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POL200Y1Y L5101 1
L8: Republic VIII & IX
June 4, 2009
•Persuasion + Compulsion
•Timocracy+ the Pursuit of Honor
•Oligarchy + the Pursuit of Wealth
•Democracy, Disorder + Freedom
•Tyranny + Self-Enslavement
•Comparison of Lives
Persuasion + Compulsion
•Is their freedom comprised by compelling them to rule?
•Socrates would say: if the philosophers are capable of higher things, as human beings they are not
capable of a higher sort of life than merely the mixed political/philosophical life he envisions for
them. At [498A], they cannot find a better city. If somehow the philosophers did not require cities
to live, then they may somehow find a way to philosophize with even more of their time than in
Kallipolis. It's natural for human beings to live in cities given what they are. But accounting for
human nature, everything in this dialogue occurs within the confines of human nature. Hence, the
philosophers will live the best life that human beings are capable of. Everyone in the city will be as
happy as they can be. But with the producers/warrior their own special desires for money and
material wealth and honours (in warriors); these desires were not to be allowed to run out of
control. But they will be restrained if need be so as to make them appropriate citizens. The same
goes with the philosophers, their natural desires to philosophize will not be allowed to run
unrestrained. Like the others, the philosophers, given who they are have an initial prima facie
preference to philosophize 24/7 that CONFLICTS with the needs of the community. The city will
call them back to who they really are: human beings who live in a city with other human beings.
Philosopher will therefore recognize that it is good for them to rule in this city.
•Why is it good for them?
•Because it is just for them to rule. Remember that Socrates is trying to argue that justice is good
for the agent himself. The producers continue to care for their material well being. Even if the
founders of the city make a law that philosopher smuts rule, it is the philosopher rulers
themselves that must sustain this law. The point of this law is that it is only fair and just they
must rule this city. Hence if they know human goodness, they will do this because it is just. The
philosophers do not have to be compelled to rule but they will rule because it is good for the city
and themselves. Yet they didn’t say this because he didn’t wan to muddy the waters and concede to
Thrasymachus that rulers rule out of their own self interest. Though it is in a sense since it is just
for them to do so.
•Book VIII Now
•It represents itself of the digression through books V -VIII
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POL200Y1Y L5101 2
•Why digress? Socrates had to offer an account of who the philosopher was and what his unique
knowledge was; so that he could explain why justice is just for the possessor and to entertain the
notion that human beings would be better off being ruled by humans with knowledge of human
•[445D] - he says Kallipolis is the best city
•By investigating human psychology and political life, his discussion of the inferior forms of just ice
will be enriched
•Now he can return to why Thrasymachus is wrong
•But Kallipolis must go about a change
•This goes about by civil war [545C]. 462A-B shows why unity and harmony are the best. Through
a glitch the cities will eventually mix up the classes of metals and this will produce civil war.
•  demonstrates the limits of philosophy in ruling
•Despite their knowledge, they cannot control the sensible/physical world in every particular
•They cannot hit on the modes of fertility
•Sense perception: the philosophers cannot predict how the material world will evolve
•The corrupt regimes are of two types of idealness
•Two types of intermediate regimes (even though there are many mixed types of regimes possible)
•But he can't deal with them all
•The Timocratic constitution = close to Sparta
•Democratic = close to Athens
•But what he is doing here is extracting for the real world the distinctive psychological principles.
Then he will evaluate these principles.
Timocracy + the Pursuit of Honor
•Aristocracy (Kallipolis) to Timocracy begins in honour. Begins from holding property in common.
Things begin to privatize. Because of the mixture of metals in the souls the rulers begin to dispute
among themselves and eventually agree to compromise. They agree to the legitimacy of private
property and the enslavement of the producers they have been charged to protect. This is a huge
abandonment of the rulers ruling for the sake of the ruled.
•What is lost in this transition?
•Motivation to work towards common good
•Internal rebellion and international security are not guaranteed. Furthermore, potential
philosopher have lost their education. These changes are meant to show just how good Kallipolis
•It begins to resemble classical Sparta. It has professional soldiers supported by producers. This is
the spirited city for Socrates. It promotes the desires of the soul's spirited elements: to gain honour
and win. It's dominant end is honour. The city as a whole considers the good to consist in winning
honour rather than cultivating proper virtues and producing rational order
•Pursuing honour as the highest value embodies a misunderstanding of the natural order.
•What is wrong with honour?
•In Kallipolis the rulers will be honoured for the right reasons, they know what is good for the
whole city. You should value the things honoured and esteemed by the right sorts of people.
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