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Political philosophy notes

The truth is that if you want a well-governed state to be possible, you must find for your future rulers some way of life they like better than government; for only then will you have government by the truly rich, those, that is, whose riches not consist of gold, but of the true happiness of a good and rational life 512a The possibility of the city 1. Why philosophers make good rulers and why their rule is possible. 2. how to prepare the guardians for rule, or how we can recognise as good may be maintained in existence. Knowledge, belief and the philosopher (473c-487a) Those whose hearts are fixed on the true being of each thing are to be called philosophers and not lo ers of opinion!" #es, certainly." $%&a 'hilosophy and political power coincide in the same place, and (ocrates attempts to )ustify the philosopher"s dominance* 1. the good city is made possible if and only if irtuous and expert rule by its leaders is possible 2. +,ssumption 2 or ,2- .irtuous and expert rule is possible if and only if the rulers may be philosophers /. 0ule by philosophers is possible $. Therefore, the good city is possible. A - !ocrates arg"es for this on the basis of philosophers# attach$ent to learning, which he arg"es with this% 1. 'hilosophers lo e e ery kind of learning is his lo e of any branch of learning that re eals eternal reality, the realm unaffected by the icissitudes of change and decay" $%5b 2. 1o one else lo es that kind of learning /. +,ssumption / or ,/- The lo e of e ery kind of learning produces knowledge of ethical matters $. The lo e of e ery kind of learning produces irtue 5. Therefore, by +/- and +$-, the lo e of e ery kind of learning makes on a irtuous and expert ruler 2. +,2- by +1-, +2- and +5-, one is a irtuous and expert ruler if and only if one is a philosopher. 3f the argument works then it turns politics into an intellectual rather than practical pursuit. 'remise 2 rules out non4philosophical go ernance. 5laucon warns that a mob will sei6e (ocrates and punish him for what he has said. +Trial of (ocrates5laucon 4 lo ers of sights will still want to learn.

7 (ocrates responds with why knowledge is only really opinion compared to philosophers. +8pistemology argumentWhat has he shown of rele ance to the political rule of philosophers! 7 The must possess something ethical of a sort that can lead a city, +,/'roblem* assumes that e eryone is suited to one )ob +1oble lie!-, but (ocrates is proposing practical knowledge of ruling and abstract, theoretical philosophy be yoked together. 7 3f 'lato concedes that not e eryone is suited to one )ob, then his political system will collapse. 7 3f it stands, the con)unction of philosophy and politics is unnatural. 1ecessary premise* p$, that the lo e of e ery kind of learning produces irtue. 9nowledge : irtue would complete the argument. .irtue always accompanies philosophy, as a passion for wisdom reduces other passions. 7 'hilosophers become moderate, courageous and )ust. ;e ignores that a strong passion could lead to new ices, and that those absorbed in cerebral pursuits are still susceptible to greed and lust. 7 if reason can perform practical go ernance of the theoretical pursuit of truth, then the philosopher is both practical master and theoretical hunter. 7 Therefore, this will not pre ent philosophers but rather demand it. &haracteristics of the philosopher (48'c-487a) 7 he is in lo e with that whole of reality +the <orms-" 7 he will ne er willingly tolerate an untruth" 7 he will be self4controlled and not grasping about money" 7 must see it has no touch of meanness= pettiness of mind is >uite incompatible" 7 he won"t think death anything to be afraid of" 7 a well4balanced man, who is neither mean or ungenerous nor boastful nor cowardly" 7 we must demand a good memory" 7 a sense of proportion that will naturally and easily lead it on to see the form of each reality" 7 aren"t they the only people to whom you would entrust your state!" Philosophers in the e(isting society (487b-') c) ,deimantus argues that experience has shown that those who pursue philosophy become eccentric 4 not to say thoroughly icious" $%?d +@arge and 'owerful animal4 while the few decent ones are useless to the community and those who look the best of them are reduced by this study you praise so highly to complete uselessness as members of society" $%?d+(hip-. ,nalogy of the ship* 7 city A ship 7 public A ship owner, powerful but deaf and myopic man who knows little of ruling. larger and stronger than any of the crew, but a bit deaf and short4 sighted, and similarly limited in seamanship" $%%b

7 politicians A sailors who ie for ship"s captaincy the crew are >uarreling with each other... they spend all their time milling around the captain and doing all they can to get him to gi e them the helm" $%%c ,ll hostile towards the true na igator +philosopher- who they say is merely a starga6er 4 they do not think there"s such a thing as the art of na igation" (ocrates is not only saying why they (88B useless but why they actually ,08. 7 9nowledge of the best policy in this world has nothing to do with the execution of that policy. 'arable of the seed +$C1d4$C/a7 The most gifted characters become particularly bad if they are badly brought up. 7 the philosophic nature we ha e postulated, if it is properly taught, must in the course of its growth de elop e ery excellence, but if it is sown in unsuitable soil, the ery opposite will happen, unless pro idence inter enes" $C2a ,grees with ,deimantus that philosophers are icious, but it is society that has corrupted them. ;e does not answer this, but merely pro ides an alternati e 4D intrinsic badness @arge and 'owerful animal +$C/a4$C$aThe parable of the large and powerful animal serves as a critique against Athenian democracy and the ophists, who value the art of rhetoric and the power of persuasion more highly than reason! Adeimantus criticises the "ialectic method which ocrates uses, comparing it to being #hemmed in$ in a game of draughts, but also criticises his description of a philosopher-ruler! %e highlights the difference between ocrates a priori description of a philosopher &which portrays them as being truthful, controlled and quick to learn etc' and the a posteriori observations of philosophers as being corrupt and useless! ocrates does not disagree that philosophers are corrupt and useless, but instead continues to e(plain why this is not the fault of philosophy &evident again in the simile of the ship'! )eople often claim that philosophers are corrupt due to confusion between the philosophers and ophists! This simile highlights the different nature of the ophists! ocrates compares the ophist to a man who, after rearing a beast for a long time, learns how to please the animal, when it is likely to be especially vicious, and what the different noises it makes mean! %e supposes the man then sets up to teach this system, calling it a science! *t is evident, however, that the man does not really know the reasons behind the animals behaviour; which of its actions are admirable or shameful! %e would simply call that which pleased the animal #good$ and that which displeased it #bad$! This criticises the Athenian democracy, where the best ophists often delivered speeches or were bribed! *n the same way as the man in the parable learnt what pleased the animal, not what was good for it, the ophists would only give the public what they wanted and not what they needed or what was best for them! ocrates emphasised the need for a resolute leader rather than a responsive leader! The ophists merely pander to popular taste, calling their understanding of human emotions a science! +odern political theorists call )latos thesis a form of paternalism, as his analogy seems to imply that, because our leaders know what is in our best interests, we should allow them to decide laws accordingly . +This is taken from The (tudent 0oom as an example exam answer to illustrate the @arge and 'owerful animal, and 3 thought it was clear and useful-

#et, ,deimantus has seen something important about the olatile relationship between philosophers and politics. 8 en in a good city, there is a potential for corruption of its rulers. They will be susceptible to the blandishments of wealth and glory, and after all, they are human. Philosophers in the *ood &ity (') c-'+4b) ;ow can it maintain itself! What education will pre ent them from corruption! Eigresses* <orm of the 5ood +5&2c4521b- and the pedagogical system of the city +521c45$1bThe ,or$ of the *ood (') c-'+ c) The <orm of the 5ood analogy of the sun. 7 ,s the highest principle for ethics and metaphysics it promises to )ustify rule by philosophers. 7 Without it, one can ne er coherently think about moral issues as there is no moral pattern to plan human life by. Eegrades the alue of ethical beha iour without philosophy. Fnly with the <orm of the 5ood, greater than )ustice" that the 'hilosopher rulers become useful and beneficial. 7 Fther irtues of the soul become lackluster. ,llegory of the Ga e +51$a451?a-* Hrings politics back to the discussion of the <orm of the 5ood. 7 ;uman life* prisoners are shackled in the Ga e, backs to the opening, unable to turn their heads from the shadows. their legs and necks being so fastened that they can only look straight ahead of them and they cannot turn their heads" I the shadows are not shadows of real ob)ects or are they cast by real light. 7 (hadows* fire, men walking back and forth holding up models of real ob)ects. like the screen at a puppet show" I We take this to be reality. and so in e ery way they would belie e that the shadows of the ob)ects we mentioned were the whole truth= 7 @earning philosophy* forced to see the fire he would be at a loss", the mouth of the ca e then the sunlit world outside his eyes would be so da66led by the glare of it that he wouldn"t be able to see a single one of the things he was now told were real" . Then, they ha e to accustom themsel es to the light outside. <irst they see the reflections of the ob)ects, then the ob)ects, then ultimately the sun. 1o surprise why the philosophers are )udged when they return to the ca e. 1ot only does this defend (ocrates" memory they would kill him if they could lay hands on him", but also shows a duty to anyone who reaches the <orm of the 5ood that they would be compelled to return to the Ga e in the 'latonic city, e en though he would feel like a serf in the house of a some landless man" 7 5laucon protests that this would be an in)ustice to the 'hilosophers. I (ocrates 4 the city is to produce harmonious whole, philosophers owe their happiness to the city and only they ha e what the city needs.

I our state and yours will really be awake and not merely dreaming like most societies today, with their shadow battles and their struggles for political power, which they treat as some great pri6e" Fnly philosophers know a happier life than ruling, hence only they will rule without falling into factions. 7 implies that philosophers ha e something better to do than rule the city. Hack to the problem of philosophy and ruling being two different things. I not denying the aptitude, but showing they are different things to perform. Plato#s ed"cational theory (' +c-'4+b) ;a e to go through education in music, maths, gymnastics, synoptic study of all sub)ects, dialectic and then ser e in military and ci il posts. Then by the age of 5& they reach the <orm of the 5ood. The Threat of the Eialectic 1ot actually how (ocrates or 5laucon came into philosophy. 7 'lato would rather ha e a city of obedients that those with the intelligence of (ocrates. (ocrates does not want the dialectic to be taught to the young as they can become corrupted 7 ,deimantus" criticism. 'lato"s sensiti ity to weakness of philosophical temperament becomes a problem when we see the alue he places in them. 7 absolute power finds its warrant in the infallibility of the philosophers. I how infallible are they when they are potentially sub)ect to such moral decay! 3s 'lato a theorist of totalitarian go ernment! 7 Fb ious affinities* I Gommunism 4 5uardians li e together in dorms etc +needs expandingI <ascism 4 citi6ens own their lone allegiance to the state= gi es itself o er to military organisation. Frganic theory of the state in the sense that it counts as the indi idual. I ,uthoritarianism 4 knowledge of the <orms licences total domination, lying to people about their births through the noble lie, eugenics programme among the 5uardians and restrictions placed upon speech and poetry +Hook J7 Eissimilarities* I 'latonic idea of community as an extended family was already present in ,thens. <ascism is dangerous because of its artificial imposition of tradition on unfamiliar context, not merely repeating platitudes of the day I Eoes not personalise state to demand irrational loyalty as political obligation depends on the city"s merits I Banifestations of state power 4 'lato allows the normals" to li e as they like +to an extent-, di orces economic from political power.

'lato was merely a precursor to authoritarianism, not totalitarianism as it is a modern day ideology.