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Political Phenomena

Essay by   •  September 4, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  2,853 Words (12 Pages)  •  2,825 Views

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Periods and eras have been avenues for political ideas to emerge, thus, these ideas when compressed will lead to a political phenomenon. Political phenomena is embedded with diverse and discrete particulars which make up universal ideas. In these universal and particular ideas, inconsistency and inaptness can be discerned, however, through the means of philosophy, these two can be reconciled. Moreover, political phenomena entrenched with universals and particulars which are present in political arena can be comprehended properly through political philosophy. In time of Thucydides and Plato - two Greek classical political philosophers and thinkers - who submerged themselves in explaining the universal and particular in their period in which peculiar problems in the political arena of their time were present.

The purpose of the author is to present comprehensive explanations on how the two aforementioned thinkers have reconciled these universal and particular ideas in their time. Furthermore, the author will use philosophy as means on amplification and expansion of present thoughts and concepts, and political as the subject of each explanation. Nonetheless, aside from the analysis of the author, notions and point of views regarding the two authors will be derived from their works.

In Douglas Ehring's Distinguishing Unversals from Particulars in Analysis (2004), he stated that, "Under the unrevised spatial formulation, the capacity for being wholly present at more than one place at the same time is necessary and sufficient for being a universal, and the absence of this capacity is necessary and sufficient for being a particular" (p. 327). Universal, from the definition above, can be said to be applicable to everything and everyone. On the other hand, particular is something that can be pertained to some. In the philosophical works of Thucydides and Plato, ideas which are universal and particular can be found, moreover, through political philosophy, these two opposing ideas can be reconciled. Furthermore, expounding the associating and fitting these two principles in a matter of succinct observation of those thinkers will direct to a cohesion of two contradicting philosophical principles. Thus, this cohesion makes up for a successful comprehension of political events in their time.

Political philosophers deal with matters events which are essential and imperative in political life, thus, they are subject to comply with the goal of political action, and that is for the common good. In every political philosopher time, there is an inimitable and probably odd occurrence that emerge and perhaps will entice the thought and interest of a political philosopher to engage himself in such event that he and his society will benefit. In Book One of Thucydides' The Peloponnesian War (1998), had recorded the war between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians, writing how they waged it against each other and beginning his work as soon as the war broke out in expectation that it would be a major one and notable beyond all previous wars...and on seeing that the rest of the Hellenes were aligning themselves with one or the other, some immediately and others at least intending to (p. 3). On the passage from Thucydides book, the author develops an analysis that, in Thucydides' time, there have been series of wars which transpired in Greek city-states. With that, the art of war has been very evident and patent. Furthermore, as he has said, "notable beyond all previous wars," being an Athenian general, Thucydides had undergone several arduous and strenuous wars that made him say that Peloponnesian War, in his anticipation, was a great one. He witnessed battles that made him disclose that this war was a different one. Moreover, Thucydides has revealed the reason why this war was eminent and impressive because the Greek city-states have sided on one party, thus, breaking the perennial compact alliance in Greece before the war broke out. With the successions of Trojan War, Persian Wars and different battles face by the Greeks, indeed, Thucydides has seen diverse and numerous facets of wars being manifested. Moreover, the changing of phase of power has been an exceptional events in his time. Plato, on the other hand, has lived in time where Athenian democracy was on the verge of collapsing. According to Melissa Lane in Plato's The Republic (Plato, Introduction, 2007), "Most immediate for Plato were what he took to be the failings of the Athenian democracy. Democracy in ancient Athens was different from democracy today." He lived in a society which meddlesome in politics has been a trend for people and individualism among citizens prevail. Through the eccentricity and interfering attitude of Athenians, it caused discord and incongruence of prevailing attitude in Athenian society. In addition to disoriented Athenian society was the death of Plato's mentor, Socrates, which intensified Plato's attention to cure and alleviate the events. Nonetheless, political events and occurrences present during the time of both thinkers have sparked their outlook on their society to bestow principles and perceptions on how to make a better society.

Different time and different occurrences in political arena, however, one prevailing notion can possibly determine the roots of the problems, justice - an expansive principle and idea which comprises several portions. What's wrong with the justice dominating in Thucydides' time? In Plato's time? A universal concept in which particular ideas can be associated.

In able to further understand the definition of justice universally, it is better to go back to the condition of the societies in which these two philosophers had lived. Through the conditions, norms and standards of the society can be identified, thus, directing to a clear notion of description. Through the dominant forces and events during the time of a political philosopher, the notion of justice can be derived. On Thucydides' time, within a given system of states, a certain hierarchy among the states determined the pattern of their relations. Therefore, it was claimed that while a change in the hierarchy of weaker states did not ultimately affect a given system, a disturbance in the order of stronger states would decisively upset the stability of the system (Kemos, 1998). With this passage by Kemos of Harvard University, it can be seen justice as stability of hierarchy of states and consistent flow of order among other cities. Steady and constant play of political actors must be discernible in the society. As such, having the notion of stability and permanency, it is perceived that justice is considered to be the fair distribution of power and supremacy among states. Plato was highly dissatisfied with the prevailing degenerating conditions in Athens. The Athenian

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