Equality In Plato

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In Book V of The Republic of Plato, Plato explores equality of the sexes and abolition of the family, in his ideal and just city. The first “wave” delineates that the same education should be provided for men and women. Moreover, the second “wave” highlights the roles of women and children in the community. These first two “waves” are connected and they reveal insight into the project of the city. Plato, in his writing, uses powerful examples that work to communicate his ideas in a less extreme manner. Despite that, this does not work to explain why Plato feels so strongly about equality in the just city. In working through this argument, there are many difficulties in connecting it to the question of justice. It is hard to say, initially,…show more content…
Societal familial roles in existence now are imposed from birth and, because of this, make it hard to imagine family bonds formed in any other way. In today’s society, there’s little to no difference in how children ‘turn out’ based on if they were raised by an adoptive or biological family. This proves that family is not necessarily a genetic matter; building from this, it is possible that Plato was ahead of his times with his ideas of family. Nonetheless, this does not account for the abolition of the family as a whole or the extensive repercussions that stem from it. An important issue that must be examined in accordance with the abolition of family is the space for friendship. If, by demolishing the nuclear family, a larger communal family is created, citizens cannot reap the benefits of friendship. Additionally, treating everyone as family member is essentially making nobody a part of a family. When eliminating the inherent small size and intimate nature of a family, there is not a great deal of other conditions in place to continue considering the relationships familial. More specifically, Socrates states, "All these women are to belong to all these men…show more content…
Likewise, he spells out that justice is inclusive of morality and righteousness and that a person’s conduct affects others. All in all, Plato asserts that justice is directly related to the quality of soul. Tying this back to men and women being guardians, Plato considers the idea that morality and righteousness are independent of gender. He furthers this idea with writing, “Therefore, my friend, there is no practice of a city's governors which belongs to woman because she's woman, or to man because he's man; but the natures are scattered alike among both animals; and woman participates according to nature in all practices, and man in all…” (455d6-9). In accordance with the previous statements, Plato unites the ideas of justice and equality by not accepting the societal norms of this time period. Equally important, Plato’s introduction of these forward-thinking ideas may have been the planting of a seed, in the sense that he induced thoughts about equality in his community. In understanding that there is not a correlation between one’s gender and one’s nature, equality is easier to attain in the just
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