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PDF Women in Plato’s Political Theory

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Morag Buchan explores Plato's writings to argue his notions of the inferior female and the superior male.

Great Philosophers: Plato - The Dialogue Form - Republic

While Plato appears to allow women equal opportunity and participation of political life in the Ideal State in The Republic, his motivation rests on masculine ideals. Women in Plato's Political Theory examines issues including women's relationship to men, to reproduction, to rational thought and politics in Plato's work, and addresses more generally the problem of sexual identity in philosophy. This book is an important contribution toward a wider interpretation of Platonic philosophy. The Transcendent Male.

The Immanent Female. The Nature of Women and the World of Politics. Plato and Feminism. A Return to the Gender Debate. He thinks of his body as a direct and normal connection with the world, which he believes he apprehends objectively, whereas he regards the body of woman as a hindrance, a prison, weighed down by everything peculiar to it. Then if men or women as a sex appear to be qualified for different skills or occupations, 1 said, we shall assign these to each accordingly; but if the only difference apparent between them is that the female bears and the male begets, we shall not admit that this is a difference relevant for our purpose, but shall still maintain that our male and female Guardians ought to follow the same occupations.

Feminist Interpretations of Plato

For us, it is in the confession that truth and sex are joined, through the obligatory and exhaustive expression of an individual secret. He then asks us to imagine the sailors, all of which are arguing about who should have control of the helm while none of them have studied navigation. The sailors don't even know that there is such a thing as the craft of navigation. All the sailors try to convince the owner to give control of the ship over to them, and whoever convinces him becomes the navigator or captain.

They manipulate and trick the owner into giving over the helm.

The true captain, the one with the knowledge of navigation is seen as a useless stargazer and never becomes the helmsman. The true captain represents a philosopher-king, who knows the forms of justice and goodness.

In the Republic, the character of Socrates outlines an ideal city-state which he calls 'Kallipolis'. Plato's ideal rulers are philosopher-kings.

1. Introduction: The Question and the Strategy

Not only are they the most wise, but they are also virtuous and selfless. To combat corruption, Plato's Socrates suggests that the rulers would live simply and communally. Contrary to societal values at the time, Socrates suggests that sex should not be a factor in deciding who should rule, so women as well as men can rule. Socrates proposes that the Guardians should mate and reproduce, and that the children will be raised communally rather than by their biological parents.

The children's biological parents will never be known to them, so that no Guardian will prefer his or her own offspring over the common good.

The Role Of Women In Plato’s Republic

The children of the guardian class will be tested, and only the most wise and virtuous will become rulers. Karl Popper blamed Plato for the rise of totalitarianism in the 20th century , seeing Plato's philosopher kings, with their dreams of ' social engineering ' and ' idealism ', as leading directly to Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin via Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx respectively.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See also: Anti-democratic thought.


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Further information: Ship of State. THe Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.