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PLATO:

Plato was born in 427 BC and died in 347 BC. He was a very active and vibrant student of
Socrates. He belonged to a aristocratic family. His father was a prominent politician of Athens.
After his father’s death his mother made second marriage with another well prominent politician
of Athens. Plato’s mother was a highly connected lady and very prominent among the
government machinery. As a child of an active political family, Plato observed and watched all
the ups and downs of Athens’ politics and problems of legislation, leadership and executive.
Plato was a great thinker, politician and statesman by birth and he became a great philosopher
under Socrates. Plato has a great written work. His most famous book is The Republic.
After the death of Socrates Plato travelled a lot in different countries and societies. Plato
went to Egypt and learn cast system and mathematics there. He went to Italy and learn politics
and religious thoughts there. He went to Pythagorean society and learn philosophy, religion and
idea of soul there..
After his travelling’s, Plato returned back to Athens and found the first formal educational
institution in the known man’s history and named it “The Academy”. Plato did a great work for
philosophy and his work is appreciated even in modern times.
None of the predecessors of Plato had constructed a system of philosophy. What they had
produced, and in great abundance, were isolated philosophical ideas, theories, hints, and
suggestions. Plato was the first person in the history of the world to produce a great all-
embracing system of philosophy, which has its ramifications in all departments of thought and
reality. In doing this, Plato laid all previous thought under contribution. He gathered the entire
harvest of Greek philosophy. He was given the best education that an Athenian citizen of those
days could obtain.
For the last eight years of the life of Socrates, Plato was his friend and his faithful
disciple. The teaching and personality of the master constituted the supreme intellectual impulse
of his life, and the inspiration of his entire thought.

PLATO’S TIME:

When Plato was born in Athens, Athens was in state of war with Sparta. That war was called
Peloponnesian war and it was continued for 26 years.
The Peloponnesian war ended in the complete downfall of Athens as a political power.
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And the internal affairs of the State were in no less confusion than the external. Here, as
elsewhere, a triumphant democracy had developed into mob-rule. Then at the close of the

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Peloponnesian war, the aristocratic party again came into power with the Thirty Tyrants, among
whom were some of Plato's own relatives. But the aristocratic party, so far from improving
affairs, plunged at once into a reign of bloodshed, terror, and oppression. These facts have an
important bearing upon the history of Plato's life.
There was several horrible crimes which became habit of the Athenian people. Council of
400, Rule of 30 tyrants and Government of 500 were systems which were proved ineffective
unsatisfactory for the running of government machinery. Although Socrates tried his best to root
out the ignorance but after his death ignorance started its rule again over the Athenian society.
There was a great discrimination between rich and poor and oppressors were ruling the
oppressed. The society was badly ill and sick because of evil.
For the treatment and cure of society Plato gave different theories. We will discuss some
of those here.
1. Theory of education
2. Theory of state
3. Theory of communism and family
4. Theory of specialization

THEORY OF STATE:

Plato gave an idea of state. According to him there is an ideal state which is free for
crimes, ills and sickness of evil and having an ideal government with ideal citizens in it but this
state does not exist here in this world but it exists in an ideal world (we will read about ideal
world later). We can never make that ideal state here in this world but we can go near to its
perfection i.e. that we can never make an ideal state but we can make a state which will be 90 to
99 percent similar to ideal state.
To make our state like ideal state we need a philosopher king. Philosopher king is a
person who has studied under the educational system given by Plato and has passed all the stages
successfully. Only a philosopher king can cure the society.
Plato classify the human being into 3 categories i.e. copper, silver and gold. A man of
copper can be converted into man of gold by giving him education and knowledge.
But how an ordinary person can be changed into a philosopher king? For this Plato gave
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an educational system which is under stated briefly.

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THEORY OF EDUCATION:

1. A state controlled and censored syllabus.


2. Education for all without discrimination of gender.
3. Elementary education for all.
4. Two stages of education.

A. Elementary stage (3 to 20 years of age)

a. 3 to 6
Moral and religious stories and tales
b. 7 to 18
Gymnastic, reading writing, music, poetry and mathematics.
c. 19 to 20
Gymnastic and army training and then 1 st eliminating test. Student who will
eliminate, go to the low rank soldiers and warriors and who will pass, will go
to the next stage.

B. Higher Education:

a. 20 to 30
Students will study Astronomy, advance mathematics, science and logic and
then 2nd eliminating test will be conducted and failed students will go to
administration and auxiliaries and successful students will go to next stage.
b. 30 to 35
Students will learn the method and techniques of dialectics and ethics. 3 rd
eliminating test will be conducted and passed students will go in the next
stage and failed students will go to the high rank military officials and high
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rank civil administration.

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c. 35 to 50
Students will attached with prominent, intellectual and wise politicians for 15
years and learn the art of politics from them by working with them in practical
politics and then the students who will pass the test will be a philosopher king
and be ready to govern the people.

THEORY OF COMMUNISM AND FAMILY:

Plato thought that desire bring forth evil in human being and if we suppress the desire
then we could make our decisions more accurately and wisely. A philosopher king will not a
slave of greed, selfishness and desires rather he will be free from all of these evils. This will
make possible by keeping the philosopher king from ownership of anything whether it is family,
property, children or money. A philosopher king can not own any thing because ownership is first
step towards selfishness. This theory is called theory of communism and family.

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Muhammad Hamzah Hashmi ACME College of Excellence wasique.shah@gmail.com