What is a state? What explanation does Plato give for "organic theory of state"?

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boomer-sooner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

     In Plato's "Republic" he argues the state is analogous to the soul, in that the state is an extension if not a direct representation of the individual.  The state is the name given to the theoretical framework which attaches individuals together.  Ideally the state is society, however it is not synonymous.  Plato thought there were three levels to the state.  The guardians were the ones who governed the state according to the will of the collective.  The auxiliaries are the soldiers who protect the state from foreign interests.  The producers are those who create the basic necessities of the state such as farmers and artists. 

     Plato assumes the state operates like a man.  Every part of man functions together to create the entire person.  An arm apart cannot survive on its own and likewise the man is not as useful if an arm is lost.  Therefore, while the goal of the just state is to serve all of the functions it is quite possible and even probable the state shall make a decision to harm a portion of the body to protect the larger body.   This argument is shown in his quote, "the best ordered commonwealth is one whose structural organization resembled most nearly to an individual".