Lying In Plato's The Republic

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The ideal city requires lying in order to reach the ideal point of a city. The ideal city must keep its people just. It is argued in The Republic that “each one must practice one of the functions in the city, that one for which his nature made him naturally fit.” (4, 433 a). After all, it only makes sense that in certain areas there are people who are simply better fit than others. In the society that Socrates creates, this idea is taken to an extreme. Each and every person has a designated task on which they must focus on, and each man focuses solely on their own. Socrates describes this as just and that when each man is just “then the just man will not be any different from the just city with respect to the form of justice, but will be like…show more content…
Following along the idea of separation, and designation, also leads to a very important point. Lying, though necessary to a city, can not be performed by any common man. In fact it is said that it is only“appropriate for the rulers, if for anyone at all, to lie for the benefit of the city in cases involving enemies or citizens” (3, 389 b). As discussed before, each person is assigned to their own tasks. It naturally applies to the leaders, as well. If the people were given power the city would never manage to reach its greatest point. It is in this sole case that lying is ever allowed in the ideal city, as the leaders are quite literally born with the ability to rule as best suits the city, if they feel that a certain situation requires the use of lying, then it follows that this is true. Especially in the case of the three classes that each person is told they are a part of. It is believed in the city of Socrates that “Meddling among the classes, of which there are three, and exchange with one another is the greatest harm for the city and would most correctly be called extreme evil-doing” (4, 434 b-c). There is no greater chance to ruin all the city has built up then by allowing the mixing of different classes. Allowing one person to fall into the role of something of which they are unfit to perform, especially if one were to fall into the role of a guardian, would undoubtedly lead to disaster in a city, or at the very least, the upbringing of a lesser
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