POLSC201: Unit 1 Discussion


The three classes in Socrates “ideal city are the Producers, Auxiliaries and Guardians. Producers are the producing class and make up the largest class of society; this group includes all professions other than warrior and ruler. This group includes famers, craftsmen, merchants, doctors, artists, actors, lawyers, judges, and so forth. According to Socrates, in his ideal city the producers have no share in ruling, but simply obey the rules set by the rulers. Their focus is exclusively on producing whatever it is that they are best suited to produce such as agriculture, shoes, carpentry or medicine etc.
The Auxiliaries are the warrior class who are responsible for defending the city from invaders and for keeping the peace at home. Auxiliaries are also responsible for enforcing the convictions or rules of the guardians.
The Guardians are the ruling class within Socrates ideal city and are solely responsible for ruling and setting the rules for the city. Guardians chosen from among the ranks of the auxiliaries, and are also known as philosopher-kings.


Socrates believed that the ideal city was composed of three different social classes: guardians, auxiliaries, and producers. The guardians were both the heads of the city and its lawmakers. The next class, auxiliaries were subject to the guardians and protected the city. Finally, the producers only worried about obeying the laws given to them by the rulers and working as craftsman, farmers, or doctors.


Aristotle believed that friendship was vital to attain life’s ultimate goal–happiness. Plato, however, believed justice was the greatest goal in life, and friendships might get in the way of achieving that.


Aristotle claims that “Man is by nature a political animal.” This quote indicates that Aristotle believed man to be only above animals because of his use of speech and reasoning and that men use speech to discuss and create political ideas. It is, therefore, in man’s nature to be political. This idea is evident in today’s societies because no matter what city, state, country, or civilization one may live in or visit some sort of political idea or government is put into place.


I am reminded of the song by People who need People. Relationships are vital to growth, learning and life. For friendships to be real they must be honest and high integrity. Since Aristotle believed virtue is cultivated through experiences and we truly cannot experience life to the fullest without relationships, to attain true happiness we must have relationships. Plato on the other hand believed justice is most important and sometimes that can in some situations cause one to have to choose between justice and that of a particular friendship.


This quote that “man is a political animal indicates that Aristotle believed man to be higher than animals because of his use of speech and reasoning. It is because of speech that man is able to discuss, create ideas and deliberate. Speech, therefore gives man a voice, which in turn is necessary in developing political ideas and ideologies, necessary for every government. Every city or state is governed through political ideologies. This is especially true of the American culture, which is made up of ideologies or political ideas rather than specific cultural customs and this makes America stand out from other nations states.


Socrates divides the order of his ideal city into three classes: the rulers, or guardians, who take no property or gold for fear they are corrupted, the auxiliaries, who defend the city and fight its wars, and the producers, those who handle tasks like metalworking and tailoring. He states that for this order to never be disturbed they must commit a grand conspiracy by telling the youngest generation their youth was an illusion and they had actually been born in the earth and ascended from the earth into this ideal city, making the city their mother and their countrymen their brothers and sisters. They are to be told that because they were born of the earth they are constituted of gold, silver, iron, and bronze. These metals correspond to their class in society. Those with the most gold are to be rulers, silver, auxiliaries, and bronze and iron for the producing class. The ruling class is to be told they can not take gold because their inner, divine gold would be profaned by the inferior, physical gold. Socrates goes on to state that this ideal city would not have money at all, and stay relatively small to accommodate for this.


The Socratic method is a series of rapid fire questioning that leave us questioning the notions we held at the start of it all. This is used by teachers to deconstruct the thinking of their student on a subject to better facilitate new thinking and allow them to view their ideas as individual parts rather than as a singular thought. Medical practitioners use this method to better diagnose patients, a misdiagnosis can prove fatal, and sometimes a patient will enter their office with an idea of their illness that may not be true. A doctor knows better to let his patient’s idea of his illness influence his own judgement, so he questions the patient to the point they start to challenge their own self-diagnosis, which are typically inconsistent and conjectural sometimes even containing imagined symptoms. In the case of the legal scholar, the goal of his practice is like Socrates’s: to discover the nature of justice. He must question the law endlessly to uncover whether it is serving in the interest of justice. If laws are allowed to be made unchecked there will be more and more arbitrary, obtuse laws made that in turn will lead us to question the whole of our systems. law is the process of deconstruction and reconstruction, much in line with Socratic thinking.


When we talk of Socratic, what do we mean by this word?
Is it a name of a person or a theory?


The ideal city, according to Socrates should be comprised of three classes. The Auxiliaries or warriors, who are responsible for defending the city from invaders and keeping peace in it; the Guardians or philosopher-kings, who are chosen from the Auxiliaries and responsible for ruling the city; and the Producers or everybody else, who make up the largest class in society, have no share in the ruling of the city and are responsible for the production of all the goods and services within the city. This breakdown alone caused me to question only the idea of the ideal city, but society as a whole. Socrates’ “evil twin” or opposing character had a great point in the second and third books where he expressed how the idea of following rules that are created in the interest of others is a “fool’s game”. The idea that “justice” should be one-sided is the very reason our country is in the condition that it is today.


The Socratic Method is used in professions such as teaching, law and medicine because this method provokes questioning what is already known and therefore forces constant advancements. In law, the laws need to grow and change with the society it protects; in medicine illness and diseases are cured and mutate often which means that new medicines and procedures needs to be produced just as often; and in teaching the fact that every student learns differently alone is reason enough to have education be an ever growing and changing thing.


Aristotle believed that virtues were best practiced in relationship. Friendships, whether they be of utility or pleasure, allow us the opportunity to practice our virtues and become greater as people. We find happiness in the thing we experience in friendships and we learn not only about the type of friend we want to be an d therefore the type of person but also the type of friends we want to entertain.
I think that Plato would have argued that a truly just man does not need or desire friendship to become their best selves.


I believe the quote “Man is by nature a political animal.” meant that naturally we as a species will always pursue political exploits. We will always drift towards political ambitions and push society to follow suit. Despite the negative effects on society as well as the negative views society has lately on political issues, we have taken no steps to discredit or shine less light on politicians…this fact alone is evidence that the quote still holds true.