness, grain to mildew, timber to rot, bronze and iron to rust, and so on. . . And is not their effect to flaw anything they attack, and finally to disintegrate and destroy it altogether? . . A thing's specific evil or flaw is therefore what destroys it, and nothing else will do so. For what is good is not destructive, nor what is neutral. . . If, therefore, we find anything whose specific evil can mar it, but cannot finally destroy it, we shall know that it must by its very nature be indestructible.' "
If destruction always comes from part of a thing, destruction implies that everything is one thing. That sounds like holism. How can anything or person who are being destroyed by another person, see that other person as part of himself. If illnesses that are in persons destroy the persons, the illnesses can be practically seen as part of those persons. Holism however does not make sense to me now. There has to be at least two parts to the visible world. It implies that if something can be seen and separated from the rest, that there has to be something else in the world together with the separated thing.
Page 356: 609e
[Socrates]: " 'For you know, of course, Glaucon, . , that it would not be right to suppose that the death of the body was due to the badness of its food, which might be old or rotten or have any other characteristic defect; if any such defect in the food set up a process of deterioration in the body, we should say that the body had been killed by its own particular evil, disease, of which the bad food was the occasion. But we ought not ever to say that the body, which is one kind of thing, has been killed by the badness of its food, which is another kind of thing, unless the bad food has produced the body's own specific kind of evil.' "
The above statement can be read in context of Socrates' death by drinking hemlock, after being sentenced to do so.
for the good of the State; no one else must do so, 3
four divisions, 5
god is good, 2
good in itself, 5, 9
good memories, 6
just and unjust men, 1
just man, 2
justice and injustice, 1
power of knowing, 5
use falsehood, 3
use of his friends or his wealth, 2
well arranged republic, 2
wisdom as a result of fear of