utopias: Topics by oculo-facial-surgery.info
La utopía, la ciudad y la máquina If I can establish this relationship, more than one insight should flow from it: not least an will throw an oblique light upon both the ancient city and the post-Platonic literature of utopias. Dombrowski, Daniel A., A platonic philosophy of religion: a process perspective, Relation, logos, intuition, Paris, L'Harmattan, , 81 p. Fédier La kallipolis e l'Atene del tempo di Atlantide», Utopia, ancient and modern (recueil) , . Helmer, Étienne, «La ciudad realizable de Platón: el uso racional de las . relationship with no choice or goals, and its assumption that the environment Thus, "the contemplative platonic model" of utopia was . for example, who was the promulgator of linear planning, proposed the Ciudad.
Second, I offer an interpretation of the myth of Er as a political myth that grounds freedom within a cosmic and political framework that sets limits on human action.
I conclude with a reflection upon Odysseus's choice in the myth and how his choice is reflective of a Socratic embodiment of autonomy and freedom within the constraints of cosmic and political necessity. I Socrates' criticisms of poetry in book X are primarily epistemological, but result in profound political implications. Poetry lacks "knowledge" of its subject matter. While the poet might be inspired, or might even accidentally say things that are true, even great poets such as Homer do not possess definite knowledge of what they describe.
There is evidence for this claim, Socrates says. Socrates says that when it comes to the craft of a couch, there are three types of creation that are possible: Socrates returns to the ontology that he had previously set out in the middle books, a division between forms and ordinary material things, but now additionally suggests that there are not only forms of moral or aesthetic goods beauty, justice, and so onbut also forms of everyday objects.
The painter only imitates, but does not create. The painter does not imitate the truth, or the being of anything, but only imitates the look of something.
For he lacks the knowledge of how to make the real object; if one were to ask a painter to make a couch, he will be unable to do so, qua painter, even if he is a master of imitation and can make a realistic looking painting. Thus, the painter's limit is not only epistemological, but also a creative limit.
He cannot bring into being couches in the same way that a craftsmen does. One naturally might object that the painter, of course, never intended to do so. A painter wishes to express something about his or her subject matter, and the manner of the construction of a "real" couch is incidental to that larger aesthetic meaning. Indeed, the Republic itself includes an image of a kind of couch: Cephalus is first describes as seated on a "cushioned stool" in a courtyard in which a number of such stools are arranged in a circle c.
No doubt Plato as author is not any more capable of constructing such seating than any other non-specialist, but his inclusion of seating in Socrates' description lends information to us. For example, the cushioned stool implies that Cephalus is wealthy enough to afford such luxuries, not only for himself but also for his friends. We know that the participants in the conversation are seated in a circle in which all can see and hear one another equally.
Socrates does not offer a whole scale rejection of all poetry. Rather, he goes on to connect poetry's tendency toward "removedness" from the truth to knowledge claims. While we know that there is no human being who is a master of all crafts, and of all knowledge associated with all crafts, some poets seem to make knowledge claims that range over many realms of expertise.
Poets such as Homer attempt to imitate many things: Moreover, these poets implicitly make moral claims about the thoughts, words, and actions of the characters whom they portray.
They even represent the gods and attribute to the gods a variety of words and actions. The force with which they can convey their ideas may dazzle the audience who listens, for they bring an aesthetic power to their imitations. Instead of different colors of paint, the "colors" of the poet are rhythm, meter, and harmony, which make beautiful the things that he describes a.
The strongest evidence of this is that a poet who really knew of all these things should be able to act in a way that demonstrates such knowledge, Socrates argues. But we have no evidence that Homer, Thales, or Anacharsis could govern a city, help to write its laws, win wars, educate, or even make shoes, although he can describe them being made ca.
This imitator not only lacks knowledge, but even lacks right opinion, because he has no one who does know to guide him in his artistry. In this manner, Socrates dethrones the poet.
Socrates' arguments perhaps culminate in his famous words that there is a great "quarrel between philosophy and poetry" b. One might be tempted to place the words of the philosopher in the realm of the one who knows truths according to their form, and does not imitate them, and so "solve" the problem of philosophy and poetry.
On this reading, the poet merely imitates, while the philosopher knows. However, this is an oversimplification, because of course, we also must note the imitative imagery that Socrates has used throughout this dialogue, both in narrating the dialogue's actions and in drawing comparisons between abstract ideas such as the form of the good and ordinary natural objects or artifacts such as the sun, or proportionally divided lines.
Moreover, we might ask, why do philosophy and poetry "quarrel" at all?
The Platonic City: History and Utopia - Persée
Another way of asking this question is to ask, for Plato, is there a distinctively philosophical language that can be entirely separated from poetry? Or is philosophical language itself at least sometimes also poetic and imitative, like the painter's imitation of the couch? I would suggest that the philosophical language of the Republic is poetic, but that Plato seeks to develop a specifically philosophical form of poetry that sets itself apart from much of tragic poetry. Platonic imagery is set out in such a way that it encourages and even entices its audience into self-reflection and critical distance from our dearly held beliefs ideas in ways that tragic poetry might not.
In the case of the Republic, such reflections on poetry ought also to lead the Republic's readers to question the limits as well as to note the strengths of the images of a city proposed in the dialogue. The various cities in speech, from the first simple city that Socrates proposes in book II, to a feverish city that eventually is purged, and onward to an ideal polis and its various degenerative relations in book VIII, are themselves poetic constructions.
In the Republic as a whole, Socrates' images are not distinct in the kind of language that they use: Compare Homer's description in the Odyssey of the sacrifice of a bull to a real sacrifice, and then Socrates' description of the sun as an image for the form of the good. Which image is clearer? Which gives us a better and more precise sense of the original that is being imitated?
Arguably, the Homeric image is more accessible and precise. However, Socrates' concern is neither with precision nor accessibility alone, but rather with the moral and political force of poetry.
Socrates' concern with poetry is not whether poets describe a craft such as shoemaking in exact terms, so that a listener can then know the proper way to make shoes. Instead, he objects to Homer's being revered as the educator of his time, as a moral and political authority who is not to be questioned or criticized.
Socrates argues that tragic poetry chooses imagery that arouses the "lower" parts of our souls rather than the rational part. The tragic poet, by awakening the emotions and appetites in the soul also debilitates the upper part of the soul, weakening reason and calculation.
Socrates' images might also awaken the not only the rational part of the soul, but also the thumotic and perhaps even appetitive. However, such images do so in a way that intends to be in accordance with rational aims.
Indeed, such philosophical poetry seems to be necessary in the case of highest goods such as the forms, for Socrates presents complete rational knowledge of the good as a regulative ideal rather than a current reality, at least in his own case. Socrates' treatment of the philosophical mode is more of a stance rather than an accomplishment. In the middle, most overtly metaphysical sections of the Republic, Socrates emphasizes that he lacks knowledge and may be "blind" or "crooked" in what he can offer ca.
Socrates insists that he has opinions about these things, but not knowledge. Still, he affirms the existence of the forms, even if his knowledge of them is incomplete. His stance is to seek the truth, to be oriented to a good outside himself, and to be willing to be transformed by the forms, and by his conversations with others McCoy Socrates' poetry is set apart from other kinds of poetry, insofar as his poetry explicitly promotes a philosophical stance.
His poetic images point his audience not only towards the forms but also to a basic stance of questioning and inquiry.
Socrates does not first work out philosophical content in some image free language, and then later, use images to communicate that knowledge. Rather, it seems that poetic images and Socratic questioning are both ways of engaging the friends with whom Socrates speaks, and pointing them beyond the image to the reality of the forms and also to the continued questions that can be asked about them. My suggestion here is that Socrates uses myth in a way that encourages critical reflection rather than discouraging it.
Philosophical poetry as used by Socrates in the dialogue does not overcome the problems of tragic poetry by displaying omniscience of the whole, or image-free knowledge. Instead, I suggest that Socrates' philosophical poetry incorporates its own limits within it. That is, Socrates uses philosophical imagery to point to realities that he admits to being somewhat perplexing. These images do not eliminate questions, but instead continue to deepen our questions further.
Philosophical poetry attempts to awaken the best part of the soul rather than the worst, not by claiming that its author is fully wise or accomplished, but rather by orienting us to critical reflection and questioning of realities, such as the forms, whose reality is not exhausted by our inevitably incomplete accounts of them.
As Roochnik has observed, there are numerous places in the book of the Republic where the action of the Republic seems to include actions forbidden in the perfect city in speech. In the perfect city, there are to be no portrayals of unjust men, or any mention of unjust acts by the gods. Thrasymachus is not only the image of an unjust man, but indeed offers a rather sophisticated defense of taking up a life of injustice. In the perfect city in speech, the practice of philosophy by those who have not yet gone through a rigorous program of mathematics is forbidden.
Yet Glaucon, Adeimantus, and many other "untrained" friends are there, participating in an impromptu philosophical discussion in Cephalus' home.
The Republic is not an ideal city but rather a reflection upon the nature of an ideal city that takes places in the not-ideal city, where ordinary human beings actually reside. Socrates' criticisms about the limits of poetry might allow us then to return to the earlier sections of the dialogue and to consider the limits of the images and ideas used thus far. For example, Socrates' ideal city includes women and men alike as necessary for the rule of the city.
Yet the drama of the dialogue includes no women, only men, in its discussion. Its image of the philosopher is decidedly male in the characters chosen to discuss the ideal polis.
Polemarchus will soon be dragged off the streets and killed because he has chosen the side of democrats over oligarchs. He favors justice as helping one's friends and harming one's enemies d. His brother, Lysias, is silent throughout the dialogue, although present throughout the discussion, and known to be a famous orator.
The historical Lysias will eventually argue for the moral culpability of those oligarchs such as Eratosthenes who stood by while persons such as Polemarchus were murdered, in his speech, "Against Eratosthenes". It does not address the ambiguous status that resident metics held as fundamental to the success of Athens, yet deprived of political rights.
In other words, the dialogue form does not allow us to forget ourselves in our current condition, in favor of an ideal, even as it does try to awaken us to move towards that ideal. The dialogue continually moves us between the imperfect, yet human reality of our own world through engagement with the imperfections of Athens' ownand the world of the forms, holding us in tension between them in the form of critical dialogue.
In section II below, I shall attempt to illustrate how the myth of Er itself engenders such critical reflection and serves as a reminder of moral choice within the real and ordinary city, after a long time spent on ideal cities. While much of the Republic concerns itself with an ideal city and just action within it, the final myth turns to human choice and action in the context of political and social imperfection and evil. II Death, of course, is something of which we have no direct experience.
While we may have experiences related to dying, the totality of that experience remains a mystery to all who are still alive, including Socrates who narrates the myth of Er. Socrates does not fully comprehend the cosmic context. Instead, Socrates sets his sights upon the cosmic whole in light of the reality of death. His story about death as a primary truth that is unknown, yet fundamental to our human condition, sets the limits of the dialogue, as death sets a limit to life. The myth contextualizes human life within a larger scheme of the cosmos.
Human life is presented in terms of a divine scheme, rather than only in terms of the needs of this particular city now, or the one person's particular goals at a single moment in his or her life. That is, the myth presents human life as possessing its fullest meaning only in view of a larger sense of the whole, but a whole not completely available to us. Socrates' earlier discussion of the perfect city in speech suggested the possibility of grasping the whole of justice.
In contrast, this final myth offers Socrates' audience a picture of human life that is oriented towards human limit in a cosmos that exceeds human comprehension. The myth of Er points us to human limit and imperfection and not ideals. Thus the myth serves as a powerful example of critical poetry that encourages and engenders critical reflection, as some forms of poetry might not. Critics are often puzzled by the myth of Er and its sudden introduction of cosmological themes in a dialogue so far that has limited itself to the scope of human justice.
Annas, for example, characterizes the myth as a "messy" end to the dialogue Annas Her criticism is not only aesthetic but rather deeply philosophical: Moreover, it is disappointing that all reward and punishment seems to be temporary and fleeting, such that the universe really does not seem to care at all about what happens to human beings. At most, the myth seems only to reemphasize Socrates' original point that the just life is the happiest because the soul is in harmony and ordered when it is ruled by reason.
The myth occurs in the context of finalizing Socrates' argument about the superiority of the just life to the unjust life. The myth returns to justice what had been taken away from it in book II for the sake of argument. While Glaucon had insisted that Socrates examine justice apart from its consequences, both for this life and after, Socrates is insistent that we do not have a complete picture of justice until we do add back the consequences.
Those who are just will not only be happy in their souls' being harmonious, but will also be rewarded Annas Glaucon's desire for the examination of pure justice, in and of itself, even "on the torture rack", needs to be tempered by the recognition that justice mostly does "pay", while injustice does not Johnson 3. However, the myth is not only oriented to the past decisions of those who have acted justly or unjustly, but also to the future choices of the ensouled lives after they have suffered reward or punishment and learned from their past actions.
My focus here will be on how the passages concerning the souls' choices of "new life" illuminate a Socratic concern with freedom in light of human limit. Er, unlike the other souls he meets, experiences his own death and then returns to the world of living human beings in order to tell about it. Er is not required to drink from the river, Lethe, a river of forgetfulness from which all others must drink. He does not forget his origin, while the rest of humanity must forget.
These themes of life, death, rebirth, memory, and the loss of memory, are best presented in mythic form since they all concern human limitation. The myth focuses on three kinds of human limit: Facing death embodies each of these three kinds of limits. We are limited in the length of life and have nearly no control over the timing or manner of its end. The circumstances that the dying encounter is generally a matter of external necessity: The human beings who choose new lives must live within the cosmological limits set out within it.
All must follow the directions of the judges who direct them either through the heavens or below the earth. Except for Er, all must drink and forget their past lives after they choose new ones. These souls are allotted a lottery number that narrows the range of lives that remain from which they might choose.
The three daughters of Fate each attend to different kinds of limit on human life. Clothe spins the thread, turning the outer revolution of the Spindle, and Atropos turns the inner portion, after which the thread is cut.
Lots are chosen that determine the order in which souls might choose lives. The limits set upon the souls' choice of a next life are substantial. Yet within this larger realm of Necessity, the human being has a range of choices available to him in response to his memory and past experiences that allow him to choose his own character in the future. Er hears a spokesperson for the Fates announce that the ultimate responsibility for choosing that life lies with the souls who choose: A demon will not select you, but you will choose a demon.
Let him who gets the first lot make the first choice of a life to which he will be bound by necessity. Paradoxically, this precise description fits into a legendary narrative, that of the triumphant struggle of archaic Athens against the empire of Atlantis, despite the great imbalance of forces: Athens counted only twenty thousand soldiers, the population of Atlantis was "beyond measure", judging from its meticulously described military resources.
It could call on ten thousand chariots and twelve hundred ships. It numbered sixty thousand districts and each district leader had to provide sixteen men. Its army thus enlisted nine hundred and sixty thousand men.
These numbers were obviously the product of fantasy. It is estimated for example, that thirty thousand Athenian soldiers took part in the battle of Salamis. Why this exaggeration in the narrative?
Here again the stakes are political. The dialogue assumes its full meaning in the light of Plato's hostility to democracy. In reality, Athens and Atlantis embody two opposing models. Prehistoric Athens refers to the City of the Republic but also to Sparta; Atlantis with its excessive size represents Athens at the time of Pericles. The dialogue that remained unfinished closes with the announcement of a punishment imposed by the gods on Atlantis, in order to "bring it back to reason".
This sentence provides the key to Critias. In keeping with the Platonic idea that all movement is an evolution towards decadence, Atlantis will be punished for having ex- History and Utopia panded constantly. It compounds the triple wrong of being an imperialist, bellicose shown by the size of its armyand lastly maritime power, having sought to open up to international trade through the construction of ports and a canal.
Although Plato takes care to inform us that the inhabitants of Atlantis, although they were barbarians, bore Greek names a- bit is clear that through Atlantis he is denouncing the maritime and imperialist power that Athens had been in the fifth century B.
When he writes that Atlantis "had rule over the whole island and several others, and over parts of the continent" Timaeus, 25bone thinks of the League of Delos. And when he evokes international trade — "Though their empire brought them a great external revenue" Critias, d —the comparison with the proud statement of Pericles is obvious: Its polemical objective is part and parcel of the political struggle that opposed oligarchy and democracy.
What ports, commercial activity and maritime expansion meant for the Athenian oligarchy must be kept in mind. We have seen that the sailors of Samos allowed the re-establishment of democracy in after the first oligarchic revolution, and that democrats sheltering in Piraeus were responsible for the failure of the second seizure of power by Critias and the Tyrants in As for the Long Walls, they draw a revealing commentary from Thucydides, a man not inclined to favour the democrats: Finally, inPseudo-Xenophanes' pamphlet entitled Constitution of Athens, probably written by Critias himself, develops two ideas: Oligarchy was fiercely hostile to everything that even remotely involved the sea, and Plato was no exception.
For Plato, understandably, everything that comes from the sea corrupts, is unhealthy, "motley" Laws, The City of Laws must be built inland, far from the shore. Charbit Sparta was close to the archaic Athens portrayed in Critias and Timaeus, and truly, everything opposed the Athenian and Spartan models. Sparta had renounced control of the sea in favour of a resolutely continental policy. It had chosen an autarkical way of life, based on the exploitation of peasants by a class of warriors, in a society that was closed to external influences, and went as far as prohibiting citizens from possessing gold and precious metals.
The Athenian oligarchy, on the other hand, had founded its wealth and political strength on landed resources, trade being mostly a business for foreigners.
Because it had the monopoly of socio- religious functions, it believed in a hierarchical divine order. Finally, despite its cronyism, it had to compromise with the sovereign people in the decision-making on the Agora. Hence the Athenian oligarchy's attempts at treason in favour of Sparta which dot the political history of Athens. Moderation and excess Although political history can explain the choice of arguments, it does not account for Plato's use of the myth of Atlantis.
Hesiod describes "a gradual and continuous decay", with man belonging successively to the golden, silver, bronze and iron races.
The myth is structured by the opposition between justice, dike, and violence and excess, hubris, which must not be allowed to fester. The golden age was felicitous, dike reigned, men possessed nothing and everything was given to them in plenty. At the end of the iron age, disorder, violence and death dominate, hubris will triumph.
The narrative clearly shows that the opposition between gold and silver evokes the struggle between Zeus who incarnates order, and the Titans who signify disorder and war. As for the iron age, this is where Prometheus' fate is engraved, who must struggle eternally to subsist, while Pandora symbolises the dual fertility of woman and the earth that pushes men to exhaustion. Let us come back to Plato and reconstitute our puzzle. The Critias is important not only as a polemical text but also because of its mythological History and Utopia dimension.
Myth provides the key to the deep links that unite Critias, Laws, and Republic, and reveals the underlying consistency between the three components of the Utopia of the ideal City in Republic, the organisation of space, the stationarity of 5, households, and the division of citizens into three social classes.
We have seen that the hubris and excesses of Atlantis invited the punishment of the gods. This is the core of Critias. The stationarity of the City, strongly emphasized in Laws through the number 5, is a means of avoiding decadence.
In the unmoving City, dike can function fully. Better still, the number 5, divisible by twelve like the twelve gods of the Pantheon, has a religious dimension that places the City under the protection of the gods.
Because the distribution of City land into twelve tribes conforms to the divine order, another cause of hubris at the heart of the City is eliminated. In this way, social organisation is strongly grounded and hubris is avoided since the guardians and the warriors who exercise temporal and religious powers belong to the golden race. As such, they are detached from all material contingencies. This last point has a strong justification.
Because political divisions undermine the concrete City, Plato wishes to make the ideal City one and homogeneous. And because of the identification of men with the City, there must not be the least individual difference between warriors and guardians. This accounts for the process of eugenic selection in Republic that eliminates all differences between individuals through the system of collective descentand also for the common model of education and the absence of economic activity that might be a source of discord and social differentiation.
Guardians and warriors can thus dedicate themselves fully to the exercise of political functions. Beyond the false demographic inconsistencies, the Platonic system has a cohesion structured by traditional religious thought. But this cohesion, as Popper rightly saw, is radically opposed to the inspired invention of modernity by classical Greece. We have dealt at length with the question of space because it demonstrates the constant interaction between the philosopher's thought process and the involvement of the politician in the conflicts of his time.
Those demographers who commented on Plato were more interested in a long-run perspective, and committed many anachronisms because time is a central dimension in their discipline, which more than any other brings into play dynamic analysis. Unfortunately, as we have seen, from the point of view of the City, time is not the most important dimension, and space is the true issue for Plato.
Several philosophical studies focus on the fault lines between Laws and the other dialogues. They argue that time takes on another nature in Laws compared with the other dialogues and becomes genuinely Charbit chronological and linear. When one concentrates on space, however, the strong coherence of Plato's thought appears, even if he evokes mythical spaces, and Laws fits in better into the corpus of dialogues.
In the end, how does the Utopian City of the Republic differ from the concrete City of the Lawsl Plato did not renounce philosophical Utopia, as Clisthenes did because he wanted to guarantee the democratic functioning of the City.
His aim was to place the City as much as possible "in the hands of the gods" The recourse to myth and the constant quest for religious legitimacy on partisan grounds follow from this logic. We have attempted to propose an interpretation of Platonic thinking on the demography of the City from an epistemological perspective. The attention paid by Plato to the quantification of the ideal City as well as the concrete City can be understood only from the dual viewpoint of philosophy and history which must be articulated constantly.
Are "precursors" like Plato relevant for today's demography? Can a Utopian model be used as such? In the negative, can it at least partially sustain a discussion of contemporary doctrines and policies in the area of population? Throughout his article, Vilquin argues that Plato's recourse to eugenic measures and his concern for a stationary population are essentially totalitarian: Vilquin finds an obvious parallel with the totalitarian systems of today.
The same objection may well apply to Vilquin as to Stange- land. The latter criticised Plato with the conservative reflexes of the late nineteenth century What if society became proletarian? The former translates, perhaps unconsciously, the anxiety of modern democracies confronted with the bloody implementation of certain modern Utopias such as the tragedy lived by Cambodia at the time when Vilquin wrote.
But the stakes go beyond an epistemological debate. The fundamental issue is that History and Utopia 23 1 of ends and means. It behoves us then to ask whether the Platonic Utopia is really totalitarian. Karl Popper articulates the most scathing criticism.
He sees in Plato the enemy of the open society, because his thinking is totalitarian in nature. The concept of justice is adduced as proof. What Plato calls justice is not equity in the democratic sense but the interest of the City Republic, a, b, d.