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2 Dec

the statesman plato summary

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The temperate are careful and just, butare wanting in the power of action; the courageous fall short of them injustice, but in action are superior to them: and no state can prosper inwhich either of these qualities is wanting. Some states he sees already shipwrecked, others founderingfor want of a pilot; and he wonders not at their destruction, but at theirendurance. Thus we have drawn several distinctions, but as yet have notdistinguished the weaving of garments from the kindred and co-operativearts. Book Summary. The statesman who builds his hope upon the aristocracy, upon the middleclasses, upon the people, will probably, if he have sufficient experienceof them, conclude that all classes are much alike, and that one is as goodas another, and that the liberties of no class are safe in the hands of therest. 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. I make theseremarks, because I want you to get rid of any impression that ourdiscussion about weaving and about the reversal of the universe, and theother discussion about the Sophist and not-being, were tedious andirrelevant. Both expressly recognize the conception of a first or idealstate, which has receded into an invisible heaven. 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. It is the beginning of political society,but there is something higher--an intelligent ruler, whether God or man,who is able to adapt himself to the endless varieties of circumstances. After a while the tumult ceased, and the universal creature settled down inhis accustomed course, having authority over all other creatures, andfollowing the instructions of his God and Father, at first more precisely,afterwards with less exactness. And thetending of living animals may be either a tending of individuals, or amanaging of herds. There are two arts of measuring--one is concerned withrelative size, and the other has reference to a mean or standard of what ismeet. And hence follows an important result. But theoretical science may be a science either of judging, likearithmetic, or of ruling and superintending, like that of the architect ormaster-builder. It is ostensibly an attempt to arrive at a definition of "statesman," as opposed to "sophist" or "philosopher" and is presented as following the action of the Sophist. Ought we not rather to admire the strength of thepolitical bond? He sees the world under a harderand grimmer aspect: he is dealing with the reality of things, not withvisions or pictures of them: he is seeking by the aid of dialectic only,to arrive at truth. In both dialogues the Proteus Sophist is exhibited, first, inthe disguise of an Eristic, secondly, of a false statesman. Suppose that they elect annually byvote or lot those to whom authority in either department is to bedelegated. He is deeply impressed with the importance ofclassification: in this alone he finds the true measure of human things;and very often in the process of division curious results are obtained. These forms of government exist, becausemen despair of the true king ever appearing among them; if he were toappear, they would joyfully hand over to him the reins of government. The outline may be filled up as follows:--. Od. No onewould think of usurping the prerogatives of the ordinary shepherd, who onall hands is admitted to be the trainer, matchmaker, doctor, musician ofhis flock. Once more we will endeavour to view this royal science by the light of ourexample. plus-circle Add Review. The young Socrates has heard of the sun rising in the westand setting in the east, and of the earth-born men; but he has never heardthe origin of these remarkable phenomena. As inthe Book of Genesis, the first fall of man is succeeded by a second; themisery and wickedness of the world increase continually. (6) The sciences which aremost akin to the royal are the sciences of the general, the judge, theorator, which minister to him, but even these are subordinate to him. 'I should say, that there is one management of men, and another ofbeasts.' Is hea worse physician who uses a little gentle violence in effecting the cure? Admitting that a few wisemen are likely to be better governors than the unwise many, yet it is notin their power to fashion an entire people according to their behest. Even equity, which isthe exception to the law, conforms to fixed rules and lies for the mostpart within the limits of previous decisions. How can we get the greatest intelligence combined with thegreatest power? The white locks of the aged became black; the cheeks of thebearded man were restored to their youth and fineness; the young men grewsofter and smaller, and, being reduced to the condition of children in mindas well as body, began to vanish away; and the bodies of those who had diedby violence, in a few moments underwent a parallel change and disappeared.In that cycle of existence there was no such thing as the procreation ofanimals from one another, but they were born of the earth, and of this ourancestors, who came into being immediately after the end of the last cycleand at the beginning of this, have preserved the recollection. 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). The ideal of the Greek state found an expression in thedeification of law: the ancient Stoic spoke of a wise man perfect invirtue, who was fancifully said to be a king; but neither they nor Platohad arrived at the conception of a person who was also a law. And the art of carding, and the wholeart of the fuller and the mender, are concerned with the treatment andproduction of clothes, as well as the art of weaving. 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. There is a fallacy, too, in comparing unchangeablelaws with a personal governor. The nobleman invites the party to his home. 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.' At the end of the narrative, the Eleatic askshis companion whether this life of innocence, or that which men live atpresent, is the better of the two. Let us next ask, which of these untrue forms of government is the leastbad, and which of them is the worst? The royal art has been separated from that of otherherdsmen, but not from the causal and co-operative arts which exist instates; these do not admit of dichotomy, and therefore they must be carvedneatly, like the limbs of a victim, not into more parts than are necessary.And first (1) we have the large class of instruments, which includes almosteverything in the world; from these may be parted off (2) vessels which areframed for the preservation of things, moist or dry, prepared in the fireor out of the fire. Literature Network » Plato » Statesman » Introduction and Analysis. But stillthey are only servants and ministers. Such was the age of Cronos, and the age of Zeus is our own. Inthe case of the world, the perturbation is very slight, and amounts only toa reversal of motion. SOCRATES: I have reason to thank you, Theodorus, for the acquaintance ofTheaetetus and the Stranger. This opposition of terms is extended by us toall actions, to the tones of the voice, the notes of music, the workings ofthe mind, the characters of men. 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 thetreatment of the subject in the Statesman is fragmentary, and the shorterand later work, as might be expected, is less finished, and less worked outin detail. The close connexion of them with the Theaetetus, Parmenides, andPhilebus, involves the fate of these dialogues, as well as of the twosuspected ones. And now, if we omit dogs, who can hardly be said toherd, I think that we have only two species left which remain undivided: and how are we to distinguish them? And in the Phaedrus this aspect of dialecticis further sketched out, and the art of rhetoric is based on the divisionof the characters of mankind into their several classes. Hence we conclude that the science of the king, statesman, andhouseholder is one and the same. Enough of the myth, which may show us two errors of which we were guilty inour account of the king. The Statesman also offers a transitional statement of Plato’s political philosophy between the Republic and the Laws. It continues the discussion around the philosophy of concepts started in the Sophist. There is a similar depth in the remark,--'The wonder about states is notthat they are short-lived, but that they last so long in spite of thebadness of their rulers.'. 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? This observation is incomplete. 'Your picture, Stranger, of the king and statesman, no less than of theSophist, is quite perfect.'. 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'). Nothing is morebitter in all his writings than his comparison of the contemporarypoliticians to lions, centaurs, satyrs, and other animals of a feeblersort, who are ever changing their forms and natures. But then, as we have seen,no great number of men, whether poor or rich, can be makers of laws. Besides the supreme science of dialectic, 'which will forget us, if weforget her,' another master-science for the first time appears in view--thescience of government, which fixes the limits of all the rest. The evilof mere verbal oppositions, the requirement of an impossible accuracy inthe use of terms, the error of supposing that philosophy was to be found inlanguage, the danger of word-catching, have frequently been discussed byhim in the previous dialogues, but nowhere has the spirit of moderninductive philosophy been more happily indicated than in the words of theStatesman:--'If you think more about things, and less about words, you willbe richer in wisdom as you grow older.' The government of one is the bestand the worst--the government of a few is less bad and less good--thegovernment of the many is the least bad and least good of them all, beingthe best of all lawless governments, and the worst of all lawful ones. Languages: English, Espanol | Site Copyright © Jalic Inc. 2000 - 2020. The two classes thrive andflourish at first, but they soon degenerate; the one become mad, and theother feeble and useless. The mingled pathos and satire of thisremark is characteristic of Plato's later style. And whoever, having skill, should try to improvethem, would act in the spirit of the law-giver. On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Statesman_(dialogue)&oldid=974042653, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 20 August 2020, at 19:17. Or our mythus may be compared to a picture, which is well drawn inoutline, but is not yet enlivened by colour. It has fixed rules which are the props of order, and will not swerve or bend in extreme cases. Now there are inferior sciences, such as music and others;and there is a superior science, which determines whether music is to belearnt or not, and this is different from them, and the governor of them.The science which determines whether we are to use persuasion, or not, ishigher than the art of persuasion; the science which determines whether weare to go to war, is higher than the art of the general. When a pupil at a school isasked the letters which make up a particular word, is he not asked with aview to his knowing the same letters in all words? The myth, like that of the Timaeus and Critias, is rather historical thanpoetical, in this respect corresponding to the general change in the laterwritings of Plato, when compared with the earlier ones. SOCRATES: Does the great geometrician apply the same measure to all three?Are they not divided by an interval which no geometrical ratio can express? The influence ofwealth, though not the enjoyment of it, has become diffused among the pooras well as among the rich; and society, instead of being safer, is more atthe mercy of the tyrant, who, when things are at the worst, obtains aguard--that is, an army--and announces himself as the saviour. But before we can rightly distinguish him from his rivals,we must view him, (2) as he is presented to us in a famous ancient tale: the tale will also enable us to distinguish the divine from the humanherdsman or shepherd: (3) and besides our fable, we must have an example;for our example we will select the art of weaving, which will have to bedistinguished from the kindred arts; and then, following this pattern, wewill separate the king from his subordinates or competitors. ); he pursues them to a length out ofproportion to his main subject, and appears to value them as a dialecticalexercise, and for their own sake. Still there remain some other and betterelements, which adhere to the royal science, and must be drawn off in therefiner's fire before the gold can become quite pure. In the loose framework of a single dialogue Plato has thus combined twodistinct subjects--politics and method. Tointerlace these is the crowning achievement of political science. 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. Nor am I referring to governmentofficials, such as heralds and scribes, for these are only the servants ofthe rulers, and not the rulers themselves. The invincible Socrates is withdrawn from view; and new foes beginto appear under old names. If, however, we mean by the rule ofthe few the rule of a class neither better nor worse than other classes,not devoid of a feeling of right, but guided mostly by a sense of their owninterests, and by the rule of the many the rule of all classes, similarlyunder the influence of mixed motives, no one would hesitate to answer--'Therule of all rather than one, because all classes are more likely to takecare of all than one of another; and the government has greater power andstability when resting on a wider basis.' 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. The immanence of things in the Ideas, or the partial separationof them, and the self-motion of the supreme Idea, are probably the forms inwhich he would have interpreted his own parable. He is struck by the observation 'quam parva sapientia regitur mundus,' andis touched with a feeling of the ills which afflict states. 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. 25-47) Le Politique de Platon comporte trois parties principales: Division, Mythe, Tissage. The law sacrifices the individual to the universal, and is the tyranny of the many over the few (compare Republic). The subject of the dialogue, apart from its insistence upon method, is the State, quite as much as the Statesman. 'The latter.' And yet he issomething more than this,--the perfectly good and wise tyrant of the Laws,whose will is better than any law. The individual translators for quotations included are noted below. The text is a dialogue between Socrates and the mathematician Theodorus, another student named Socrates (referred to as Young Socrates), and an unknown philosopher expounding the ideas of the statesman. It is not of use to the State. These are adaptedto each other, and the orderly composition of them forms a woollen garment. 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. Let me suppose now, that a physician or trainer, having leftdirections for his patients or pupils, goes into a far country, and comesback sooner than he intended; owing to some unexpected change in theweather, the patient or pupil seems to require a different mode oftreatment: Would he persist in his old commands, under the idea that allothers are noxious and heterodox? Not power but knowledge is thecharacteristic of a king or royal person. There may have been a time when the kingwas a god, but he now is pretty much on a level with his subjects inbreeding and education. Their life was spontaneous, because in those days God ruled overman; and he was to man what man is now to the animals. Yet the ideal glory of the Platonic philosophy is notextinguished. Who has described 'thefeeble intelligence of all things; given by metaphysics better than theEleatic Stranger in the words--'The higher ideas can hardly be set forthexcept through the medium of examples; every man seems to know all thingsin a kind of dream, and then again nothing when he is awake?' The origin of these and the like stories is to be foundin the tale which I am about to narrate. 'I donot understand the nature of my mistake.' THEODORUS: By Ammon, the god of Cyrene, Socrates, that is a very fair hit; and shows that you have not forgotten your geometry. The words inwhich he describes the miseries of states seem to be an amplification ofthe 'Cities will never cease from ill' of the Republic. Monarchy may be divided into royaltyand tyranny; oligarchy into aristocracy and plutocracy; and democracy mayobserve the law or may not observe it. 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. Plato and Aristotle are sensible of the difficulty of combining the wisdomof the few with the power of the many. He is constantly dwelling on the importance of regularclassification, and of not putting words in the place of things. There is no difficulty inexhibiting sensible images, but the greatest and noblest truths have nooutward form adapted to the eye of sense, and are only revealed in thought.And all that we are now saying is said for the sake of them. There are two sides from which positive laws may be attacked:--either fromthe side of nature, which rises up and rebels against them in the spirit ofCallicles in the Gorgias; or from the side of idealism, which attempts tosoar above them,--and this is the spirit of Plato in the Statesman. The beautiful may be subdivided into twolesser classes: one of these is described by us in terms expressive ofmotion or energy, and the other in terms expressive of rest and quietness.We say, how manly! 4. Here, as in the tale ofEr, the son of Armenius, he touches upon the question of freedom andnecessity, both in relation to God and nature. Platocannot help laughing (compare Theaet.) Here are suggested also thedistinctions between God causing and permitting evil, and between his moreand less immediate government of the world. He makesmistakes only to correct them--this seems to be his way of drawingattention to common dialectical errors. 'There issuch a story.' These suggest a newdivision into the rearing or management of land-herds and of water-herds:--I need not say with which the king is concerned. But in a well-known passage of thePhilebus occurs the first criticism on the nature of classification. But,as there is no natural ruler of the hive, they meet together and make laws. 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. Let us try once more: There are diviners and priests, who are full of pride and prerogative;these, as the law declares, know how to give acceptable gifts to the gods,and in many parts of Hellas the duty of performing solemn sacrifices isassigned to the chief magistrate, as at Athens to the King Archon. Plato’s thought: A philosophy of reason. He touches upon another question of great interest--the consciousness ofevil--what in the Jewish Scriptures is called 'eating of the tree of theknowledge of good and evil.' Plato - Plato - Late dialogues: The Parmenides demonstrates that the sketches of forms presented in the middle dialogues were not adequate; this dialogue and the ones that follow spur readers to develop a more viable understanding of these entities. Plato is now chiefly concerned, not with theoriginal Sophist, but with the sophistry of the schools of philosophy,which are making reasoning impossible; and is driven by them out of theregions of transcendental speculation back into the path of common sense. In all stages of civilization human nature, after all ourefforts, remains intractable,--not like clay in the hands of the potter, ormarble under the chisel of the sculptor.

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