Plato’s commentary on eugenics

With regard to our class discussion on Monday, here is some information on Plato and his view of “eugenics.”

In The Classical Quarterly, by GMA Grube, marriage laws in Plato’s Republic are explored: http://www.jstor.org/stable/636442?cookieSet=1

Here is a blog comment on a wikipedia entry: http://philosophistry.com/archives/2009/05/plato_believed_in_eugenics.html
According to this blog’s author: “Mates, in Plato’s Republic, would be chosen by a “marriage number” in which the quality of the individual would be quantitatively analyzed, and persons of high numbers would be allowed to procreate with other persons of high numbers. In theory, this would lead to predictable results and the improvement of the human race. However, Plato acknowledged the failure of the “marriage number” since “gold soul” persons could still produce “bronze soul” children.”

It is interesting to note how historical the idea of eugenics really is. While some may think of it as purely scientific, it is important to see how Plato advocated that social practices could bring his concept of eugenics into reality.

-Elizabeth S.

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~ by elizabethstinson on February 3, 2010.

One Response to “Plato’s commentary on eugenics”

  1. Your point about Plato belief in the importance of social practices is really valuable.

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