Friday, December 31, 2010

Plato’s Scheme of Education

Plato’s Scheme of Education






Plato’s Republic is the finest treatise on education

Plato (428 - 348 BC

In his Republic we find just about the most influential early account of education. His interest in soul, dialogue and in continuing education continue to provide informal educators with rich insights.

Introduction:
Plato was born in 428 BC, towards the end of that extraordinary period in human history when the foundations of spiritual life were being formulated by Lao-Tse (at the turn of the sixth century), Confucius2 (551–479), Buddha (c. 550–480) and Socrates (469–399) and the Upanishads were being written (at the turn of the fifth century).

He was born to a family that belonged to the top ranks of the Athenian aristocracy. His father was a descendant of Codrus, last king of Athens. The brother of one of his mother’s ancestors was Solon, the great Athenian statesman and law-maker, and one of Plato’s uncles, Critias, was to become a member of the Council of Thirty. Plato was thus predestined to play an active role in Athenian politics. In his seventh Letter he explains why he chose not to take that path. Instead, he formulated the most significant political theory of ancient times and with it founded the science of politics.

Plato was born soon after the death of Pericles, who had been a friend of the family and who had carried Athens to the heights of its power, prosperity and culture. Sophocles and Euripides were among the great playwrights of the time who delighted the public, and the young Plato must certainly have met them. But Plato was also destined to witness the decline of that Athens to which he was so dearly attached. As a young man he endured, probably as a soldier, the defeat of his city in the
Peloponnesian War and experienced the ensuing decline of the Athenian democracy. The twilight of the Classical Age of Greece was approaching and with it the demise of the
independent Greek city-states, which were supplanted by the Alexandrian empire. Plato lived in the period of transition between classical Greece and the Hellenistic era that opened a new chapter in the history of the West.
It is not an overstatement to say that Plato’s philosophy is one of the most influential strands in the history of Western thought. What distinguishes Plato from his predecessors, including from his teacher Socrates, is the systematicity with which he approaches human knowledge. Plato tries to bring together the various concerns of human thought into a coherent system. To understand Plato’s theory of art and representation, need some appreciation of the most important features of Plato’s philosophical perspective. Familiarity with these features will help us to appreciate the elements that Plato brings together in his specific criticisms of art as a form of imitation.
Pato’s Works:
From the point of view of the study of the political philosophy of Plato we are mainly concerned with:
1. The Republic, finished about 386 B.C, and dealing with metaphysics, ethics, education and political philosophy.
2. The politicus or statesman, finished about 386 B.C and
3. The laws, published after the death of Plato
Besides these three dialogues, of which the Republic is by far the most important and most representative of Plato, we have a number of other dialogues, such as the Apology, the Memo, the Protagoras, the Gorgias, the Critias and the Crito etc. the Apology of Socrates represents a splendid defence of the right of individual conscience. Both the memo and the Protagoras deal with the important question of whether or not virtue is communicable i.e. teachable. Plato believes that virtue, art of statesmanship and proper conduct in life are teachable. The Gorgias represents and attack on Sophists. Plato exposes Sophistic teaching as a mere sham. The Crito inculcates obedience to laws if they do not clash against conscience. Law is the creator of every social relationship. The state has an absolute claim upon the citizens.
Plato's Theory of Education
“The object of education is to turn the eye which the soul already possesses to the light. The whole function of education is not to put knowledge into the soul, but to bring out the best things that are latent in the soul, and to do so by directing it to the right objects. The problem of education, then, is to give it the right surrounding.”

(Plato’s Republic, Book vii, 518)

No scheme of human life was so important to Plato as education. He himself calls it as “the one great thing”. Birth as a criterion for distributing function has been rejected by Plato. In its place he had substituted ‘capacity’ or ‘nature’ as a standard. Plato’s Theory of education was an indispensable necessity. It was a positive remedy for the operation of justice in the ideal state.
Spartan Influence on Plato’s Scheme of Education:

In his scheme of education Plato was greatly influenced by Spartan system of education. In the Spartan system the family had no control over the education of its members. The state was controlling all aspects of education. The great purpose of education at Sparta was to develop courage through test and trials which were sometimes almost.

Plato also felt the necessity of moral education. The members of a society should learn that they are the members of one society & that they should live in the spirit of harmony & co-operation. Plato says that men by nature are acquisitive, jealous, combative & erotic & for correcting that nature a policeman’s omnipresent club is a necessity. Then he realizes that the better way of imparting moral instructions, is the sanction of supernatural authority. We must have a religion & Plato also believes with conviction that a nation cannot be strong unless it believes in God. It will do us no harm to believe but it’ll do us & our children immeasurable good. From 18 to 20, there was to be an inclusive training in gymnastics, including military exercises calculated to develop courage & self control, character &discipline.

Now at the age of 50, those, who have stayed the course of this hard & long process of education, are to be introduced to their final task of governing their country & their fellow-citizens. It is , in this way, after receiving a sort of perfection, as it were, the rulers will exercise power in the best interest of the state. The ideal state, thus, will be realized & its people, balanced in soul, will be just & happy.


Another great advantage of Plato’s theory of education is that it aims at the harmonious development of human personality. His scheme of education includes instructions for the training of body, mind & soul. The purpose was to produce the right type of individualities in the state.

A further selection will be followed by another 5 years study of dialectics. But even at this stage the education of the ruler is incomplete. After 5 years of dialectics there comes 15 years of practical experiences, during which they will be exposed to all sorts of temptations. “They will be tried more thoroughly than gold is tried in the fire” so that the incorruptibility & self control of the future rulers may be established beyond doubt.

Plato’s theory is wavering between the ideal of action & that of contemplation. Sometimes the goal is the attainment of the Idea of the Good & other times to do social service. At one time its aim is perfect self-development, at other social adaptation.

The importance of environment through successive stages, proceeding from simple to complex, giving to the child an opportunity to play an active role in the process of learning, the system of selection of candidates for the higher stages of education these are some of the doctrines of Plato which are involved in his scheme of education & by which the modern educators have greatly benefited themselves.

Plato’s philosophy

In order to understand Plato and to plumb the depths of his thought one must keep closely in mind the fact that his philosophy is not in any sense a doctrine. Plato did not set up a philosophical system in the manner of Hegel, for example. The distinguishing feature of Plato’s philosophy is the progression or process by which his ideas are formed—his so-called
dialectical method, which does not involve solitary, hence unilateral, reflection, but is rather a collective exercise by which friends, as in the Symposium, or adversaries, as in Gorgias, move forward in argument. Moreover, Plato’s Dialogues, often dealing with the clarification of a concept—such as beauty, duty, love, justice or pleasure—do not usually come to a final conclusion on the subject or end on universal agreement. The initial question is left open. Thus Protagoras concludes with the following statement, ‘Well, we will talk of these matters [which we have just been discussing] at some future meeting’ (Protagoras, 361e).

Plato sums up his approach in his seventh Letter:

One statement at any rate I can make in regard to all who have written or who may write with a claim to knowledge of the subject to which I devote myself [philosophy] [...] Such writers can in my opinion have no real acquaintance with the subject. I certainly have composed no work in regard to it, nor shall I ever do so in future, for there is no way of putting it in words like other studies. Acquaintance with it must come rather after a long period of attendance on instruction in the subject itself and of close companionship, when, suddenly, like a blaze kindled by a leaping spark, it is generated in the soul and at once becomes self-sustaining. (341bd).
Attentive readers of Plato’s Dialogues will find that they are participants on this sudden, vision-like dawning of knowledge. However, we must qualify this passage (which is rather discouraging for commentators on Plato!) with the observation that towards the end of the philosopher’s life a touch of dogmatism crept into his work, which gives the sudden impression that one is attending an ex cathedra lecture by the Academy professor.

Plato was relentless in his analysis of the conditions and limitations to the acquisition of knowledge imposed by a world that was elusive because it was in constant movement. He believed that all human beings, with the exception of true philosophers, lived in a world of appearances. This is why the Socrates of his Dialogues incessantly demonstrates to his interlocutors how much their claims to knowledge are illusory because based on unfounded opinions or on prejudices. In Laches, to cite but one example, two prominent generals are obliged to admit that they do not know the meaning of courage.

On the one hand, led by his certainty of the absolute, he explored the human condition as it related to the supreme values of beauty, truth and goodness. On the other hand, haunted by his experience of the decline of Athens and convinced that all change carried within itself the seeds of corruption, he looked to permanence as the sole guarantor of absolute values. He considered that he had discovered in the concept of ‘Ideas’, the incorruptible reality he regarded as the foundation of being, and he illustrated that concept by his fascinating and celebrated myth of the cave (Republic, 514a–517a).

It is only through a proper education and through the pursuit of philosophy that human beings can free themselves from the chains of their senses, desires, ambitions (such as wealth and power) and passions and that they can accede, progressively, passing from one level of enlightenment to the next, to true knowledge and, ultimately, to the vision of the Agathon, the
Final Good. Plato’s thought is centred on the human being and, more particularly, on the ethical problems the human being has to face. The questions of right, justice and the individual’s place in society, that is in the polis, the Greek city-state, are among the ethical questions that concern him to the highest degree. Plato, like his pupil Aristotle after him, considered the human being a political animal. He devoted two of his most important works, The Republic and the Laws to politics, of which ethics is an essential dimension.

In the course of his examination of the human being, Plato developed a new ‘science’ of the soul. His psychology (another discipline he fathered) may seem to the modern reader to be somewhat naive and elementary. Nevertheless, it has some interesting features. For example, on the subject of young Charmides’s headache, in the dialogue of the same name,
Socrates states that ‘all good and evil, whether in the body or in the whole man, originates [...] in the soul’ (Charmides, 156e). The care of the soul is essential for a person’s future. It is no accident that Socrates asks young Hippocrates, who intends to entrust his education to Protagoras the Sophist:

Do you understand that you are going to entrust the care of your soul to a man who is, in our own words, a Sophist, though I should be surprised if you know just what a Sophist is. And yet if you don’t know that, you don’t know to whom you are entrusting your soul, nor whether he represents something good or bad [Protagoras, 312c].
Lastly, with his theses concerning the immortality of the soul, Plato also broached the area of religion.

Plato’s anti-sophism

The ideal Platonic educator or teacher is the antithesis of the Sophist. The passages in Plato’s works in which Socrates criticizes or disputes with the Sophists are legion. It was, as Karl Jaspers puts it, the battle of philosophy against non-philosophy. The Sophists in Plato’s time were itinerant teachers of higher education. They rented rooms and there gave lessons for an often quite substantial fee to the scions of the aristocracy, who normally completed their elementary studies in private schools at or about the age of 16. Plato himself almost certainly attended the courses of eminent Sophists such as Gorgias and Protagoras.

The Sophists taught the widest range of subjects; but they were best known as teachers of rhetoric, the art of manipulating the masses. The oratorical art, explains Gorgias in the dialogue which bears his name, is ‘The power to convince by your words the judges in court, the senators in Council, the people in the Assembly, or in any other gathering of a citizen body’ (Gorgias, 452e). The eminent Protagoras asserts with great pride: ‘From me [the student] will learn [...] the proper care of his personal affairs, so that he may best manage his own household, and also of the State’s affairs, so as to become a real power in the city, both as speaker and man of action’ (Protagoras, 319a). Plato’s grand indictment of the Sophists is contained in the dialogue of the same name. His critique is presented as a sort of counterpoint to an authoritative lecture on Being, highlighting the abyss that divides true philosophy from non-philosophy. Here is the hardly complimentary portrait he draws of the Sophist: ‘The hired hunter of rich young men, [...] a sort of merchant of knowledge about the soul, [...] A retail dealer in the same wares, [...] an athlete in debate, [...] a controversialist’, one who instils in young people the opinion that he is, personally and in all matters, the wisest of men; he is a magician and a mimic who has appropriated the ‘shadow play of words’ as an art (Sophist,
231d, 232b and 268c).

On the other hand, ‘the philosopher, whose thoughts constantly dwell upon the nature of reality, is difficult to see because his region is so bright, for the eye of the vulgar soul cannot endure to keep its gaze fixed on the divine’ (Sophist, 254a-b).

These passages on the Sophists show that Plato demanded a deep sense of moral responsibility on the part of the true teacher, on whom lay responsibility for the sound health and fate of his pupil’s soul. It was his duty to protect his disciples against false knowledge and guide them on the path to truth and virtue. He must never be a mere peddler of materials for
study and of recipes for winning disputes, nor yet for promoting a career.

Is it not a terrible historical irony that by democratic vote the citizens of Athens sentenced Socrates to death on the charge that he was, of all things, a Sophist and that he was corrupting the city’s youth?

Educational policy in the ideal state

Plato developed his concept of educational policy in his two largest works, the Republic and the Laws. In the Republic Plato developed his concept of the ideal state, which embodied justice. It was a sort of Utopia. (For Plato, however, the world of ideas, because permanent, is more ‘real’ than the world of facts, which is in a state of constant flux!) Rousseau believed
that ‘Plato’s Republic [...] is the best treatise on education ever written’ (Émile, Book I). In the Laws Plato drew up a highly detailed system of laws for a proposed colonial city-state. While the themes of these two Dialogues would seem to be almost identical, there are considerable differences between them. The differences, however, do not touch upon educational issues. The Republic is a pure theory of the ideal state, whereas the Laws is a practical application to a hypothetical concrete case.

In the Republic the inhabitants are divided into three distinct classes: slaves who are the subjects of special provisions in the Laws, craftsmen and merchants (generally alien without rights of citizenship) and, lastly, ‘guardians’, who are responsible for the security and administration of the state. The guardian class is itself divided into two groups: the ‘auxiliaries’ and the ‘perfect’ guardians, or regents—the first, in principle the youngest, having responsibility for internal and external security (including the police and the army), while the second group, the ‘sages’, watch over the smooth functioning and harmony of the state. At the head of the state is a ‘philosopher-king’ (such as Archytas of Tarentum)—an idea that is taken up again in The statesman but is abandoned in the Laws, in which a ‘nocturnal council’ assumes the responsibilities of the highest authority.

The ideal society for Plato is as immutable as a Doric temple; for, in an ideal State, change can bring about only decadence and corruption (Laws, 797d). Society must therefore be protected from all that could upset the civic order and induce change. The guardians must devote themselves entirely to the service of the state. They may not possess material riches
(which give rise to jealousy and conflict); they may not indulge in frivolities (which could compromise their integrity); nor may they entertain private ambitions. All they have must be held in common: room, board, wives and children.

One of the tasks of education in the Platonic state is to preserve the status quo. All innovation is taboo. Contrary to most modern educational
principles, education must stand guard against all change and all forms of subversion.
Despite his extreme conservatism, however, Plato had some highly innovative ideas. For example, he espoused equality of the sexes at a time when women, with the exception of courtesans, were relegated to the household. In the Platonic state girls, like boys, do their gymnastics in the nude and are expected to go to war clad in the same armour as the men.
They share the boys’ education, with no discrimination between them. Moreover, Plato prescribes compulsory education for all, that is for all members of the guardian class. This idea, however, was not to receive application until much later, at the time of the French Revolution. Compulsory schooling goes far beyond an elementary education; yet Plato has very little to say about the education of craftsworkers and merchants, which consists of no more than a simple apprenticeship, and slaves received no mention at all.

Plato, indeed, was the first to formulate a complete education system, covering every aspect from its administration to a detailed curriculum. In the Laws Plato describes how education should be organized and administered. The whole education system should be headed by a‘ Supervisor of Education’, ‘far the most important of the highest offices in the State’, who would supervise all aspects of education for children of both sexes. He should be ‘a man of not less than 50 years, and the father of a legitimate family, preferably of both sexes’
(Laws, 765d-e). He will have working under him ‘superintendents of gymnasiums and schools in charge of their seemly maintenance as well as of the education given and the [...] supervision of attendances and accommodation for children of both sexes, together with judges of performers contending in both musical and athletic competitions’ (Laws, 764c-d). These competitions are important because the careers of the guardians are determined by their results.

The education of the guardians—a lifelong education that stretches from before birth to retirement age—is described in detail in the Republic (especially Books II-V and VII) and in the Laws (especially Books I, II and VII). In the Laws, however, the programme of studies is abbreviated. Having abandoned the idea of the philosopher-king, Plato did not dwell any
further on the teaching of philosophy, as he had done in the Republic. After introducing the concept of ‘guardians’, he goes on to say: ‘But the rearing of these men and their education, how shall we manage that? And will the consideration of this topic advance us in any way toward discerning what is the object of our entire enquiry—the origin of justice and injustice in a State ...?’ (Republic, 376c-d). The object of Platonic education is therefore moral and political; it is not an apprenticeship for know-how but an education in life skills.

Since the health and beauty of both body and mind are essential goals of Platonic education (see Laws, 788c), education, in keeping with Greek custom, is divided into two parts: gymnastics and music (i.e. culture).

Physical education begins before birth. Pregnant women are advised to walk around and move about as much as possible, for ‘every sort of shaking and stirring [communicates] health and beauty, to say nothing of robustness’ to the unborn infant (Laws, 789d).

Pre-school education is the responsibility of parents (whereas in the Republic infants are raised collectively and do not know who their parents are!), who are enjoined to treat them with measured discipline, for ‘while spoiling of children makes their tempers fretful, peevish and easily upset by mere trifles, the contrary treatment, the severe and unqualified tyranny which makes its victims spiritless, servile, and sullen, renders them unfit for the intercourse of domestic and civic life’ (Laws, 791c).

The teaching of culture begins very early on, through the stories parents tell their children. Plato attaches the greatest importance to the content of these stories, for first impressions shape the still malleable minds of children and determine their character. Consequently, such stories must pass the censors’ scrutiny. Plato places a strong and oft-repeated stress on censorship, not sparing even Homer.

Next to stories, games should contribute to the education of children. ‘He who is to be good at anything as a man must practise that thing from early childhood, in play as well as in earnest [...] Thus, if a boy is to be a good [...] builder, he should play [...] at building toy houses ...’ (Laws, 643b) From the ages of 3 to 6 children should play together under the supervision of women assigned to that task.

Children enter school at the age of 6. They first learn to read, write and count. ‘For reading and writing three years or so, from the age of 10, are a fair allowance of a boy’s time, and if the handling of the lyre is begun at 13, the three following years are long enough to spend on it. No boy, no parent shall be permitted to extend or curtail this period from fondness or distaste for the subjects [...]’ (Laws, 809e–810a)

Together with this literary and musical education, students of the Platonic state engage in all sorts of sports, including horse-riding and weapons training. The balance between culture and gymnastics should be maintained as perfectly as possible (Republic, 411c et seq.).

At the age of 18, at the end of this basic education period during which they will have undergone many contests and examinations of all sorts, young people—both boys and girls— are required to devote themselvesexclusively for a period of two to three years to physical and military training, as the traditional ephebe did.

At the age of 21 pupils selected on the basis of their past performance go on to higher studies. It is here that Plato’s curriculum differs fundamentally from the tradition of employing Sophists for the purpose. It is this level of studies, which leads to philosophy and, at the same time, to the highest offices in the state, that concerned Plato the most. In fact, they formed the
subject of the teaching at his Academy. Education, then, was compulsory until the age of 20. Plato recommended that ‘all this study [...] must be presented [...] not in the form of compulsory instruction [...] because [...] a free soul ought not to pursue any study slavishly’.
Moreover ‘nothing that is learned under compulsion stays with the mind’ (Republic, 536d-e). These higher studies, which stretch over a period of ten years, consist of a systematic assemblage and arrangement of the
knowledge acquired in past studies: ‘They will be required to gather the studies which they disconnectedly pursued as children in their former education into a comprehensive survey of their affinities with one another and with the nature of things’ (Republic, 537c). This is essential for an understanding of dialectics, ‘for he who can view things in their connection is a dialectician’ (Republic, 537c). It is probably also at this stage that the Laws would be studied as a manual of politics, social sciences and
comparative law (Laws, 811c-d).

Special stress is next placed on the study of the four disciplines that prepare the student for philosophy: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and harmony. These disciplines lift the soul to the level of the immutable. Mathematics—arithmetic and geometry—liberate the mind from sensation, familiarize it
with the world of pure thought and turn the soul towards the heights of the world of ideas. ‘Geometry is the knowledge of the eternally existent’
(Republic, 527b). It is through geometry that one learns how to manipulate concepts (Republic, 510–511). Astronomy initiates the soul to the order and immutable harmony of the cosmos. Harmony, a sister science of
astronomy’s, focuses on the search for and knowledge of the laws of, and the order in, the world of sound. The influence of the Pythagoreans here is
obvious. Plato repeated with insistence that we must ‘prevent our fosterlings from attempting to learn anything that does not conduce to the end we have in view’ (Republic, 530e).

At the age of 30, and not before, Plato’s students finally begin to study philosophy or dialectics. After pursuing this course for five years they must then ‘return once again to the cave’ and serve for 15 years in the army and the civil service, where they are constantly put to the test. ‘At the age of 50 those who have [...] approved [sic] themselves altogether the best in every task and form of knowledge’ will be able to behold the good; ‘and when they have thus beheld the good itself they shall use it as a pattern for the right ordering of the State’ (Republic, 540a). They will then devote the rest of their lives alternately to philosophy and public life.

When they retire, these state officials will have the leisure time to devote themselves entirely to the delights of philosophy—this being their sole reward.
Plato’s polis is essentially an educational community. It is created by
education. It can survive only on condition that all its citizens receive an education that enables them to make rational political decisions. It is up to education to preserve the state intact and to defend it against all harmful innovations. The aim of education is not personal growth but service of the
state, which is the guarantor of the happiness of its citizens for as long as they allow it to be the embodiment of justice.
Plato's plan of education is a state-controlled system of compulsory
education for both sexes. His system comprised of:
1. Elementary education up to the age of seventeen or eighteen. There is to be general education in music and gymnastics and also in the elements of sciences. The Greek music included all cultural subjects including poetry which Plato would have expunged of bad elements that falsify gods or impair courage or induce intemperance.
2. From seventeen or eighteen to twenty, there is to be exclusive training in gymnastics.
3. Higher education for members of both sexes was to be given on selection after an elimination test and was meant for members of the guardian classes. It extended from twenty to thirty-five. This period was divisible into two parts i.e. twenty to thirty and thirty to thirty-vive. In the fist young persons were to be helped to choose their true vocations in life and get trained in them. There was to be a systematic scientific course. Dialectical power must be developed. Military training must also be given. At the age of thirty, a second elimination test would follow. Those passing this test would be the perfect guardians and will get a further five years' course of training in Mathematics, Astronomy and Logic. Emphasis is to be laid on dialectics. Higher education was to be in effect professional. Plato's emphasis is on Arts in the first stage, on Sciences in the second and on philosophy in the third or last stage.
Books II and III of the Republic deals with Platonic education which represents a compromise between Spartan organization and Athenian individualism. Platonic system of education anticipates many modern theories of education. It was calculated to promote harmonious development of the individual and of the society. It is not burdensome and is designed to bring about the progressive arousing of the latent faculties in the individual. It provides for the body as much as for the soul by laying due stress on the practical and the theoretical. If Plato will not give equal education to all, his system allows equal initial opportunity for education to all. It was a life-long process, for after retirement from public service an individual was to concentrate on the realization of the Ideal of the Good.
The system of education detailed above was calculated to create the ruling class. "The fundamental political idea in the Republic is the doctrine that governing authority must be associated with the broadest knowledge and culture that the philosopher should be the statesman". Plato laid particular emphasis on the proper education of the guardians because he believed, with Aristotle that the class of guardians i.e. the ruling class is the state. A guardian must be properly trained so that he 'unites in himself philosophy and spirit and swiftness and strength'. Only a perfect type of guardians could create a perfect state. Plato therefore, recommended for his guardians a life of a sort of military monasticism.

General Remarks and Criticism:
Plato's plan of education recognizes the division of human soul into the three elements of appetite, courage and reason and is calculated to bring about the development of all the three by creating a right environment for such a development. It is a scheme of education which is co-extensive with life. The media of education are the things and institutions which the human soul has evolved in its progress i.e. arts, sciences and philosophy, etc. the most original part of Plato's scheme of education is the higher education to be given between the ages of 20 and 35.
Though Plato does not specifically exclude the lowest class from his system of education, his system is obviously meant for the guardian classes and does not, therefore, represent a well-rounded system. It ignores the lower classes which represent an overwhelming part of the population of the state even though Plato would promote men of iron and brass into silver and gold classes. It appears that Plato had contempt for manual workers compared to intellectual workers. Not having received any education, the lower class people are not fit to rule. Thus Plato strikes at the roots of democracy. Plato's system is calculated to produce citizens of a particular pattern. His education will create an ideal philosopher more than an ideal man of action. Plato does not sufficiently realize that education should be relative to the character of the individual. His system does not admit of sufficient diversity of intellectual development which alone can tone up the character and caliber of the society. Plato minimizes the influence of literature and exaggerates that of mathematics on the mind of the individual.
In conclusion: what did Plato really aim at achieving by his system of higher education? Education for education`s sake or the practical benefits that would accrue from it? It seems that probably the latter is correct as Plato says that the Guardians will need to be compelled to social service, thus suggesting that education and learning for its own sake will only be cherished , ultimately, by the Guardians. Yet the creation of an ideal State is really Plato`s purpose, and creation demands action. This action is to be taken by the Guardians, The State is to be made an instrument of education itself. The nature of the State according to Plato`s thesis is educational, its purpose is to foster education , and its value depends on the just reign of its philosopher-kings.














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