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Analysis of Platos Philosopher King

  • Date Submitted: 01/07/2013 05:07 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 62.4 
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In this part of The Republic, Plato suggests that only the philosophers have the capability to know something, since they are the only ones that have access to the world of forms, and because of this ability, they should be the kings (guardians), hence the term philosopher-king. But before going further, Plato describes the difference between a philosopher and a lover of sights and sounds. The lovers of sights and sounds only deal with the particulars that have beauty, while the true philosophers deal with the form of beauty. The true beauty that is eternal. These lovers of sight and sound cannot have true knowledge since they don’t deal with the world of forms, and just hold opinions of the sensible particulars. These people that haven’t seen the sun (the good in the world of forms) and couldn’t escape from the cave can’t rule over men and shouldn’t be called philosophers by Plato’s definition.

Plato’s idea is very radical and he himself goes on to say that it won’t ever be implemented in the real world unless the philosophers become kings, or the kings become philosophers. Even though there is a logical sense behind it, the current kings and upper classmen will never let go of their social standings. So lets say that some philosophers wanted to take control of the kingdom; there is no way for them to assume power since they don’t have the capacity to fight off the greed and thirst that others have for wealth, power and position. This leaves us with the kings becoming philosophers, and this situation might be hard to come by. The idea given is therefore just a theoretical solution, which is what Plato always meant by it. He says we should us it as a scale and see how well our current society fits in with the perfectly just society. We can see that Plato has thought about this and has come up with a logical solution and counterargument to anyone that would oppose this idea. Bottom line, the idea is ingenious but too radical to ever be considered.

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