Thursday, July 3, 2008

plato's class of society (argument)

Based on plato’s class of society, he divided society into three layer which are philosopher – king, guardian and artisans. He also clarify justice as giving man his due or in other word, put something in it’s own place. Some overview toward the social stratification in city-state according to plato, he mention about three soul and virtue that should have in people based on it status, there are rational soul and wisdom for philosopher-king , spirited soul and courage for guardian and appetitive soul and temperance for artisans.

My critical analysis toward Plato’s class of society is that the idea that he bring is more or less beneficial to people in one state. Ones who become philosopher-king must go through the education process. I give credit to this idea because through education, therefore we will get a good ruler soon. But, not only education, virtue also must be included in this aspect. That is what Plato’s highlight in his ideology. I just want to criticize what plato said about the guardian class. He said that, guardian class should not have private property and family because if they have so, it wills reluctance them to go for war. Moreover, for him, private family is a moral evil for guardian. I understand why plato said that way, it because of the duty of guardian as a guard to a state and it should have a sense of courage to go for war. But, in my humble opinion, it includes the sense of rigidity. There are plenty of ways in order to make the guardian still commit with their task, but not block the desire. For sure they also want family like other people. I do understand that plato come out with this ideology is based on his logical thinking. For a muslim, if we can recall our muslim history, during Prophet era, the soldier or the guardian if we can similar it, most of them have family and its doesn’t effect them totally to go for war. It all appears based on their consciousness in order to protect their state and somehow their family who give support to them to go for war. For example, Asma’ Abu Bakr, daughter of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, had prepared food for her father and Prophet in the cave of Thur during the time when the Quraisy leader want to kill Prophet. This is one example that can be shown in muslim history.

Regarding the artisans people, I do agree that it should have an appetitive soul and temperance in virtue. They should moderate in the way they life because one of the factor is they are producer for guardian and also philosopher – king. But, I wonder why this class of people could not be a philosopher-king. Is that because they are not capable or they are not suitable with the duty as a ruler of state. But, if this class of people were giving a training and same education process like philosopher-king, I think they also can be a philosopher-king soon. One thing that I am not clear about plato’s class of society is if he said that working class or artisans is an important thing in order to built a perfect state to provide material thing for philosopher-king and guardian, why he mention just a little about this class. Why should this class be a focus for him in order to come out with the idea of state. Moreover, somehow I think that this class of society very strict in term of classify people into their class. To sum up, the idea of Plato regarding the class of society that have made by him in order to maintain justice in society can be accepted. Yes, it is true he said that if we put something in wrong place, there will be chaos. For example if guardian become philosopher-king, there must be lacking here and there.

Lastly, I make critique based on my status as a muslim people, therefore for me honestly, the ideology that bought by plato can be accepted if it is not strictly focus on the task of people by neglecting their nature as human being. I appreciate what plato had done because of the idea also Al- Farabi also known as plato in Islam had come out with the theory of Philosopher – Imam in his book Ara’ madinah al- fadhilah and moreover it become reference for muslim community.

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