Response to Plato's Republic, Book I to Book IV

We're required (highly suggested) to respond to our readings in EDUC 901 History of Educational Thought. These past two weeks it's been Plato's The Republic.

Because I like that this process forces me to sit and write post-reading and reflecting, I'm going to try and share more on here as I go.

The number of connections to current ideas and theories within the first four books is shocking. At the top of the list are two interrelated concepts: the (1) physical and the (2) social evolution of man. Living in a deterministic universe, there is, naturally, a prescribed class-based system that neatly organizes men by profession. Man is relieved of the burden of identifying his interests; nature has already deemed what is appropriate for his life’s work. Classes cannot and must not intermingle. To diminish the gene pool is unnatural, against nature. Once a producer, always a producer. This is for the happiness of all, for a just and civil society. While attractive on paper and in theory, this is dangerous in educational practice. How can a teacher ethically and morally approach a classroom full of students yielding Plato’s assumptions? How do parents accept sending their children to an educational system that pumps out indoctrinated, class-blinded widgets? I was under the impression that social Darwinism was an evil only (relatively) recently created, around 150 years ago. Yes, social classes exist. Are we to accept and perpetuate the system? Or are we to alter and transform the system?
24 September 2012

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