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polb70 lecture notes

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Political Science
Andy Lee

POL B70Classic Texts of Political Theory I Professor Lee Lecture 3 September 27 Plato continuedReadings for this lecturePlato The Republic Book V471c480 Book VI complete Book VII514a521b Book VIII complete Book IX complete Review The Republic Politeia begins with a debate about justice but quickly becomes a discussion about political leadership and the virtues required for effective political leadership over a citySomeone must rule the city for it to act as one unit and with a common purposePlato asks who should ruleIII412c The bestthe aristoishould ruleIts a matter of justiceIt is just that the bestand only the bestshould rule the cityOr to put the same point differently it would be unjust if anybody else ruled the city we return to this last point laterBut who counts as the bestas aristoiAnd what would the rule of the bestliterally aristocracy a compound word from aristoskratoslook likePlato now begins to give us an answer to this question by describing for us the kind of person that is best suited to rule the virtuous citythe philosopherIn fact Plato claims the kallipolis can only come into existence when V473c cf VI499ac philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophize that is until political power and philosophy entirely coincideThe best ruler then is what Plato calls the philosopherkingPhilosophy is what makes one best suited to rule Philosophy and the PhilosopherKing What then is philosophyAnd what is so special about philosophy that makes one best suited for ruling the cityII375e376bthe philosopher is like a dogthe dog loves what it knows but treats what it doesnt know as an enemyIt separates knowledge from ignoranceSimilarly the philosopher is the lover of knowledge but avoids ignorancePhilosophy Gr philosophia as the love of learningthe love of wisdomPhilosopher must bewithout falsehood 485abhighminded 486ea fast learner 486ca good memory 486dmeasured and graceful 486dBut there are some who seem to be like philosophers but are not true philosophers the lovers of sights and sounds V475d476bPlato wants us to see the difference between 1 those who love only the sight and the sound of things 2 those who love the nature of the thing itself permanent and unchanging Eg those who love the sight and sound of beautiful things 1 and those who love the nature of beauty itself 2 Only philosophers can apprehend the nature of beauty this is true knowledge of beautyMost other people can only appreciate and understand instances of beautiful things but not the nature of beauty itself this is not knowledge but opinionThen there are others who have no knowledge or opinion of either beauty itself or instances of beautiful things this is ignorance1
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