Plato philosopher kings essay

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In The Republic , Plato argues that kings should become philosophers or that philosophers should become kings, or philosopher kings, as they possess a special level of knowledge, which is required to rule the Republic successfully. To deal with the problem of justice, Plato considers the ideal polis, a collective unit of self-government, and the relationship between the structure of the Republic and the attainment of justice.


Plato argues that philosopher kings should be the rulers, as all philosophers aim to discover the ideal polis. Although theoretically it would be ideal if the Republic and the modern state were ruled by knowledge, and not power, power is crucial in the make-up of political activity.

At the same time, it is inevitable to pick out some features of the modern state congruent to those of the ideal polis. Nowadays, most modern states are democratic, in the sense that people have a say in the running of the state. To Plato, it all boils down to what democracy means, literally.

FREE Plato - Philosopher King Essay

It should, Plato urges, be left to the experts. With this allegory, Plato is not only stressing the idea that specialization is key to the running of the Republic, but also that philosophers were unappreciated in BC Athens, and thus useless because the world would not use them and their knowledge.

It also stresses the dangers of liberty and equality, as well as the unnaturalness of democracy. At the same time, philosophers must possess qualities that enable them to rule; for instance, they must be able to recognize the difference between friend and foe, good and bad. Justice is a virtue, as is knowledge, which requires understanding.

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Understanding refers to goodness, and thus, knowledge and goodness are one. The philosopher kings have virtue as they have knowledge, and thus, according to Plato, their rule is justified. Nevertheless, this argument is not persuasive or realistic in contemporary politics and the modern state, for a number of reasons.

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Therefore, all states have not only become supporters of the representative model of democracy, whereby voters determine who will represent them at governmental level, but have also adopted a pluralist attitude towards politics. Ideally, these interest groups should have the necessary knowledge to bring about political change, but it is very hard to determine and quantify the necessary knowledge to bring about such change.

Also, being a philosopher, and knowing about logic, ethics, metaphysics and political philosophy, does not necessarily make you an expert on the interests of the people.

It is the people who, in theory, rulers are aiming to represent and support. Guardians and Aa Aa.