David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In this thesis, I propose to explore Plato's moral and political thought in the Republic and compare it with similar ideas in Confucian thought, and in modern liberal thought. In Part I, I deal with Plato's notion of 'doing one's own job' in the just state (ch. 1), and with the Confucian approach to achieving an orderly society (ch. 2). In Chapter 3 the idea that both the Platonic just state and Confucian orderly society are communitarian by nature will be discussed. It is noticeable that although both Plato's and Confucius' accounts of the just state have the colour of communitarianism, yet their accounts are in one way or another different from the modern communitarian's account of the just state. In addition, there are also important differences between Plato and Confucius. Take the relation between personal good and the common good as an example. Both Plato and Confucius hold that in the ideal state one's own good is identical with the good of the state as a whole. But communitarians hold that the common good is prior to personal good. That is, for the communitarians, there is a distinction between personal good and the common good (Section 3). In Part II, I shall consider a problem which arises from the discussion of Plato's notion of the tripartite soul that there is a sub-division in each part of the soul, which leads to infinite regress. I argue in Chapter 4 that this problem can be avoided. So long as there is no 'degree of rationality' among the three parts. That is, only reason is capable of calculating, and the other two parts do not have the capacity of reasoning. This account of the tripartite soul makes sense of why Plato puts such strong emphasis on education. For through education, spirit and appetite are willing to be under the control of reason
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