Plato’s Ethics -|- Educational Philosophy Theory

Plato’s Ethics

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n souls have fallen from union with forms and must recover a lost harmony

n justice / the good life = harmony, order, each part perfecting its own role

n the just state is based in and parallels just individual souls

Three Parts of the Soul

Three Classes of the State


1. the rational part

1. the guardians (philosopher kings)


2. the spirited part - like the will

2. the auxiliaries (military)


3. the passionate part

3. the workers


n in each case (soul and state), part 1 must govern and part 3 must obey

n part 2 must align with part 1

n Horse and Chariot Image: rational part is the charioteer, guiding a cooperative horse (spirited) and a resisting horse (passionate) which must be whipped

n Plato’s Politics - man is social, and the state is a natural entity

n cycle of governments:

aristocracy (rule by best qualified for common good) à timocracy (rule by famous) à plutocracy (rule by wealthy) à democracy (mob rule by all) à tyranny (one despot)

n Plato’s Aesthetics

n there is an objective foundation of beauty—participation in Form of Beauty

n paintings, poems are less real - they are copies, another step away from Forms

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