Plato's Ideas About Philosopher Kings Depicted in Republic Essay

Plato's Ideas About Philosopher Kings Depicted in Republic Essay

Length: 1710 words (4.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In Plato's most famous work 'Republic' he puts forward the view that only the study of philosophy would allow man to see what was good and just. Therefore to cure the ill's of society it would be necessary to either make kings philosophers or make philosophers kings. I intend to show how Plato justifies this view and then attempt to point out some possible problems with this justification and to forward my own view that 'the people' should ultimately be king.

Plato's starting point was his recognition that justice was one of four cardinal virtues, along with wisdom, courage and moderation, that when working harmoniously together in a high level of order - he felt equalled the elusive 'good life'.
Plato thought that the best way to discover what justice was, was to create a 'perfect soul' - this he did by first creating a theoretical 'perfect city', which would have a good soul and all four virtues. Using the theory that the 'polis is the individual writ large' he intended to compare his perfect city with a perfect person and subsequently evaluate justice.

Plato's perfect city was to be a model of order, efficiency and discipline. Above all it would be governed by the strict adherence to what White refers to as 'the natural division of labour'. This was to take the form of vocational and social division within the city. Everyone had one job in order to specialise and become good at it. 'We forbade our shoemaker to try his hand at farming or weaving or building and told him to stick to his last, in order that our shoemaking should be well done.'
More fundamentally however the city was to be divided into three distinct social classes, in which people would be raised from birth. These classes consisted of the producers, the gu...


... middle of paper ...


...been replaced by a fierce belief in individualism that is underwritten by a nebulas concept of equality enshrined in individual rights and constitutional checks, perhaps based ultimately on the 'free-for-all' concept of capitalism.

I do not think that the idea of Philosopher-kings would or could have worked in Plato's day, let alone any other since then given the nullifying concepts from Aristotle to Christianity to Capitalism. I tend to agree to some extent with Karl Poppers view that Plato allowed himself to be seduced by the idea (as many others have since) that he (and his theoretical like in the philosopher-kings) were the only ones that could see objectively and so should rule. It is a trap more dangerous, possibly, than any other and democracy (in the modern, rather than Greek sense), its antithesis, is a far safer - if far less than perfect alternative.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Importance of Thrasymachus in Plato’s Republic Essays

- The Importance of Thrasymachus in Plato’s Republic      Dr. Malters’s comments: This student does two things quite remarkable for an undergraduate student. In his compact essay, not only does he display an in-depth understanding of complex perspectives on justice put forth by the protagonist Socrates, he deftly explains how Plato has artfully made rude objections by a seemingly minor character early in the dialogue function as a structuring device for nearly all the important ideas examined thereafter....   [tags: Plato Republic Essays]

Powerful Essays
932 words (2.7 pages)

Pluto´s Ideals from the Republic Essay examples

- Plato’s ideals Arguably, in the history of ideas, Plato has planted the strongest and deepest seeds to the mind of humans and we have been pondering and trying to exercise them ever since. His “theory of forms” will be discussed, and somewhat hesitantly dismissed, in the context as he writes in the works of “The Republic”, because his theory is sound the same way math equations are sound and lead to undisputable answers, but problematic in how it can be proved and to whom it actually benefits will always vary....   [tags: forms, ideas, knowledge, experiment]

Powerful Essays
1300 words (3.7 pages)

Essay about The Republic by Plato

- Wisdom, courage, moderation and justice are four essential virtues the ideal state must be built upon, as explained by Socrates in Plato’s Republic. Throughout the eight books of Socratic dialogue the ideal state and ideas of justice are debated, on both individual and state levels. The guidelines for a perfect state and how it will come about are thoroughly described. Socrates covers every aspect of political life and how it should work stating that “until power and philosophy entirely coincide… cities will have no rest form evils” ....   [tags: Socrates, Caractersitics]

Powerful Essays
1211 words (3.5 pages)

Socrates' Aim in "The Republic of Plato" Essay

- From the very beginning of The Republic of Plato it has been Socrates’ aim to prove to Adeimantus and Glaucon, why men lead just lives. In order to thoroughly explain his point of view as we now know Socrates went about setting up his city of thought. Through the formation of the city of thought we are first introduced to Socrates idea of what his ideally just city would be like and how it would be formed. We are from the formation of this completely just city introduced us to the minds of the “philosopher-kings” who are to be the rulers of Socrates’ city....   [tags: Philosophy]

Powerful Essays
932 words (2.7 pages)

The Apology and the Republic Essay

- Socrates was a renowned philosopher in the ancient Grecian times. His peak was around the Peloponnesian War, when the Spartans defeated the Athenians and ended the Golden Age. The reason Socrates is one of histories most famous philosophers is largely due to Plato's writings. Two of Plato's famous works include The Apology and The Republic, both written about Socrates' views about the so called "wise philosophers" of his time. The two works hold unique views about government, as well as opening the eyes of the Grecian people to the world as they knew it....   [tags: Philosophy Socrates Plato]

Powerful Essays
925 words (2.6 pages)

Plato's Ideas of an Inefficient Democracy Essay

- Plato's Ideas of an Inefficient Democracy Plato's Republic describes precisely how he feels about society and what the true meaning of justice is within that society. Plato feels that a city can only function if each of pieces does its part and nothing else. He also thinks that a perfect society should run on a distinct social scale. This scale descends in the order from the philosopher kings to the guardians to the craftspeople. His ideal society would be run in the form of an aristocracy where the philosopher kings use the guardians to ultimately rule the lowly craftspeople....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
990 words (2.8 pages)

Knowledge of Good in Plato's The Republic Essay

- An Intellectual Knowledge of Good in Plato’s Republic Socrates might be a wise philosopher but one of his ideas strikes me as particularly naive. In the allegory of the cave, he tells Glaucon that "in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort [·] and that this is the power upon which he [the intellectual] would act rationally" (517b-c). In other words, he seems to be implying that knowledge of goodness is a sufficient condition for being good....   [tags: Philosophy Religion Essays]

Powerful Essays
973 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Plato's Republic

- Plato's Republic Plato, one of the most ingenious and powerful thinkers in Western philosophy, born around 425 B.C. Plato investigated a wide range of topics. Dominant among his ideas is an immense discourse called The Republic. The main focus of Plato is a perfect society. He outlines a utopian society, out of his disapproval for the tension of political life. Plato lived through the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), in which much of Greece was devastated. This created poverty and political confusion and corruption....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
977 words (2.8 pages)

Essay about Justice in Plato's Republic

- What is justice. Obviously, the word can have multiple meanings. If we were to walk in the Student Center and ask ten people what justice was, they probably all would have different responses. I am not saying that they would not have some of the same ideas, but ultimately, their responses would vary. Having said that, what if one of the people's ideas of justice included injustices. For example, Adolf Hitler believed that justice would be reached by completely wiping out Jewish people and creating a "perfect" blonde-haired, blue-eyed Aryan race....   [tags: Plato Philosophy Society]

Free Essays
1449 words (4.1 pages)

Essay on Plato's Concept of Philosopher-kings

- "Society originates because the individual is not self-sufficient and no two of us is born exactly alike." How do those two assumptions/principles lead to Plato's ideal society being ruled by philosophers. Are you convinced by his claim that Philosophers should rule. A good starting point will be to consider what Plato means by these two assumptions. The first assumption states that the individual not self-sufficient (369b). This is the basis by which cities form; communities of human beings are created because every man has needs that he cannot cater for by his own means, which ensues in the association of the needy....   [tags: Politics]

Powerful Essays
2003 words (5.7 pages)