PHIL 240 Who Should Rule? - Plato

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27 Sep 2011

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III: Who should rule?
What is Democracy?
For the people: ruling in the people's interests
By the people: rulings decided by the general populace
Contentions with Democracy
1) Tyranny of the Majority
People are not homogenous, differing in various ways. Majority rule can have very
negative consequences for certain minorities.
2) Representative vs Direct
Every issue cannot be put to the electorate; representatives are elected. Critique
of contemporary liberal democracy: never really ever had it.
Ancient Greece: thought voting for candidates was undemocratic, as it gave the
unpopular less than equal chance
Who makes up the electorate? (Women? Migrant workers?) What will the electoral
system be? (PR? FPTP?)
Plato against Democracy
Craft Analogy: if one seeks medical aid, one goes to a doctor, an expert, and not
the whims of a crowd
If governance is a skill, then it should be left to philosopher-kings, who have
been brought up in an education meant to hone that skill; they will be the best fit
to rule.
Rebuttal: experts are called upon for “advice”, not “laws.”
Rebuttal #2: who will guard the Guardians?
Counter-criticism: Guardians will be placed in a situation as to not be
motivated by base desires (cannot own property)
Then why be a Guardian?
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