the statesman plato summary

Man should be well advised that he is only one ofthe animals, and the Hellene in particular should be aware that he himselfwas the author of the distinction between Hellene and Barbarian, and thatthe Phrygian would equally divide mankind into Phrygians and Barbarians,and that some intelligent animal, like a crane, might go a step further,and divide the animal world into cranes and all other animals. To assist our imagination in making this separation, we requirean example. The text describes a conversation among Socrates, the mathematician Theodorus, another person named Socrates, and an unnamed philosopher from Elea referred to as the Stranger. For he would have required that all persons who had ashare of government should have received their education from the state andhave borne her burdens, and should have served in her fleets and armies. And he isnot without express testimony to the truth of his narrative;--suchtestimony as, in the Timaeus, the first men gave of the names of the gods('They must surely have known their own ancestors'). Symposium by Plato Summary. But though we sometimes hear the cry that we must 'educate the masses, forthey are our masters,' who would listen to a proposal that the franchiseshould be confined to the educated or to those who fulfil political duties? The two classes both have theirexaggerations; and the exaggerations of the one are termed 'hardness,''violence,' 'madness;' of the other 'cowardliness,' or 'sluggishness.' The outline may be filled up as follows:--. But though Plato has his characters give accounts of the sophist and statesman in their respective dialogues, it is most likely that he never wrote a dialogue about the philosopher. Suppose that they elect annually byvote or lot those to whom authority in either department is to bedelegated. The idea of the king or statesmanand the illustration of method are connected, not like the love andrhetoric of the Phaedrus, by 'little invisible pegs,' but in a confused andinartistic manner, which fails to produce any impression of a whole on themind of the reader. Introduction to the Statesman. But even supposing the different classes of a nation, when viewedimpartially, to be on a level with each other in moral virtue, there remaintwo considerations of opposite kinds which enter into the problem ofgovernment. And now enough of centaurs and satyrs: the play is ended, and they mayquit the political stage. Monarchy may be divided into royaltyand tyranny; oligarchy into aristocracy and plutocracy; and democracy mayobserve the law or may not observe it. I willanswer that question by asking you whether the training master gives adifferent discipline to each of his pupils, or whether he has a generalrule of diet and exercise which is suited to the constitutions of themajority? The dialectical interest of the Statesman seems to contend in Plato'smind with the political; the dialogue might have been designated by twoequally descriptive titles--either the 'Statesman,' or 'Concerning Method.' Hence the phenomenon so often observed in the old Greek revolutions,and not without parallel in modern times, that the leaders of the democracyhave been themselves of aristocratic origin. Children aretaught to read by being made to compare cases in which they do not know acertain letter with cases in which they know it, until they learn torecognize it in all its combinations. But to return to your division, you spoke of men and otheranimals as two classes--the second of which you comprehended under thegeneral name of beasts. And I should like you to observe further, that though Imaintain a class to be a part, there is no similar necessity for a part tobe a class. And the Statesman is not a groom, but a herdsman, andhis art may be called either the art of managing a herd, or the art ofcollective management:--Which do you prefer? The subject of the dialogue, apart from its insistence upon method, is the State, quite as much as the Statesman. There is reason for the argument infavour of a property qualification; there is reason also in the argumentsof those who would include all and so exhaust the political situation. Reviews There are no reviews yet. The youngerSocrates resembles his namesake in nothing but a name. The plan of the Politicus or Statesman may be briefly sketched as follows: (1) By a process of division and subdivision we discover the true herdsmanor king of men. This setting is crucially linked to the theme of the Laws. The tame, walking, herding animal, may be dividedinto two classes--the horned and the hornless, and the king is concernedwith the hornless; and these again may be subdivided into animals having ornot having cloven feet, or mixing or not mixing the breed; and the king orstatesman has the care of animals which have not cloven feet, and which donot mix the breed. All Rights Reserved. 3. Still less would any oneanalyze the nature of weaving for its own sake. Too many laws may be thesign of a corrupt and overcivilized state of society, too few are the signof an uncivilized one; as soon as commerce begins to grow, men makethemselves customs which have the validity of laws. 25-47) Le Politique de Platon comporte trois parties principales: Division, Mythe, Tissage. The 'gentle violence,' the marriageof dissimilar natures, the figure of the warp and the woof, are also foundin the Laws. In the Phaedrus, the Republic, the Philebus, the Parmenides, and theSophist, we may observe the tendency of Plato to combine two or moresubjects or different aspects of the same subject in a single dialogue. Languages: English, Espanol | Site Copyright © Jalic Inc. 2000 - 2020. a. The profound interest andready assent of the young Socrates, who is not too old to be amused 'with atale which a child would love to hear,' are a further assistance. 465 Views . Or rather, shall I tell you that the happinessof these children of Cronos must have depended on how they used their time? As in the Republic, Plato has observed thatthere are opposite natures in the world, the strong and the gentle, thecourageous and the temperate, which, borrowing an expression derived fromthe image of weaving, he calls the warp and the woof of human society. Socrates concludes his attack on the \"libelous poetry\" that portrays his beloved virtues in so many negative lights. In A Stranger's Knowledge Marquez argues that Plato abandons here the classic idea, prominent in the Republic, that the philosopher, qua philosopher, is qualified to rule. comment. "The Statesman is among the most widely ranging of Plato's dialogues, bringing together in a single discourse disparate subjects such as politics, mathematics, ontology, dialectic, and myth. But theoretical science may be a science either of judging, likearithmetic, or of ruling and superintending, like that of the architect ormaster-builder. Admitting of course that the upper and lower classes are equalin the eye of God and of the law, yet the one may be by nature fitted togovern and the other to be governed. Plato was born around 427 b.c. And theanswer is to the same effect, that morals must take care of themselves. There is anotherexcellent jest which I spy in the two remaining species. I think that we can bestdistinguish him by having recourse to a famous old tradition, which mayamuse as well as instruct us; the narrative is perfectly true, although thescepticism of mankind is prone to doubt the tales of old. The bitterness of the Statesman is characteristic of Plato's laterstyle, in which the thoughts of youth and love have fled away, and we areno longer tended by the Muses or the Graces. Plato is fond of picturing the advantages which would result from the unionof the tyrant who has power with the legislator who has wisdom: he regardsthis as the best and speediest way of reforming mankind. The Stranger suggests that Theaetetus shall be allowed to rest, and thatSocrates the younger shall respond in his place; Theodorus agrees to thesuggestion, and Socrates remarks that the name of the one and the face ofthe other give him a right to claim relationship with both of them. The Statesman, or Politikos in Greek and Politicus in Latin, is a four part dialogue contained within the work of Plato. But he took the customswhich he found already existing in a half-civilised state of society: these he reduced to form and inscribed on pillars; he defined what hadbefore been undefined, and gave certainty to what was uncertain. It has fixed rules which are the props of order, and will notswerve or bend in extreme cases. Inthe case of the world, the perturbation is very slight, and amounts only toa reversal of motion. To theuneducated person he would appear to be the ideal of a judge. But mankind, in despair of finding a trueruler, are willing to acquiesce in any law or custom which will save themfrom the caprice of individuals. Some discrepancies may be observedbetween the mythology of the Statesman and the Timaeus, and between theTimaeus and the Republic. No, Socrates, that blessed and spontaneouslife belongs not to this, but to the previous state, in which God was thegovernor of the whole world, and other gods subject to him ruled over partsof the world, as is still the case in certain places. Alldivisions which are rightly made should cut through the middle; if youattend to this rule, you will be more likely to arrive at classes. And if thelegislator, or another like him, comes back from a far country, is he to beprohibited from altering his own laws? The sophist too is no longer, as in theearlier dialogues, the rival of the statesman, but assumes his form. Atlast, then, we have found a trace of those whom we were seeking. And the rule of a man is betterand higher than law, because he is more able to deal with the infinitecomplexity of human affairs. (Summary by Geoffrey Edwards) share Share No_Favorite Favorite rss RSS. 'The arts would utterly perish, and human life, which is bad enoughalready, would become intolerable.'. The suspicion of them seems mainly to rest on a presumption that inPlato's writings we may expect to find an uniform type of doctrine andopinion. And the Theaetetus, Parmenides, and Philebus, supply links, bywhich, however different from them, they may be reunited with the greatbody of the Platonic writings. Or if it is to be of use, it must be stringently didactic and partake of none of the indulgence and rhapsody common to their tradition and to contemporary poets as well. Plato apologizes for his tediousness, and acknowledgesthat the improvement of his audience has been his only aim in some of hisdigressions. Under hisgovernment there were no estates, or private possessions, or families; butthe earth produced a sufficiency of all things, and men were born out ofthe earth, having no traditions of the past; and as the temperature of theseasons was mild, they took no thought for raiment, and had no beds, butlived and dwelt in the open air. The Eleatic stranger, here, as inthe Sophist, has no appropriate character, and appears only as theexpositor of a political ideal, in the delineation of which he isfrequently interrupted by purely logical illustrations. For one of the principal advantages of law is not merely that itenforces honesty, but that it makes men act in the same way, and requiresthem to produce the same evidence of their acts. To thosewho were naturally inclined to believe that the fortunes of mankind areinfluenced by the stars, or who maintained that some one principle, likethe principle of the Same and the Other in the Timaeus, pervades all thingsin the world, the reversal of the motion of the heavens seemed necessarilyto produce a reversal of the order of human life. The imaginary ruler, whether God or man, is above the law, and is a lawto himself and to others. He wants his father, Cephalus, to meet the great scholar, Socrates. This claim runs counter to those who, the Stranger points out, actually did rule. Carding is of the latter sort. The common people say: Let a manpersuade the city first, and then let him impose new laws. At first the case of men was veryhelpless and pitiable; for they were alone among the wild beasts, and hadto carry on the struggle for existence without arts or knowledge, and hadno food, and did not know how to get any. Thereis no such interval between the Republic or Phaedrus and the two suspecteddialogues, as that which separates all the earlier writings of Plato fromthe Laws. And who are these who next come into view in various forms of men andanimals and other monsters appearing--lions and centaurs and satyrs--whoare these? 'There issuch a story.' The same love ofdivisions is apparent in the Gorgias. It may however be doubted how far, either in a Greek or modernstate, such a limitation is practicable or desirable; for those who areleft outside the pale will always be dangerous to those who are within,while on the other hand the leaven of the mob can hardly affect therepresentation of a great country. At the same instant allthe inferior deities gave up their hold; the whole universe rebounded, andthere was a great earthquake, and utter ruin of all manner of animals. The greatest power,the highest wisdom, can only proceed one or two steps in advance of publicopinion. Whether he has the power or not, is a mere accident; or rather hehas the power, for what ought to be is ('Was ist vernunftig, das istwirklich'); and he ought to be and is the true governor of mankind. Thus Plato may be said to represent in a figure--(1) thestate of innocence; (2) the fall of man; (3) the still deeper decline intobarbarism; (4) the restoration of man by the partial interference of God,and the natural growth of the arts and of civilised society. (7)Fixed principles are implanted by education, and the king or statesmancompletes the political web by marrying together dissimilar natures, thecourageous and the temperate, the bold and the gentle, who are the warp andthe woof of society. They will often learnby experience that the democracy has become a plutocracy. We are warned against preferring the shorter to the longermethod;--if we divide in the middle, we are most likely to light uponspecies; at the same time, the important remark is made, that 'a part isnot to be confounded with a class.' An error of this kind can only be avoided by a more regularsubdivision. I am not speaking of theveritable slave bought with money, nor of the hireling who lets himself outfor service, nor of the trader or merchant, who at best can only lay claimto economical and not to royal science. The first and grand error was in choosing for ourking a god, who belongs to the other cycle, instead of a man from our own;there was a lesser error also in our failure to define the nature of theroyal functions. Again, a ruler isconcerned with the production of some object, and objects may be dividedinto living and lifeless, and rulers into the rulers of living and lifelessobjects. If having boundless leisure, and the power of discoursing not only with oneanother but with the animals, they had employed these advantages with aview to philosophy, gathering from every nature some addition to theirstore of knowledge;--or again, if they had merely eaten and drunk, and toldstories to one another, and to the beasts;--in either case, I say, therewould be no difficulty in answering the question. There is a fallacy, too, in comparing unchangeablelaws with a personal governor. The essays in this collection consider these subjects and others, focusing … 'I donot understand the nature of my mistake.' We may now divide this art of measurement into two parts; placing in theone part all the arts which measure the relative size or number of objects,and in the other all those which depend upon a mean or standard. Viewed in the light of science, wouldnot the continuance of such regulations be ridiculous? And yet he issomething more than this,--the perfectly good and wise tyrant of the Laws,whose will is better than any law. A ruling caste does not soonaltogether lose the governing qualities, nor a subject class easily acquirethem. In the truest sense of all, the ruler is not man but God; andsuch a government existed in a former cycle of human history, and may againexist when the gods resume their care of mankind. This would apply to all shepherds, with the exception of theStatesman; but if we say 'managing' or 'tending' animals, the term wouldinclude him as well. As theadviser of a physician may be said to have medical science and to be aphysician, so the adviser of a king has royal science and is a king. This is the sort of division which an intelligentcrane would make: he would put cranes into a class by themselves for theirspecial glory, and jumble together all others, including man, in the classof beasts. Much has beensaid in modern times about the duty of leaving men to themselves, which issupposed to be the best way of taking care of them. To geometricians, like you andTheaetetus, I can have no difficulty in explaining that man is a diameter,having a power of two feet; and the power of four-legged creatures, beingthe double of two feet, is the diameter of our diameter. The Statesman, like Plato's earlier Sophist, features a Stranger who tries to refute Socrates. First in theconnection with mythology;--he wins a kind of verisimilitude for this asfor his other myths, by adopting received traditions, of which he pretendsto find an explanation in his own larger conception (compare Introductionto Critias). As inthe Book of Genesis, the first fall of man is succeeded by a second; themisery and wickedness of the world increase continually. This was the subject of my PhD thesis and my first book. But the truth is, that there are two cycles of theworld, and in one of them it is governed by an immediate Providence, andreceives life and immortality, and in the other is let go again, and has areverse action during infinite ages. But we might have proceeded, as I was saying, by another and ashorter road.

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