This essay is about Plato and his book "The Republic".

Essay by estpie2University, Bachelor's November 2003

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Is Plato a communist or a socialist? Does the Republic reflect his belief that the state should be more important or take on a higher position in priority lists than the individual's needs and wants? The Republic by Plato is centered around one point: justice. In order to define justice, Plato has to first define what a just or ideal state is, and it is through the process of defining of the ideal state and what is just that one is able to see a clear definition of Plato's beliefs on the individual and on the state. So was Plato's view of an ideal state actually a socialist state?

I believe it was very much like a socialist state. The question at the center of the Republic is whether it is better to live justly or unjustly. To answer this question, Plato first describes his ideal city. His ideal city includes guardians, auxiliaries, and tradesman.

In Plato's view every person has a certain talent that they are good at and they should pursue this talent from the end of their education through their death. The city's leaders are chosen based on the educational system and how well each child does in the program. The city is just and ideal because everyone winds up doing the jobs that best suit their innate abilities--the guardians lead, the auxiliaries fight, and the rest of the people work.

Plato, or Socrates who is actually defining the ideal state through a debate, begins the argument by pointing out two things: first that there should be three divisions within the state: the guardians, the farmers or craftsmen, and the auxiliaries and second that there are several basic human needs like food, shelter and clothing. In the ideal state these will be provided...