The Instigator
CiRrK
Pro (for)
Winning
17 Points
The Contender
Freemarketer
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Plato's Republic is a rhetorical attempt to curb political extremism

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
CiRrK
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/19/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,027 times Debate No: 23693
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)

 

CiRrK

Pro

Hi...as the resolution prescribes, this is a debate over a specific interpretation of The Republic.

==Definitions==

The Republic is indeed The Republic by Plato...

1) Rhetorical: Expressed in terms intended to persuade

2) Curb: Restrain or keep in check

3) Political Extremism: actions or ideologies of individuals or groups outside the perceived political center of a society; or otherwise claimed to violate common moral standards

==Rules==

1) Argumentation will start Rd. 2. Rd 1 will be for acceptance and clarification.

2) No semantics or resolutional negation. For example, arguments such as: "Derp...The Republic is a philosophical not rhetorical attempt o curb political extremism. Resolution negated" is not valid and will be an auto-loss for the round.

*This i serious debate and please take it as such. : ) Thank you.

If there are questions, ask me
Freemarketer

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
CiRrK

Pro

Resolved: Plato's Republic is a rhetorical attempt to curb political extremism


Ob. 1: First, it must be noted that Plato’s Republic is a dialogue – it is a conversation between Socrates and his “friends” near the Athens in the port town of Piraeus. Dialogues, in ancient Greece are similar to plays like Aristophanes’ The Clouds or Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. When one analyzes or interprets The Republic it is unwise to ignore this fact. Why? Because The Republic is not a treatise, like Locke’s Treatise on Government. It is a story and a dialogue with interconnecting plots, character development, etc. A correct and complete interpretation must take the dialogue as a whole, rather than snippets or excerpts removed from the dialogue for independent analysis. Therefore an interpretation must have the plot and dialogue in mind and cannot be separated from it.


Ob. 2: Second, Plato is not in the dialogue. The main speaker in the dialogue is Socrates, accompanied by people such as Glaucon and Adimenatius. Why is this important? Because Plato, by removing himself from the dialogue is removing himself from the exoteric lines presented by Socrates and company. Plato’s Republic cannot be separated from its historical context, and as mentioned above it is a Greek dialogue. When writers, in Greece, wanted to present a political or philosophical message they would either insert or remove themselves from the text. Plato does the same in The Republic.



Contention 1: Textual and Dialectic Analysis [1]


The Text is full of ridiculous political and sociological claims in order to achieve “The Just-City”. This city is Socrates response to the violent demands by Glaucon and company. Socrates and his comrades are discussing how to alter the status quo politick in order to bring about perfect justice. As evident in Book 1 of the Republic all definitions of justice are inadequate and easily refuted. However, Socrates doesn’t provide his own definition but rather what this extreme justice, i.e. the best city possible, would look like. Thus, in order to curb this extremist view of society Plato makes Socrates provide insane and illogical measures to bring about this city.


The Just-City is a communization of society – all is made into a wholeness or a oneness. Socrates refers to this communization as the answer to the 3 waves of difficulty for the city.


The first communization is the breakdown of gender barriers in all aspects of society. Socrates argues that in order for the city to be perfectly just, all must be perfectly equal. To demonstrate this, Socrates says that men and women must train together in the same gymnasium nude. However, his companion makes an argument against this which is simply ignored by Socrates. The argument in basic-talk is that men would naturally be aroused by being with women and will spur sexual relations. This will be important later on in the dialogue where Socrates discusses how the city must maintain itself. The point made my Plato here is that the Just-City must naturally be unnatural and must violate all natural instincts of humanity.


The second communization of society is the communization of women and children. In the most just city, families are eradicated. To complete this wholeness in society the city must be your family and the people in it your direct relatives. Socrates tells us that the city must make a noble lie: when you are born, you are born of the earth (the city) and from that each person has in him a metal corresponding with the three divisions of society – The guardians, auxiliaries, and the medics (the common folk). This is necessary to create complete loyalty to the state and not to a group or individual. The city is made to erase all desire – the Greeks have multiple words for our word love, but in this city all these forms of love are eradicated.


The third communization of society is a strict separation of the rulers and the ruled. This is the section with the famed “philosopher-kings.” Socrates argues that this just-city must be ruled by “philosophers” who directs society towards this great justice and keeps everyone in the dark essentially. The allegory of the cave is essentially that select members of the cave, i.e. the city, must be forced to philosophize and then be forced to re-enter the cave after their enlightment. The rest of the city must remain ignorant in order to keep the city functioning. Thus, the city is based on a lie of human nature. However, it is important to note that Socrates in the text argues that he would not be a philosopher king. In the later Books of the Republic Socrates portrays the philosopher kings as not “philosophers” but as mathematicians. The city through the communization process becomes oneness – everything is public, there is no private. Thus, just as the city understands itself as one, the kings must only understand the simple and eternal. Math provides this to the kings – numbers are simple, eternal and unchanging. These philosopher-kings must view each human not as an individual but as a number (a part of the city.)


What do the 3 waves of difficulty in context of the whole dialogue suggest? It suggests the extremes that the city must go through in order to achieve the perfect justice. This is the extreme politicization that Plato is warning us against. Compared to Karl Popper in his book The Open Society and It’s Enemies, Plato is NOT condoning the creation of this just city (refer to aforementioned Observations). Moreover, the end Books of The Republic prove this point exactly:


Socrates mentioned three important points. The first is that this city will ultimately fail – nature will prevail over this artificial creation. He argues that this failure is inevitable because eros can never be destroyed in the human soul – as mentioned before in the communization of men and women men will naturally get aroused by being with a gym full of naked women. This fact will throw off the much needed “birth calculation” necessary to maintain a populous level and the existence of the noble lie. The philosopher kings will fall to the workings of nature.


Second, that mass executions are necessary to bring about the creation of the city. This is a very under-discussed part of the dialogue since it is only mentioned in 2 lines but Socrates tells us that for the city to be created all people over the age of 8 (excluding the ruling guardians) must be “expelled from the city” and with that the acquisition of all private property. Here Plato is making us use our instincts in analyzing this expulsion. As evident in Cambodia and pretty much all communist takeovers, people refuse to give up what they own – they are then killed. This is what the esoteric message is for the creation of the city – everyone over 8 must be killed.


Third, when the people of the just city die, and go to the afterlife they are given a choice of a new regime to live under. The people of the just city choose TYRANNY (the lowest form of government in the Platonic Regimes). Why? Because just as the just city destroyed all natural instincts of humanity – eros, self-ownership, family – the people want only the desires of life. According to Plato, eros is the only ruling faculty in a tyranny. In both cases it is the danger of political extremism (the most just city vs. the tyrannical city) that destroys the moderation needed to conduct a functioning society.



Contention 2 (Short): Xenophon [2]


Xenophon, the other main student of Socrates and comrade to Plato in his works argues that The Republic was written per request by Xenophon himself. Why? Because Xenophon’s brother was a radical/extreme politician and Xenophon wanted to show his brother the danger of extremist politics. And per this request, Plato wrote The Republic.



[1] Plato’s Republic


[2] Xenophon's Socrates by Leo Strauss.


I apologize for not having actual links since they are books




Freemarketer

Con

Freemarketer forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
CiRrK

Pro

-_- I had a feeling it was going to be a forfeit.

Extend arguments.
Freemarketer

Con

Plato was a political extremist. He favored socialism and gay rights.

So, it is hard to believe that his book was against political extremism.

It is also important to note that Plato's Republic sold very poorly when it first came out. The Athens Times, a liberal newspaper attacked it harshly.

Well, I think I have won this debate.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by socialpinko 4 years ago
socialpinko
If you're interested, I could debate this with you.
Posted by CiRrK 5 years ago
CiRrK
This would have been a good debate too :|
Posted by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
*added to favorites*
Posted by CiRrK 5 years ago
CiRrK
Awesome. That was quick. You sure you wanna debate this? Cause your other debates dont seem so...serious?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
CiRrKFreemarketerTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct goes to Pro for forfeit by Con and for Con bringing (albeit weak) arguments in the last round that Pro had no chance to respond to. Arguments go to Pro as (A) none of Con's own points can counts Pro was never given a chance to respond and (B) Con never attacked Pro's actual points.
Vote Placed by Mrparkers 5 years ago
Mrparkers
CiRrKFreemarketerTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Microsuck 5 years ago
Microsuck
CiRrKFreemarketerTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited the entire debate and did not refute any of pro's arguments.