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YMMV / Plato

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  • Anvilicious: The people WOULD NOT UNDERSTAND, so why even try to explain.
  • Fair for Its Day:
    • His view that Democracy Is Bad. The Democracy of Athens gave almost unchecked power to its citizen assemblies and chose officeholders by lottery. It could be swayed on a whim into doing despotic or dangerous things, like the execution of Plato's mentor Socrates or blunders in the Peloponnesian War. Plato criticised all forms of government of his day, and he also made it clear that Athenian democracy was still preferable to tyranny (in fact Plato considered "Democracy" to be a dirty word. It was a degenerate form of government, much in the way that tyranny is the degenerate form of a monarchy. The word he used for a functional representative government was "Politeia", which has been translated as "Republic"). His ideal form of government was a sort of meritocracy.
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    • The views on women he has Socrates state in the Republic. While he firmly agrees with his contemporaries that Men Are Better Than Women at everything, he still recognizes that exceptional individual women can be better (intellectually, for example) than the average for men (even if women as a group are inferior), and argues that in an ideal society, such exceptional women should be given opportunities for education and political participation. While this will still sound harsh to those used to modern feminism, it is rather more "progressive" than was the norm in the Athens of his day, where no woman could participate in public affairs in any way (outside certain public religious ceremonies) and were not even allowed out of the house by themselves without male escorts.
  • Misaimed Fandom: His dialogues are basically debates between people supporting different points of view. However, many of his modern viewers fail to understand which of the points Plato himself supported. A prominent example is Crito, which was used for centuries to teach how important it is to obey the authorities (including by the Nazis). Plato was using it to demonstrate the insanity of the Athenian system (Crito states he wants to save Socrates not because the sentence is unjust, but because if he won't, the very people who sentenced Socrates to death will consider Crito a bad member of their society).
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Views of his political philosophy are split between those who consider him a forerunner of totalitarianism, and those who consider his criticisms of popular democracy to be the cornerstone of modern republicanism. This tension mostly comes down to major differences between the culture and politics of ancient Athens and the modern world.
    • His views on romantic love expressed in Symposium (particularly his strong encouragement of pederasty) are bound to raise a few eyebrows today, but would have been considered banal in Athens.
    • Contrariwise on this same topic, in his major political works (The Republic and the Laws), he strongly condemns homosexuality of all kinds (with pederasty included) in terms that would be considered highly intolerant in many places today, naming it "an outrage against nature" and calling for homosexuals to be punished and socially shunned.
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  • Woolseyism / Lost in Translation: The reason for all the slashes.


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