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Critics of The Republic Platos contribution to the history ofpolitical theory have formed two distinct opinions on the reasoning behind thework The first group believes that The Republic is truly a model for apolitical society while the other strongly objects to that stating it asbeing far too fantastic for any society to operate successfully by thesesuggested methods In an exchange between Crito and Dionysius this argument isfirst introduced with Crito siding with those who agree that The Republic is arealistic political model and Dionysius arguing on behalf of those who doubt itas being realistic claiming it to be a criticism of politics in generalBoth sides have legitimate arguments and there is evidence within thetext to support each opinion When Plato wrote Gorgias he made it clear whereexactly he stood on his personal involvement in politics Cornford 1941 xix Unlimited power without the knowledge of good and evil is at the best unenviableand the tyrant who uses it to exterminate his enemies and rivals is the mostmiserable of men--a theme to be further developed in The Republic Cornford xx But here Plato was referring to the politics of his time and critics whosided with Crito believed that The Republic was Platos way of introducing apolitical system in which he would feel comfortable supporting Plato 204Conversely though The Republic itself is summed up this wayWell one would be enough to effect all this reform that now seems soincredible if he had subjects disposed to obey for it is surelynot impossible that they should consent to carry out our laws andcustoms when laid down by a ruler It would be no miracle if othersshould think as we do and we have I believe sufficiently shown that ourplan if practicable is the best So to conclude our institutionswould be the best if they could be realized and to realize them though hardThese institutions of which Plato speaks are described in the body ofThe Republic and not only does Plato
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