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Plato Republic Book 4 Analysis Essay

Plato’s “Republic” is a seminal text, that explores; the definition of justice, the character and order of a just city and the minutiae of human experience. Specifically in Book IV, Republic examines the four main virtues of life; Justice, wisdom, courage and moderation. Through this chapter one can postulate that for the harmony of the city and the individual the tenure of moderation and spirit must always be balanced. However book IV, is not simply suggesting, that moderation means a man is necessarily always the strongest version of himself; “in his soul, there resides a better principle and a weaker” (Republic, 431a). Socrates is instead highlighting the dualistic nature of the soul and that human emotion and action function on binaries….

The dichotomy between State and individual that had been gently and covertly evolving through the last three dialogues comes into fruition towards the latter of Book IV. Eventually Socrate’s discloses a key parallel; The City is the macrocosm of the individual and they should mirror each others principles. The compartmentalising of ones soul alludes to one of the key paradoxes of Socratic intellectualism. Human experience regularly contradicts the notion that if a person knows the right thing to do they will do it; throughout existence there are a plethora of situations in which people knowingly do the wrong thing. By implementing non-rational parts of the soul, the dialectic of Plato’s Republic introduces the reality that people often do what we know to be wrong. We are moved, by appetite. Through the process of subdividing ones soul, a new idea of virtue comes to fruition, firstly the realisation of the importance in gaining knowledge and understanding which is the base of virtue; the second to realise that appetite and spirit can work in cohesion with reason in understanding. Thus, the non-rational parts of the soul attain dependable habits to which the moral virtues can come to…

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