Philosophy has enabled human life to study the general and everyday problems which concern many matters to include beauty, truth, mind, validity, language, existence, language and even truth. While Philosophy is a general term that is highly acceptable to address and answer questions by using systematic approaches and its credibility on the grounds of reasoned arguments, there is a tension that is apparent between Politics and Philosophy which Ancient Greek Origin means “love of wisdom”. Good governance needs laws that are mandated and initiated through Politics.
The ways a society is being governed highly affects the kind of living the citizens’ experience. Politics are made up of group of people that formulate decisions for the betterment of the populace. It has also been palpable in many group interactions such as the religious, academic and even in the corporate world. Despite the fact that both exist to fulfill the needs of man for order, it is evident that a man in one point of his life or another might choose whether to live under the influence of Politics or Philosophy.
The issues had been explored in Plato’s masterpieces “Apology” and “The Republic”. But although, the strain is perceptible, the end result for the mixture of both may lead to a more wonderful life to all mankind. The researcher wishes to address any reconciliation that may occur between the rivalries of the two approaches in human regulation, if Philosophy and Politics can be practiced at the same time. Philosophy and Politics in Plato’s Works Justice is necessitated by human in all walks of life. An individual is honed by the cultural and social norms that craft his totality as a whole.
Many factors attribute on how a person behaves or acts. The life in the world has sought to deal on existence necessitated of man as man to survive and subsist. You may choose to live a political life or you can pursue a life that is committed in finding contemplation and truth. Apology The Apology by Plato is his version of Socrates’ speech during the time Socrates defends himself in opposition to the charges. The accusations against Socrates brought up were; living his life that refuses to adulate and worship the gods, corrupts the mind of the young and makes new deities.
The main theme of the entire speech proposes that Philosophy instigates when one admits that he is ignorant. Socrates dramatically states that the wisdom he has, originates from his mere knowledge that he doesn’t know anything (23b, 29b). Politics in this part conducts a lawful proceeding that is made out of informal charges that only stanched out of gossips and prejudices against Socrates: “Socrates is committing an injustice, in that he inquires into things below the earth and in the sky, and makes the weaker argument the stronger, and teaches others to follow his example (18b-c)”.
Socrates refuted the accusations through voicing out that he should not in any way be mistaken as a sophist or a scholar that is highly paid and wise. He then expressed his philosophical inspiration that he is poor and does not know anything that is good and noble. Socrates believed that the accusations against him rooted with his compliance with the oracle he received in Delhi. He had the mission of solving the paradox which is “the ignorant man could be the wisest of all men” (23e). It is apparent that Politics has an indirect connection to Philosophy because both aim to provide a good human life course.
In this part reconciliation is quite evident since Politics is ruled out by people or humans that present the way to righteousness and lawfulness based on human perception enacted by the law while Philosophy which Plato deals with dwells more with the spiritual and divine intervention as the correct path to rectitude and uprightness. Socrates perceived that his questioning to many people gained him the reputation as an annoying person. His life mission interpreted in the speech that true wisdom comes from the gods while wisdoms of man together with their achievements have diminutive or are not valuable at all.
It was greatly stressed that Socrates accepts as legitimate that the power of his lawful superior, may it be divine or human should be followed. But when there is a discrepancy or conflict between the two: Politics or Philosophy, he deems that the divine authority should take precedence and primacy: “Gentlemen, I am your grateful and devoted servant, but I owe a greater obedience to God than to you; and as long as I draw breath and have my faculties I shall never stop practicing philosophy” (Plato, Dialogue Part 1).
Socrates articulated that he will not stop his aspiration for his fellow Athenians to have greater awareness of moral truth and goodness. Though, people might impede his questioning or arguing and even if they withdraw all the charges against him, Socrates put across his plan of not bringing an end to his inquiries for the pursuance of truth. Socrates was charged as guilty by a very small margin (36a). He was sentenced to death through drinking Hemlock. Though, Socrates can resort to emotive tricks to appease the juries.
He relied ultimately to the truth in the presentation of his case. Socrates prophesied that the younger and harsher critics will pursue what he started that can aggravate them even more (39d). The Republic by Plato The Republic by Plato is also a Socratic dialogue. The main topic of the dialogue centers at the issue of who is happier between the just and the unjust man that was pictured through creating a make-believe city that is ruled by philosopher-kings. For most part, the dialogue tackles justice in different ways.
Like in one part of the first book where two types of justice are presented but both were deemed inappropriate. First, talks about returning debts that someone owed while the second one embarks upon helping out friends at the same time harming the enemies. These were common definitions of justice that Socrates reckons to be derisory in isolated cases and as a consequence lack stringency stipulated of a definition, though he does not wholly decline them because each, in some way or another conveys a universal sagacity of justice.
Justice when implemented with Philosophy encompasses goodwill to all mankind. This was evident in the end of Book I where Socrates approved Polemarchus insight that justice embraces helping out friends but the just man would never do any harm to anybody even an enemy. Thrasymachus on the other hand provides his perception of justice as “what is good for the stronger” (Book I), which reflects those people in Politics who have power over the society. This also echoes Thrasymachus belief that rulers are the primary resource of justice in every city where in they enact laws that benefit themselves the most.
Philosophy is widely tackled in The Republic to influence Politics on what it should build within the society to provide a just community. In this dialogue, it can be seen that Philosophy and Politics can be reconciled though Philosophy still takes supremacy over Politics. Correspondingly, Socrates describes justice as “working at that which he is naturally best suited,” along with “to do one’s own business and not to be a busybody” (433a-433b). He then continues by presenting how to sustain and perfect justice through three cardinal virtues to include Temperance, Wisdom, and Courage (433a-433b).
Philosophy correlates with Politics through creating a society that divides people in to three distinct types which are the soldier, producer and ruler. Books II to IV mainly carry out that if a ruler can create just laws, and when the soldiers or warriors follow the orders of their rulers, and if authorities are obeyed by the producers, then it will formulate a society that is rightful and just, thus creating a happier life. Three arguments were presented by Plato why he sees that it is better to be just rather than for the individual to be unjust.
The arguments were: An oppressor’s nature will allow him to incur “horrid pains and pangs” and that the conventional tyrant has a lifestyle that is mentally and physically challenging on a ruler which is the total opposite of a philosopher king that is truth loving (Book IX). Another argument in Book IX that Plato puts forward is that the Philosopher is the only type of ruler that can best run a society since he is acquainted to the Form of the Good. The last one that Plato contends is that “Pleasures which are approved by the lover of wisdom and reason are the truest” (Book IX).
The Republic’s main ideology is to form the government and politics that is governed by philosopher-kings. In this, it is highly susceptible that Philosophy and politics could in some way or another worked hand in hand. Socrates believes that the four types of ruling such as timocracy, democracy, oligarchy and tyranny can lead to corruption of power. The Republic by Plato also contains his Allegory of the Cave where he elucidates how a former prisoner from a cave came to realize that the sun which illuminates the surrounding and which initially blinded him is the Form of the Good that causes the brightness.
He also came to realize that it is the sun that made him see and appreciate the beauty and goodness in the things that surround him. Plato considers the caveman as the philosopher, who knows the Form of Good and therefore should educate others to spread the same light he achieved. The dialogue narrates conversations and arguments concerning an Ideal State by manipulating politics through Philosophical ideas and how other forms of governance could not properly and adequately sustain its ruling. Conclusion
Though Plato’s “Apology” and “The Republic” mainly discuss how Philosophy or love of wisdom should be adhered over and above anything else, it also manifested that Philosophy and politics can reconcile to the betterment of the society. The “Apology” chiefly venerates Philosophy over politics but in some parts evidently address that people involved in Politics should be respected and followed, hence, when a clash between the two takes place Philosophy should win against the other. Plato’s “The Republic” on the other hand, points out a Political institution that is to be ruled by a Philosopher towards a just society.