It is important to note that Plato is considered to among the first thinkers to introduce the ideas of social psychology in his works. Obviously, he did not gave definitions for some specific concepts. Nevertheless, his vision of the ideal society is based on the understanding of the behavioral patterns of individuals in conditions of regular interaction with each other. Evidently, mostly all Plato’s ideas related to social psychology could be found in the “Republic” dialogue.
Plato highlighted the fact that the just society has to be divided on the three fundamental classes, which are the guardiands, the producers, and the auxiliaries. The members of each of these classes need to focus on the specific task, which gives an opportunity for the entire community to survive. Thus, the philosopher was sure that it was crucial for people to accept their fate and perform in accordance with the class system (Plato 2014). Plato was confident that such type of the society’s division could bring happiness to all citizens because this stratification is based on the natural factors. Accordingly, Plato developed the holistic vision of the social psychology.
At the same time, Plato examined the phenomenon of irrational behavior of the crowd. He criticized democracy due to the assumption that people could not behave rationally in conditions of the struggle between the different groups for the power. Plato highlighted the destructive role of demagogues on the formation of the democratic government. According to Plato, the optimal form of government is aristocracy (MacKinnon 2014). Consequently, Plato was sure that the psychology of social behavior reveals the necessity for the citizens to follow the commands of the most worthy people who represent the class of the guardians. Needless to say, that this political worldview seriously contradicts the modern perception of the optimal social behavior of the individuals (Goldstein 2014).
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Goldstein, Bruce. (2014). Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience. Wadsworth Publishing. 496.
MacKinnon, Barbara, Fiala, Andrew. (2014). Ethics: Theory and Contemporary Issues. Wadsworth Publishing, 608.
Plato. (2014). The Republic. Routledge Publishing. 206.