Tuesday, April 25, 2017

There is no Wisdom Unsustained by Power

Socrates declares the just city complete. Since this city has been created to be the best city possible, we can be sure that it has all the virtues. In order to define these virtues, all we need to do is look into our city and identify them. So we will now look for each of the four virtues: wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice.

We find wisdom first. Wisdom lies with the guardians because of their knowledge of how the city should be run. If the guardians were not ruling, if it were a democracy, say, their virtue would not translate into the virtue of the city. But since they are in charge, their wisdom becomes the city’s virtue. Courage lies with the auxiliaries. It is only their courage that counts as a virtue of the city because they are the ones who must fight for the city. A courageous farmer, or even ruler, would do the city no good. Moderation and justice, in contrast to wisdom and courage, are spread out over the whole city. Moderation is identified with the agreement over who should rule the city, and justice, finally, is its complement—the principle of specialization, the law that all do the job to which they are best suited.

So now we have reached one of our two aims, at least partially. We have identified justice on a city-wide level. Our next task is to see if there is an analogous virtue in the case of the individual.
- Ch IV Summary, Plato's "Republic"

5 comments:

Jersey McJones said...

So, what's with that Plato citation?

JMJ

-FJ said...

Proof for the thesis.

Jersey McJones said...

LOL! Okay. Still have no idea, though...

JMJ

-FJ said...

Well, Jersey, you could be the "wisest" man in ALL the world. But if there aren't "guardians" in the city/state/nation who "enforce" your wisdom, who "fight" to sustain your wisdom with "courage", it's as if your wisdom doesn't exist at all. That's because wisdom is the "opposite" of what everyone believes to be "justice"... of the right to do your own thing w/o being "interfered with". Wisdom "interferes".

Without power sustaining wisdom, wisdom is mere "foolishness".

-FJ said...

As Hamlet said (Act IV ScIV)...

"How all occasions do inform against me,
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
Sure, he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and god-like reason
To fust in us unused. Now, whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on the event,
A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward, I do not know
Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do;'
Sith I have cause and will and strength and means
To do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me:
Witness this army of such mass and charge
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit with divine ambition puff'd
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death and danger dare,
Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour's at the stake. How stand I then,
That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep? while, to my shame, I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
That, for a fantasy and trick of fame,
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain? O, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!
"

Wisdom needs a cause, will, strength, and "means to do it". W/o ALL of them, it's mere foolishness.