Plato’s Concept of State & Government Plato (427 – 347 B.C.E) Plato was born into an aristocratic Athenian family in 427 B.C. Most of his life have passed experience the Peloponnesian War, which began in 431 B.C. and ended in 404 B.C. He is a student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle. Most of the information we know about Socrates comes from Plato. Plato’s period is characterized by tyrant, cruel, abusive, internal & external struggle and suffered from many other crisis. His ideas was very much influenced by the death of his teacher Aristotle. Plato gives the best idea of States and Government. Justice is the main idea of Ideal state. He viewed that individuals are dependent on Justice for their survival and well-being. Plato’s ideal state was based on Republican system. It has three categories of citizens which are: Philosopher Kings, Artisans and Auxiliaries each of whom performs different natures, capacities and duty to the states. In Plato’s ideal state, education was mandatory for every individuals of the state. Plato’s concept of Ideal State Plato’s concept of ideal state elaborate in his famous book The Republic. He gave the idea of an ideal state which considered one of the best contribution of his political thought. The construction of an ideal state was a necessary part of Plato's design, and actually occupies the larger part of the Republic. Plato gave three ideas about an ideal state. Which are How to build an ideal state? Who should rule the ideal state? How to achieve justice in ideal state? • Population To build an ideal state population is an important element. Without population state cannot be formed. According to the theory of three souls and three classes, each class serves different kind of duty to the society. Plato identified three dominant virtues in the human souls, which are Philosopher Kings, Artisans, Auxiliaries. Plato described three types of nature of a soul which are Desire, Courage and Philosophy. A person should have desire to do something for the society. It’s a bodily appetite part of the soul. These are called the producer class such as Farmers, labors, merchants etc. The person who possessed courage to protect the state from any danger are called Auxiliaries class or Military class. The person who possessed the philosophical knowledge and wisdom are recognize to be the ruling class. According to Plato, they are the most capable of ruling a state. Plato called this kind of ruler ‘The Philosopher Kings’. • Ruler The first virtue described by Plato was wisdom. Wisdom directly connects to the virtue of knowledge and Plato thought that the people who possessed philosophical wisdom and knowledge to be the one who are most capable of ruling, he calls this class The Philosopher Kings. He will use their knowledge and wisdom to form a better state. His knowledge helps them to create better law and order in order to keep peaceful environment of the state. The ruler entitled to ensure security and to fulfill the necessities of the people. The ruler should judge based on reality not on appearance. The ruler should have the ability to judge between opinion and knowledge. • Justice Justice is an important element in Plato’s ideal state. Plato’s Republic is about ideal state of perfect justice. Justice is also related to education. By achieving knowledge and wisdom one can distinguish between right and wrong. By choosing what is right one can ensure justice. The justice can be achieved if each class of the society do their appointed duty. If one person focus only in his appointed duty not to interfere with the other sphere of duty then there will be no chaos and justice will be served. Plato said that nature gave everyone unique ability. Some men are physically strong and some are intelligent and wise and some are brave. If people understand the natural phenomenon of one cannot fits in another job. Everyone has different ability in different sector then man will start to cooperate with nature respectively. This is the central idea of justice, when this is achieved, Plato says, justice in the society will start to rise. • Education 0-6 years Plato supports state-controlled education. He believes that all people can easily exist in harmony when society gives them equal educational opportunity from an early age to compete fairly with each other. Plato regards education as a means to achieve justice, both individual justice and social justice. He called education a tool for the welfare of the society. For this reason, he spoke of state-control without leaving education to the individual. Plato believed that both men and women were identical in terms of qualifications and characteristics. He thought that without full education one cannot become a full citizen. That is why he made education compulsory. Plato’s way of achieving the education is very effective and its fulfill the purpose of education. The Elementary Education 6-18 years 18-20 years Education system of Plato 20-30 years The Higher education 30-35 years 35-50 years Plato’s Concept of Communism Plato’s concept of communism only applied for the ruling class and the military class. But it was not applied for the producer class. Because they were not in power. They can maintain family and property but under strict supervision of the state so that they cannot became too rich or too poor. The ruling class and the military class cannot have family, private property including private house ,land or gold and silver. Plato believed that family and property are distraction for them. This kind of distraction are hindrance for their duty in the society. This two things are the chief source of disunity and social tension. Plato’s idea of abolishing family and private property for ruling and military class are for greater good. Greed for the property and nepotism in the family can do injustice to the society. Plato wants them to be free from all of this and do their own respective duty without any distraction and hindrance.