How does Political Theory of Plato Construct the Ideal State?

Thus, there is a clear hint of the classes, which constitute the ideal state the producing class, the auxiliary class, and the ruling class. In the Republic, the state is led by the philosophers; in the Statesman, it is a mixed state ideally led by statesman and in the Laws, it is actual state as it is, led by the laws. The ideal state of the Republic is the form of the historical (Politics) (laws) states.

Plato’s rulers, either the philosophers of the Republic, or statesman of the Politics or the impersonal laws of the laws have the responsibilities of preserving and promoting the interests of the whole community.

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Their aim is, as Plato expressed in the Republic, giving order and happiness to the state: “Our aim in founding the state”, Plato continues, “was the greatest happiness of the whole; we thought that in a state which is ordered with a view to the good of the whole we should be most likely to find justice.” Or again, “we mean our guardians to be true saviours and not the destroyer of the State.” In the Politics, Plato said that the governors ought to “use their power with a view of the general security and improvement.”

In the Laws Plato was worried about the well-being of the state. What he wanted were rulers, and not pretender’s rulers who must know their job and should be able to perform it in the interests of all. They should be wise, courageous, temperate and just the qualities as expressed in the Republic; wise and versed in the traditional customs, the unwritten laws of the divinely remote past, as in the Politics, and work under the dictates of the written laws as in the Laws.

The use of analogies in the writings of the ancient Greek thinkers was a usual exercise, showing, as Barker says; “a characteristic of the transition from the old philosophy of nature to the new philosophy of man.” His use of analogies demonstrated his love for the art of ruling, planning his ruler in the image of an artist.

There are the ‘dog-soldiers’ for guarding and watching the human cattle and also for keeping the wolves enemies at bay; ‘the shepherd guardian’ for looking after the human sheep all these are mentioned in the Republic.

There is ‘the physician- statesman’ responsible for the general health of the ailing-state; ‘the pilot-statesman’, skilled in his art, wise in his job and rich in his experiences, for ordering the affairs of the ship of the state; ‘the weaver-states- man’ for a creating a ‘just harmony’ uniting different elements of human nature all these are mentioned in the Politics.

Knowledge is the merit which qualifies the rulers to rule their people. It helps them, Plato said; perform their responsibilities in the most perfect manner. The rulers, he insisted, ought to know the science of politics; they ought to use this science, he held, as the artist uses his art.

What Plato urged was the very competence of the rulers and strict discipline in the performance of their functions. His rulers do the job of ruling as the peasant does the tilling; the peasant is a peasant because he knows the job of tilling, so that ruler is a ruler because he knows the job of ruling.

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