Yonaira around. It shouldn’t be the art of



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Prof.  Justin Holt



Philosophy: The Republic and On


This paper will argue
that Plato’s position on the political abilities of the many is mistaken. To
support this thesis, this paper will consider Plato’s ship image from book 6 of
the Republic. The paper will proceed as follows. First, some introductory comments
on the political philosophy of Plato and his use of conceptual analysis and
critical evaluation of beliefs to help decide the right and wrong ideas. It can
be suggested that political philosophy was Plato’s area of concern. Today the under
the influence
of the analytic philosophy of the twentieth century, political philosophy is
still often is used to clarify the political concepts and hence seen as a
conceptual analysis of these concepts. In the next part of the paper, Mill’s
philosophical outlook has been reviewed which suggest that his picture of the
mind of the world relies on a functional account of knowledge. In the last part
of the paper Strauss’s interpretation of the political philosophy of Plato work
“The Republic” has been discussed which is wide-ranging in scope yet compact in

1.      Relationship between knowledge and
politics for Plato and Mill

Concepts of the words can
be understood by their meanings. For example, using general words to understand
the political terms like freedom, power, state, and democracy, different things
and meanings are signed and applied to them. For Plato it helps in mental
clearance to clarify the concepts and meaning which is the conceptual analysis
of those political terms. After this comes, critical evaluation of beliefs, which
helps to identify the right and wrong incompatible ideas.

“That’s what education should be,” I said, “the art of
orientation. Educators should devise the simplest and most effective methods of
turning minds around. It shouldn’t be the art of implanting sight in the organ,
but should proceed on the understanding that the organ already has the
capacity, but is improperly aligned and isn’t facing the right way.”  (Plato)

? Plato, Republic

For Plato it is important
to make the right decisions when choosing the political order in peace. Such
political decisions are important just like any decision made during war
related to the political order. Only public opinion cannot help in making
important decisions which prove to be wrong as seen in many political disasters
recorded in the history. Concepts clarification is the main step according to
Plato’s political philosophy. This clarification helps in evaluating correct
beliefs which help in finding out the answers to the questions regarding the
most accurate political order. The relationship exists between the critical
evaluation of beliefs and analysis of the concepts in the Plato’s Republic. The
main aim of this analysis is not only to find a correct verbal definition, but
also to reach right and substantial belief. The linguistic practice of the word
“justice,” is not the question about the word justice but mainly about the
thing to which this word “justice” refers.

Account of knowledge of
Mill depends mainly on the general picture of world, mind and their
relationship. Therefore it depends on a theory. Mill claims that human beings
are completely part of nature and it should be kept in mind that Mill has no
idea about this. Mill commit this claim and his unsupported starting point, and
this is a substantive claim. In his book On Liberty, he emphasizes the importance
of originality and autonomy. He does not focus on the significance of the
experiences but on the value of being a certain way.

“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the
contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one
person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.”

? John Stuart Mill, On

Mill uses different
strategies to make arguments and discussion for freedom of thought, freedom of
action and freedom of character. Though such arguments overlap, they have to be
cautiously unpicked if weaknesses and strengths are to be appreciated.
Throughout his book “On Liberty,” Mill seems concerned about the ways
to preserve the freedom of people from the threat of more treacherous forms of
public pressure and not only in the face of the threat of state or legislative
intimidation. Mill believes that people are themselves free to form opposed
opinions about the others’ character.

2.      Leo Strauss’ interpretation of the
Republic in his book The City And Man

The City and Man by Leo
Strauss constitute the provoking essays on “Politics” of Aristotle,
Thucydides’ “Peloponnesian Wars”, and Plato’s “Republic”.
This book is a remarkable effort to use classical political philosophy as a way
to liberate modern political philosophy from the stronghold of ideology.
Intimate and extensive familiarity with the works are the basis of Strauss’
essays. The City and Man by Leo Strauss seem at first to be an upfront continuance
of all his previous work which was about the enunciation of the theological-political
problem. The ancients advanced by way of the double negative and therefore were
rightly liberating while Modernism lives and thinks in the part of denial and
hence parasitically. The most important part of the Strauss’ book is the part
in which he deals with the Plato’s Republic philosophy and which Aristotle
legitimately disregards in his critical analysis of the Republic. Political
philosophy is the eccentric core of philosophy.

“It is not self-forgetting and pain-loving antiquarianism nor self-forgetting
and intoxicating romanticism which induces us to turn with passionate interest,
with unqualified willingness to learn, toward the political thought of
classical antiquity. We are impelled to do so by the crisis of our time, the
crisis of the West.” (Leo)

? Leo Strauss, The City,
and Man

The essay on Plato’
Republic is a full-scale argument of the political philosophy of Plato,
wide-ranging in scope and compact in implementation. Strauss interpretation of
the Republic is the crossing of the extreme cases of Socrates ideal and
non-ideal silent dialogues on political philosophy. It could be argued that the
common welfare does not need to share the knowledge and the issue of the
justice is the issue of the common good. It would be sufficient if, the common welfare
were the sharing in the quest for knowledge. Moreover, the Republic is itself
the model of the city because it talks about justice.


This paper has shown the
relationship between knowledge and politics for Plato and Mill as discussed in
their books “The Republic” and “On Liberty.” This paper has
also discussed Leon Strauss’ interpretation of the Republic in his book The
City And Man which is a remarkable effort to use classical political philosophy
as a way to liberate modern political philosophy from the stronghold of

Works Cited
John, Stuart, Mill. On Liberty. 1859.
Leo, Strauss. The City and Man. The University Press
of Virginia, 1964.
Plato. Republic. 381 BC.