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Plato Vs. Marx: Philosophical Arguments

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Everyone has different views and ideas in today's society. It was no different back in the times of Plato and Karl Marx. These two famous philosophers developed their own ideas and beliefs about different subjects. Plato and Marx's views differed in the subject of Epistemology, the study of knowledge, and also in the subject of Metaphysics, the study of what is, or 'being.' In addition, the topic of the ideal state caused contrary opinions. Plato believes that the ideal state is comprised of three classes, of people while Marx believes that the state should be a classless society.
There is a great contrast between Plato and Marx's views of Epistemology and Metaphysics. In the subject of metaphysics, Plato, an idealist, believed that in order to completely understand the essence of an object, you must understand the definition of what it really is. On the contrary, Marx, a realist, believed that to understand the essence of an object, you must view and touch the object to understand what it really is. Also, Marx and Plato had epistemological differences. Their views on what knowledge was and how one came to understand were very different. For Plato, grasping the forms or ideas of something was gaining true knowledge. He believed that if one could understand the ideas or the true definition of something, they then had true knowledge of it. This type of knowledge comes from a world of being, where everything is something because it is forever unchanging. It always is that specific thing. On the other hand, Marx thought that true knowledge originated from the world of becoming. To understand and gain knowledge according to Marx, one had to study things and experience them first hand in the real, physical world.
According to Plato, the rulers or kings in the ideal state are philosophers. A true philosopher, who must be a special kind of person in order to rule, enjoys learning about all things. Plato describes a philosopher in his republic as one who has a passion for wisdom and the one who desires all wisdom, not only some part of it. Plato feels that these philosophers would make the best rulers because they are extremely well educated in all aspects of life. The philosophers "must have the right sort of intelligence and ability; and also they must look upon the commonwealth as their special concern" (p. 103). They also must use this knowledge to rationally and reasonably make decisions in the best interest of the state, collectively with other philosophers or rulers. A ruler is the best of all the guardians, who is the one that enforces laws made by the rulers, and the eldest of all the philosophers.
Philosophers, who are former guardians, are fit to rule because they have stood the test of time. They have attained the knowledge and sustained basically three physically demanding and mentally stressing tests, throughout the course of their life. The first test they must over come is theft. Theft according to Plato, is when one is "persuaded out of ones beliefs or forgets it. Argument in the one case, and time in the other, steal their beliefs without one's knowing what is happening"(p.104) The second way of testing is by using violence. Pain and suffering is used in an attempt to cause the philosophers to crack under the pressure. The final type of testing is a sort of bewitchment, where the young men must be brought into terrifying situations and then into scenes of pleasure. This bewitchment will prove his "resistance of every enchantment'of preserving, as always the perfect rhythm and harmony" (p.105). After the completion of the tasks, the chosen ruler will have proven to have a solid mind and body.
Karl Marx had similar ideas to Plato's society, which acted in the best interest of the entire state. However, unlike the three-class system of Plato, Karl Marx believed that the ideal society should ...

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Keywords: marx vs plato, plato and marxism, karl marx vs plato

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