The Republic is a book by Plato. It was finished in 390 BC. It asks the question 'why should people do good things?' and also the question 'are people punished for doing bad things?'. Plato said that people should not do bad things because people who do bad things end up unhappy. However, people who do good things end up happy.
He also said that if people who do bad things get power in a society then that society will become an unhappy one. Plato believed that philosophers are best able to do good things and so they should be given power in a society. He thought that non-philosophers should allow themselves to be ruled by philosophers and that if they do this then they will be happy, because the rule of peoples (democracy) often fall because of unreasonable confusion. However, in order not to be tempted to do bad things, the philosophers who have power must not be able to have things or feel love.
Plato's argument (Less Simple)
Plato thought that people are made of three things:
- A mind that thinks and reasons
- A spirit or a self that looks after the person
- A body that does things, likes things, hates things and wants things (such as food and drink).
He said that a good person will listen to all these things, but will let the mind control the other two.
Somebody who does not listen to all three parts, or who does not let the mind control the other two will be unhappy. They might go mad because they do not let the mind control them. Or they might do things that they later regret. They will also be disliked by other people and will suffer because of that. He said that they will be like a country in anarchy.
Plato also thought society should be made up of three things (types of people)
- Philosophers who think for the society
- Soldiers who look after the society
- Workers who do things in the society, who make food, drink and more workers.
He said that society needs all three things (types of people) but that only the philosophers will be good people. The others will be dominated by their souls or bodies, not their minds. The soldiers will not even listen to their minds, and the workers will not listen to their minds or their souls. This is why the philosophers should rule and the other types of people should be soldiers and workers.
The Republic Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.