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Socrates feels dissatisfied by the turnout of the discussion and they commence again, the question of justice is again taken up. Gyges is a man who finds a ring which makes you invisible so he kills the king and marries the queen, he carries out a life of injustice but everybody thinks he is just. Other people who are just may be seen as unjust by others. Why then would it be better to be just?
Regardless of how others perceive or treat you justice is healthy for your soul. Socrates cannot observe the soul directly so he suggests we should generalise it, by looking at justice in the city. The character of the city must reflect the character of the individuals who make it up. Socrates begins with premises, nobody is self-sufficient, we need society to survive and everyone has one thing they are truly good at. Part of an educated city is to identify which are each person’s strongest points. In order to survive a city needs those who are good at producing things, it needs craftsmen. Key to moving the argument on is Glaucon’s objection: which claims we are in a city of pigs. Socrates then introduces another city, a city which is much bigger, that can annex more land, a city where there is going to need an army to protect the city - it will need guardians. Guardians will need a certain skill, they will need to be good fighters but they will also need to be spirited, to have the right character. Guardians guard and protect the city. Guardians go into battles but they need to be controlled, so they don’t harm their own people caught up in the emotion. Their aggression will be channelled into good judgement. Most guardians then have the quality of wisdom, auxiliaries have aggression, true guardians possess justice. Now the city has three classes of people with different character types: the craftsmen, worriers, and guardians. Plato talks about the education of the guardians and their education which will lead them to see clear judgement. They must be educated in a certain way which entails a lot of schooling and great proficiency in the a variety of subjects.
The structure of the ideal city and soul:
RULERS (philosopher) Wisdom. Reason. Gold
AUXILIARIES (warriors). Spiritedness. Spirit. Silver
PRODUCERS Moderation. Appetite. Bronze
It is interesting to know that Olympic medals come from myth of Er, which is a noble fable. Society’s fabric would crumble without lies so fibs are constructed to maintain order and peace. Plato seemingly contradicts himself by using fables as the noble lie is slightly close to sophistry, he would justify it by saying that only philosophers know the truth.
The myth of metal/the magnificent myth/noble lie is incorporated in this part of the book: the children leave city until older generation’s idea die out, they then move in and are told they belong to that land, they came out of the ground so they are each metals which explain their characters. The philosopher and warrior rule over the producers, where the guardian’s wisdom corresponds to reason and the warrior’s spiritedness to spirit.
The character of the city end us depending on the character of one group: the rulers. Producers may try to get a higher status but they aren’t just themselves, this is where Plato’s rulers come in. The irony is few can run things, all think they can. Producers should never be allowed to be active in the political sphere as Plato emphasises throughout this book.