The things that platos republic and thomas mores utopia share in common

Utopia the text, as well as the island after which it is named, is marked by a tremendous amount of ambiguity. Let us begin with the title. More coined the word Utopia from Greek roots: Are we to take the Island of Utopia as a pattern that we should try to emulate?

The things that platos republic and thomas mores utopia share in common

The things that platos republic and thomas mores utopia share in common

It is also the victim of a serious and widespread misconception, in that it is held to present a political utopia, a polis [city state] to be imitated.

This assumption has led to a criticism of the Republic as recommending a totalitarian regime or an extremely communistic society.

Nothing could be further from the truth. How did such an error arise? As most errors in interpretation do, by a careless reading — in this case, by not considering the Republic as a whole, from beginning to end. In this allegory, which appears in Book VII, Socrates describes some people held prisoner in a cave, tied with their backs to a fire, watching on the wall of the cave a procession of shadows cast by people and objects passing behind them.

This is our situation in the world, says Socrates, and he discusses the likely experience of a prisoner who escapes from the cave up to the sunlight and later returns to try to free his fellow prisoners, only to be rebuffed and called a madman.

Now consider the dramatic structure of the Republic. Let us begin at the very beginning, with the famous opening of Book I: Polemarchus jokingly says that they cannot leave: If not, you will have to stay. There will be a festival, dinner, conversation. Glaucon is persuaded and Socrates goes along with the opinion of the majority.

Home is abandoned, for now. Thus, the whole Republic represents the sojourn of Glaucon in the Piraeus, accompanied by Socrates.

We can easily see the intended parallel: Henceforth, the drama of the Republic will consist of whether Socrates can persuade Glaucon to return home. As the friends talk on, the conversation turns to the nature of virtue and justice. At the beginning of Book II, Glaucon says he is not persuaded that being just is better and a cause of greater happiness than being unjust, and wants to see a purely just and purely unjust soul.

Socrates says we are not keen-sighted enough to see into the soul, and suggests that they look at something larger, namely a polis. Note that the only purpose of introducing the polis is to gain insight into the individual soul.

The city they will describe does not have a political function; it has only a cognitive function. By the end of Book IV they have finished surveying the ideal polis, and can thus describe the soul of the just individual, which they do.

The ideal city has served its purpose, and is no longer needed or heeded.

But just as they are about to go on to consider bad cities and unjust individuals, Polemarchus and Adeimantus want to hear more about the institutions of the just city, such as about gender equality in education, and the community of wives and children. Glaucon shares their interest, which Socrates gratifies.

This climaxes when Glaucon with much impatience asks Socrates to drop everything else and explain how this city is possible. Glaucon seems here to be beyond any possible interest in returning home.

This could be called the low point of the Republic. Socrates says that the ideal polis would be possible only if philosophers become the rulers. The interest of Glaucon then shifts to the nature and education of the philosopher-rulers.

Glaucon agrees, and they drop any further talk about the just polis. A philosopher may be infinitely interesting. Apparently, a philosopher-king is not. There is an important passage at the end of Book IX — the high-point of the dialogue: It makes no difference whether it exists somewhere or will exist [my italics].

He would do the work of this [paradigm] alone and of no other. At the end of Book X Socrates tries one last time to persuade Glaucon to return home by telling him a myth.

In this myth Homeric heroes choose their lives. Odysseus draws the last lot, and he chooses a life neglected by all the others; that of a private individual completely uninvolved in practical affairs. At the end of this myth Glaucon is silent.

The things that platos republic and thomas mores utopia share in common

Does this mean he is not persuaded to forsake the Cave world of appearance and its affairs? We are invited by Plato to wonder about the answer to this question.

What we can say is that the ultimate core of the political problem is to be found in the soul of Glaucon, and concerns whether he will continue to remain here in the Cave or be persuaded to return home.From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes Utopia Study Guide has everything you need to .

-Sir Thomas More was a notable English humanist, author, and statesman. He served in the court of King Henry VIII.

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-His most notable work as Utopia, published in It told of a island society not unlike that of England, but with very different views and practices toward politics, religion, and. The Relationship between Plato's Republic and Thomas More's Utopia The trite cliche that no man is an island applies equally well to political philosophies.

The Republic is Plato’s most famous dialogue, contains many of his best-known arguments and is one of the great classics of world literature. It is also the victim of a serious and widespread misconception, in that it is held to present a political utopia, a polis [city state] to be imitated.

More expands on the Republic Thomas More's Utopia, published in , built on the foundation of Plato's Republic. It copied many of the classic's ideas—for example, children were common property of the community in both—with a distinctly Christian twist absent from Plato's work.

Plato on utopia. First published Thu Dec 5, ; substantive revision Mon Feb 5, but each shareholder must consider his share to be at the same time the common property of the whole city The Argument of Plato’s Republic, Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Ross, W.D.,

Plato on utopia (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)