Plato’s Understanding of Society and Site OrderJune 27, 2021
The Greeks believed that people who were separated from the city works would be deficient in seeing man as a social being in essence (Copleston, 1995:100). Plato was not different from the others in this respect. He also saw man as a social being and believed that the goodness, happiness and virtue of man could not be achieved alone, but together with the city within the city.
There was no such thing as a person’s individual happiness, one could be made happy only by being a citizen of a happy city. Undoubtedly, this could only be achieved by moralizing the site as a whole.
PLATO’S UNDERSTANDING OF SITE LAYOUT
Plato’s understanding of site layout is based on the assumption that all existing site layouts are broken and the reason for this disorder is that these sites are missing the three high values of “good”, “correct” and “beautiful”. Plato’s understanding of society and politics is based on the basis that these three values are based on the order of society and the city, and with this feature, it displays a moral appearance rather than a political one (Soykan, 1998: 81). In that case, the ideal site order can only be achieved when the souls of the citizens reach moral height. For this reason, Plato attempted to ensure the order of the individual and society together with a directional effort.
According to Plato, every society and site order arises from the need for division of labor, which arises due to the inability of man to meet his needs alone. While describing the emergence of society and site order in the State, first of all, the people who will meet the food, shelter and clothing needs of the people are mentioned. Thus, some become farmers, some become weavers, and the first professional structures in the society are formed. Craftsmen such as carpenters and locksmiths will make the tools they need to practice their profession, merchants, sailors, sellers, artists, musicians, barbers, servants will emerge to meet their secondary needs, and thus the craftsman class will be formed. State, 369d-373d).
When the estate becomes overcrowded and its territory becomes insufficient, it will want to seize those of its neighbors, so each estate will have to feed a certain number of soldiers to defend itself, thus creating a military class (State, 373d-374e). Apart from these two classes, there will also be an administrative class responsible for the administration and organization of the site (Devlet, 412b-d). Thus, the three social classes that make up the society and the city emerge. A virtuous, correct and fair site can be achieved by correctly positioning these three classes.
As in the soul and the universe, each piece has its own unique and natural position on the site. When the pieces are positioned in accordance with their natural structure, order is achieved. This makes the site virtuous, true and fair. By being in their natural position, these parts also provide a vital harmony with other parts. To make this idea clearer, Plato likens the ideal site to a human body. The different social classes that make up the site order have to serve each other’s interests, just like the different organs of a body. Because a malfunction in one will affect the others (State, 462b).
Just as the unhealthiness of any part of a body renders the whole body unhealthy, it is not possible to talk about the happiness of a single social class in society or in the city. The site should develop and become organized all together. Only in this way, every social class can get its share of happiness given by nature (State, 421c).
Plato also deals with virtue, righteousness and justice in this context. Justice and righteousness is the natural duty of each part of a structure made of parts. For example, it is in the nature of philosophers who are the ruling class to rule. Therefore, a site where the administration is not given to the philosopher cannot be said to be fair. For example, it may seem distressing to the outsider that the guards do heavy drills, but since the nature of the military class requires these drills, the happiness of this class depends on it performing these drills (State, 420b-d).
So, according to Plato, virtue is not just about having the parts of the human soul where they should be. A person’s virtue also depends on being correctly positioned within the site layout. Plato has never dealt with the human being alone by isolating him from his position on the site, from the profession he sees on the site. The Platonic site order is, above all, a strict professional division of labor, and a person is never judged independently of the work he sees on the site. As such, whether a person is right, just or virtuous depends on whether he is engaged in a profession suitable for his nature. Social classes, which are the basic elements of the ideal site order envisaged by Plato, were arranged in line with this principle.
According to Plato, in order to be virtuous, not only must the soul be organized, but also that one must be doing the right job in the city. Thus the Platonic site is a strict order of professional division of labor.