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Yo Motha

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Philosophers have forever been concerned with political and social matters. Not only have

they asked how politics work but mainly, how they should work. These philosophers have

been concerned with the nature and justification of political obligation and authority

and the goals of political action. Although their doctrines have differentiated, and

numerous have been utopian in concept, they have all shared the same ideas and

convictions that it is the political philosopher's duty to distinguish between what is

and what ought to be, between existing political institutions and potentially more humane

institutions. Throughout the centuries, philosophers have debated over the moral issues

involved in the search for the 'ideal' society. Three influential philosophers in this

field have been Plato, John Locke and Karl Marx. Their philosophies and utopian states

have continually influence political actions and thoughts throughout the ages.

One of the most powerful thinkers in history was Plato. As Socrates' young pupil, he was

the founder of 'the Academy' and many philosophical theories and dialogues. His most

important work was in political and social philosophy; namely in his most famous book

simply called Republic. In this book, Plato was concerned with the question of justice

and therefore with the questions what is a just state? and who is a just individual?

According to Plato, the ideal state was composed of three classes: the workers and the

artisans, the soldiers and the rulers. The rulers consisted of men who had reached their

maximum educational potential and were complete and enlightened in virtues of reality,

truth and goodness. The spectacle of his day brought Plato to the conclusion that only

philosophers were fit to rule since they possessed all the necessary knowledge and

wisdom. Plato named these rulers philosopher-kings. In the Republic, Plato's ideal

educational system was structured primarily to produce philosopher-kings. In its simplest

form, Plato believed that the just state is one in which each class performs its own

function well without infringing on the activities of the other classes. He believed that

if the philosopher-kings helped train the military who, in return, would control natural

unruly peasants, the Republic would be a sort of utopian state; the ideal society of

which the world was in search. Although Plato's 'ideal' society influence many

philosophers and many developed numerous ideas from Republic, it cannot be regarded as a

perfect idea. Many flaws are entwined within Plato's philosophy such as the rights of

lower class citizens and the idea that asserts the supremacy of the state over the

individual. Plato believed that philosophers were, indeed, superior to all others making

the majority of citizens in a society outcasts and left with an impediment. Following

Plato, philosophers continued to dream up their concepts of the 'ideal' society. One of

the most prominent political philosophers, especially in North America, would be John

Locke.

John Locke, to this day, has had a great influence on political systems around the world,

namely the United States of America. His theory of the 'ideal' society, developed in his

bookTwo Treatises on Government established a distinction between what he called 'the

state of nature' and 'the political state.' By 'the state of nature' Locke meant a moral

state; a state into which all were born as humans and all were bestowed with certain

God-given natural rights. The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which

obliges everyone: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but

consult it, that, being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his

life, health, liberty or possessions. Locke, however,came to apprehend that his doctrine

would never function in practice because of his belief that human nature drives men into

society. He then created a 'social contract' in which all citizens would consent to be

ruled by a government elected by a minority as long as that government would protect the

natural rights. Locke's philosophy is known today as Liberalism which is a movement that

has as its basic concern the development of personal freedom and social progress.

Liberalism took into position the importance of the individual over the state. In the

United States,

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