From the history of social philosophy, Antiquity...

From the history of social philosophy


There is no history of social philosophy, like history in general, written from a timeless or supratemporal point of view. History is always written at a certain time, and this is the "present" leaves its indelible imprint on the presentation. History also comes from a certain point of view, the change of which makes it necessary to rewrite everything anew. Aphorism History is the present, overturned in the past exaggerates the situation, but it can also be understood as an indication that the interpretation of history depends on the this and from the position that he takes in this multidimensional "present" historian.

The modern approach to social philosophy requires not only a different interpretation of the diverse competing modern concepts of social philosophy, but also in many respects a new vision of the whole history of this discipline.

Thinking about the nature of society and man is almost as old as philosophy itself. Homer already has an analog of the definition of man as a rational animal. However, the early Greek philosophers (VI-V centuries BC) had not yet singled out man and the sphere of the social from general cosmic life: the cosmos, society and individual were considered subordinate to the action of the same laws and were often regarded as mirror reflections of each other.

The Sophists (middle V - first half of the 4th century BC) were the first to develop the opposition of the "nature" and law and expressed the idea of ​​the equality of all people. Alcidamant claimed that "God made all free, the nature of no one made a slave." Antiphon and Lycophron rejected the advantages of noble origin. Some Sophists regarded laws as the basis for the normal existence of people, but Antiphonte declared state institutions evil. Lycophron gave the law the role of guaranteeing the personal rights of citizens, while Trasimachi claimed that rulers everywhere imposed their own laws favorable to themselves.

Social philosophy of Plato

The first developed social theory was created by Plato and defended the collectivist structure of society. About this theory it can be said that it was the archetype of theoretical collectivism for all subsequent centuries. The concept of Plato is set forth in his dialogue "The State"; later, at the end of his life, he returned to her in the dialogue "Laws."

Plato proceeded from the idea of ​​subordination of the individual to the interests of the whole, whether it be the universe, city, race, race or any other collective. In contrast to Socrates, Plato believed that man, because of his inherent limitations, is imperfect. There are different degrees of human perfection, but even a few relatively perfect people are dependent on others, and hence on society and the state. Even rare & unusual nature can only achieve perfection in such a state, through which they can develop their abilities. Therefore, the state should be valued above the individual. Possible decay and collapse of the state are rooted not in himself, but in the individual, in the vulnerability of the human race to degeneration.

Plato considers five possible forms of the state and finds that four of them, embodied in contemporary states, are clearly vicious: they are divided, feud, strife, self-will, desire for enrichment. The fifth form of government is Plato's perfected state, the main characteristic of which is justice. In this state the population is divided into three social groups: philosophers; guards, or soldiers; artisans and farmers. These groups correspond to the three constituent parts of the human soul: mind, will and animal instincts. Transitions between groups are extremely difficult. Philosophers belong to all power in the state. However, it can not be said that it is unlimited. First, the management of philosophers is collective, and secondly, they themselves are subject to important restrictions. "Most of the time they will spend in philosophizing, and when the turn comes, they will work on civil structure, hold public office - not because it is something beautiful, but because it is so necessary for the sake of the state". The laws established by philosophers should not be based on their interests, but on the interests of the whole state: "The law does not aim at the welfare of any one stratum of the population, but the good of the whole state. That conviction, then power, ensures the unity of all citizens, making them mutually beneficial to each other insofar as they can be useful to the whole society. " In the best state, says Plato, "everything is common."

In brief, the key features of the perfect state of Plato are:

• a common goal for the whole state, conducted with a strict sequence and standing immeasurably above the goals and interests of individual groups and especially individuals;

• a strict division into classes with a clear separation of the ruling class from all other classes of society;

• Identification of the fate of the state with the destiny of the ruling class, called to guide the realization of the state's goal;

• The fight against private property;

• Family transformation with the intention of limiting its role in society;

• ensuring uniformity of views and even feelings of members of society;

• the firmness and immutability of the doctrine that governs society and which determines and justifies its global goal;

• the constant censorship of the convictions, feelings and actions of citizens, continuous propaganda that molds their consciousness according to a single pattern.

Plato believes that his perfect state must be created in order to give happiness and bliss to his citizens, healing them and returning them to the primordial human nature.

In the theory of the perfect state of Plato, the motives characteristic of the ancient understanding of collectivism, with motives peculiar to any collectivism, regardless of the era of its existence, are very complicated.

Aristotle sharply criticized the project of the ideal state of Plato. The abolition of family and private property, offered by Plato, rapes human nature and is therefore unreal. Private property, my - this is something that warms the soul of a person and without which it feels defenseless. Aristotle defends the natural origin of the state, similar to the origin of living organisms. "Obviously," he writes, "that the polis belongs to natural formations and that man is by nature a political animal." The state can not be the object of radical artificial reorganization. Genetically, the family precedes the rural community, the rural community - the urban (polis), but in terms of supremacy, the policy (state) as the supreme and all-encompassing form of social communication is primary in relation to the family and the individual. The ultimate goal of a policy, like an individual, is a "happy and beautiful life". The main task of the state is the education of citizens in moral virtue. As a conditionally exemplary state structure, Aristotle puts forward a mixture of oligarchy and democracy in which the polarization of the poor and the rich is removed by the predominance of the well-to-do middle layers.

Thus one can say that Aristotle considered the individualistic system of society to be above the collectivist and first raised the question, and now provoking fierce debate: should society be given the opportunity to develop spontaneously, or should it be radically reconstructed according to the laws of reason, so that the central government has the ability to control all available material and spiritual resources and to regulate on this basis human relations. Aristotle was well aware of the threat from extremist minds and was inclined to the idea of ​​self-generation of the social order. It is spontaneous development that provides such effective tools as language, morality, law, market, monetary system, etc.

Thus, already in ancient philosophy in a fairly clear form, two tendencies in social philosophy, preserved to the present day, were outlined. The first of them, praising public property and collectivist society, was called Platonic , the second, defending private property and individualistic society - Aristotle.

Aurelius Augustine gave the first detailed version of Christian social philosophy. The way to a new humanity, the "doctrine of the end of the world", the doctrine of the church and the state are subjects of Augustine's vast treatise "On the City of God." World history is depicted here as the struggle of supporters of all earthly, enemies of God, on the one hand, and adherents of the kingdom of God - on the other. The story begins with the fall of Adam and is seen as a progressive movement toward moral perfection, in which man finally finds the "impossibility of sinning." The idea of ​​progress, first of all moral and spiritual, is introduced. Real terrestrial states are seen as a variety of inevitable evil. The purpose of history was not conceived on the ground. This goal is predetermined in advance, and the result of history will be the community of the righteous, the City of God.

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