Dialogue Between Aeschylus and Plato

Plato: Cities and their functioning are just like individuals and their functioning system, wouldn’t you agree?

Aeschylus: I can agree with you up to a certain point. Individuals’ functioning system can be assimilated to that of human groups before they organized in tribes.

P: If I understand correctly what you are saying, tribes did not function under the same laws as individuals?

Your understanding is correct, my opinion is that tribes were not governed at all, and that they functioned based on the characteristics of his leader, the most powerful of individuals. Most often, these characteristics are based on heroism.

P: You cannot believe that groups of people were simply governed by heroism! I can agree with you that heroism is one of the characteristics of great leaders, but it is far from being sufficient for governing a tribe or a city!

A: So, in your opinion what are the parts that ensure government?

P: I have divided the functioning of cities into three parts: philosophers, guardians, and craftsmen.

A: How did you establish these as ensuring cities’ government?

P: I connected them with the most important three parts within the individual (Plato — The Republic). These parts are represented by spirit, appetite, and intellect. He intellect can be compared with philosopher-kings, spirit can be compared to the guardians, and appetite can be compared to the craftsmen.

A: And what is the relationship between these categories?

P: Philosopher-kings establish the rule and legislation of the city. The guardians ensure that these laws are enforced and protect the city if the situation requires it. The craftsmen obey rules and provide the necessary products to the city.

A: Can a member of a category move to another?

P: There is no movement between the categories. In order to function properly, each individual must accept his place in society. This is my idea of justice.

A: I find you idea on justice intriguing, as I consider justice having another nature in comparison with what you have described. I think justice is a process that has evolved from tribal rules based on the power of the strongest individual to city-states that build legislation and ensure rules are applied.

P: Surely you must think that a hierarchy is required in establishing and applying rules! In my opinion on justice, it can only be reached by a hierarchy of philosophers, guardians and craftsmen.

A: I think that justiceā€¦

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