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Lecture 10

PHI 1101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Cephalus, Essentialism, Glaucon

Course Code
PHI 1101
Laura Byrne

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Possible Test and Examination Question:
The Ideal City and its Classes
Explain Socrates’s account of the origin of the city and its classes up to and
including the Guardian (ruling) class in terms of the necessary and sufficient
conditions for a flourishing human life. (11 marks)
The city is necessary condition of a flourishing human life because none of us
is self sufficient; the city meets our basic human needs by the division of
labour & distribution of goods. (1 mark)
Is the city that meets our basic human needs a sufficient condition of a
flourishing human life? No: Glaucon objects that this is merely an animal city,
a city of pigs. Human nature, which is pleonexia (the desire to get more and
more and outdo everyone else) demands luxury; humans want more than
they need; we must introduce luxuries (things we want, but do not need) into
the city (1 mark)
Once we introduce luxury into the city there is nothing we will not ask for:
The citizens will want the property of other citizens, and the city will want
the property of other cities. This means that war, crime, and the desire for
empire are inevitable. (1 mark)
Given this, is the worker class sufficient? No: We need a warrior class, the
Guardians, to deal with conflict in the city and between cities. (1 mark)
What are the criteria for being a good Guardian? 1) Physical: strong, swift,
keen senses. These are necessary. (1 mark)
Are these sufficient? No: They must have a certain quality of soul: Spirit. (1
Keen senses, Speed, Strength, Spirit: Are individually necessary and jointly
sufficient conditions of being a good Guardian. (1 mark)
But the Guardian class is problematic because they could be savage to the
citizens and one another, so they must have the correct education. (1 mark)
These two classes are not sufficient for a flourishing human life. We need a
ruling class. (1 mark)
What are the conditions of being a good ruler? (Note: Rulers are now called
Guardians while the warriors are now Auxiliaries: students may write
Guardian or ruler)
The Rulers should be: chosen from the Warrior class, older than the ruled,
the best of the Warrior class: they must be knowledgeable and capable. Are
these criteria sufficient? No. The Rulers must also care for the city. (1 mark)
(Students might explain this by saying that they have the right values; i.e.
They can see the big picture, or see beyond narrow class interests. They
might also explain this by saying that they know that if the city does well they
will do well, and vice versa.)
Is this sufficient? No. They must preserve this belief. (Students might explain
this by saying that the have Integrity) (1 mark)
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