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Lecture 20

POL200Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Radical Change, Glaucon, Totalitarianism

Political Science
Course Code
Clifford Orwin

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Book 8
Goes from the city of speech to the examples of actual cities
The cities are examples of decline
Study question 1
If something is radical, this implies an outlier
Then, it was radical because democracies are placed by Socrates next to
Tyranny which would have been controversial for Athens
Socrates' position is very radical
Radical positions support proposals for radical change; he presents radical
change as change, always for the worse
If all change is for the worse, then the status quo should always be
defended because anything that comes after will be worse
The status quo in Athens was democracy; so in a strange way he is a
defender of democracy despite criticizing it
Socrates does not offer any empirical evidence or examples
This isn't social science; Aristotle however does present examples
This is more akin to a sermon; to put down the tyrannical regime and the tyrannical
If the only alternative to democracy is tyranny, then we should hold onto democracy as
strongly as possible; the alternative is much worse
He is saying not to aim for oligarchies or aristocracies because after dismantling
democracy, what will occur is not those regimes but tyranny
Foresees modern totalitarianism
He is presenting a transitional stage (not quite a oligarchy or a full democracy)
Socrates has many criticisms for democracies
He doesn't reject loyalty to democracy; he supports loyalty to democracy
However, his presentation of democracy does showcase some of its faults
Socrates compares each type of regime with a part of the soul
He also gives parallel accounts of each defective regime, with a defective part of the
His argument is that each regime has a particular portion of the soul which is at the
forefront (ex. Spiritedness in democracy)
The parallel between the supposedly best city and the best part of the soul
These parallels accomplish the idea that the order of the defective parts of the soul is
correlated to the defective order of regimes/cities
This leads to the conclusion that the soul of the Tyrant is the worst and must be
the unhappiest soul
The focus is not on the regimes in particular but rather its connection to the soul
Remember he is attempting to convince Glaucon that the tyrannical soul is the
worst one
Democratic city: Study question 2
Purpose: Set the idea of the democratic man and imply the idea that those who live in
the democratic city will turn out to be one
Defining Character: Freedom or permissiveness
Found in greater quantity in democracies over other regimes
Has genuine diversity
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