Metaforyczne ujęcie dobra państwa w politycznej teorii Platona
Metaphorical Account of Goodness of polis in Plato’s Political Theory
Languages of publication
In this article Plato’s views on goodness of state (polis) are investigated. The study involves a reconstruction of three ways in which Plato describes the goodness of state. Firstly, the metaphorical account is analysed on the basis of some examples from Statesman and from Republic. Secondly, the approach to the concept of goodness that is strictly connected to the concept of justice (which is the leitmotiv of Republic) is considered. Lastly, the paper includes the examination of the relation between the concept of goodness and the law on one hand, and the structure of Forms on the other hand. Deliberation on the role of the metaphor (as a conceptual phenomenon), based especially on the juxtaposition of poleis’ political systems and citizens’ characters (eighth book of Republic), leads to the conclusion that there are three ways in which Plato conceives of state, mixed together in the three literary descriptions. Reductionist point of view that can be associated with Santas’s “functional theory of the good” puts emphasis on citizens’ natural needs. Within this standpoint state can be regarded merely as a form of human social life, and the goodness of state is simply a metaphor. From holistic perspective, contrary to the reductionist standpoint, state is treated as a separate, or even living, entity consisting of the citizens as its elements, and having its own interests. This approach gives priority to the goodness of state, which is primal in relation to the goodness of citizen. Probably, the most representative for Plato’s way of thinking is the paradigmatic point of view, which is present in his Theory of Forms. From this angle, state and human soul are isomorphic objects. Therefore they are subjects of the same attributes, connected with virtues (aretai). However, Plato does not explicitly declare which conceptualisation should be regarded as the most adequate. This makes Plato’s political theory incoherent, and may be the reason why it is so controversial.
Publication order reference