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Lecture 5

Lecture 5 - The Republic VI, VII, VIII & IX

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Political Science
Sophie Bourgault

Oct 31, 2013 I. The philosopher: justifying his rule and explaining why he won’t rule  Image of the ship (487d)  Plato is trying to convince us why philosophers should be kings and kings philosophers – best people to rule a city/state  Why they’re exceptional, why we should trust them.  Philosopher is driven by his love for wisdom  He is someone who has true knowledge, whereas the rest of us just have opinion  Knowledge is stable and it can be taught  The philosopher is a quick learner, a music person, good memory, in control of all desires (wealth, money, etc.)  Not afraid of death  Adeimentus – reality is different – philosopher are corrupt or useless for the city  At best, philosophers are useless for the city because they stay away from politics and don’t seem to have anything sensible to say about politics when they do take part.  The make the city worse, they corrupt men, they put us into debt, they accuse power.  Plato takes those charges seriously  487d – throw the good ones overboard. They don’t understand the captain must have may skills in order to be a good captain “stargazer, a babbler, a good for nothing”  Ship owner: The people of the city  The sailor: the Sophists  The true captain: the philosophers  Democracy is said to be a threat not only to the philosopher (they might execute him or laugh at him), it’s also bad for the people (manipulated and abused)  Plato is completely indifferent to taking power  The philosophers appear to be useless, just like the stargazer, but they do serve a purpose  It isn’t for the ruler to beg the others to accept his rule  It’s not up to the stargazer to convince the ship owner to give him power. It’s up to us to ‘knock on the door’/beg of the philosopher to rule the city/state  False philosophers – might have initially been interested in true philosophy, but they’ve been corrupted  This corruption came from their environment – bad popular opinion, bad sophists, bad friends  Nature is not everything – great potential can become great good or great evil  The life of justice is a never-ending battle with temptations II. The allegory of the cave: the allegory of the cave Cave – beliefs/opinions Outside – true opinion Sun - thought  The journey from the cave to the light is painful, but could potentially be the best thing that’s ever happened to you  The person released from their bonds experienced great pain and loss – realized they were mere shadows and all he’s ever known isn’t real  Temporary blindness in the ‘real’ world – perhaps one day will be able to see “the good” (the sun)  The free man would feel sorry for those unenlightened that remain in the cave (will philosophers care about the people –ruling)  He goes back to the ‘world of darkness/shadows’ to try and convince others that what they know is false  Tight bonds – public opinion weights heavily on the mind and does not allow us to become enlightened  Various disciplines of the philosopher kinds Music Physical training – 2-3 years Mathematical sciences – 10 years (astronomy, geometry, harmony) Dialectic 15 years of practice  Key lessons: (1) Education is about turning the soul in the right direction (518c)  (2) Education takes for granted that sight is already there  The painful process of finding “the good” is necessary  The power to learn is present in everyone’s soul -yet only the few will make it III. Plato’s science of regimes  Each regime represents a certain type of personality  Aristocracy – the ideal regime off of which he bases all others  Each regime is defined by its rulers, and those rulers’ desires  Aristocracy…wisdom Timocracy…honor Oligarchy…$ Democracy...freedom Tyranny…unnecessary desires  A failure in education is at the root of most regime changes  The best POSSIBLE regime is a timocracy (honor)  This regime would fall apart due to an error in reason regarding the breeding system  Class purity – gold, silver bronze  The failure of the system is when pure gold children would cease to exist  The impossibility of perfect knowledge is the reason for the impossibility for the perfect city  Consequences: less justice, less courage, et
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