A Central Question Of Government : Who Should Rule

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In The Republic, Plato attempts to deconstruct and solve a central question of government: who should rule. In tackling the quandary of justice, he considers the ideal polis or kallipolis, a collective unit of self-government, and the relationship between the structure of the Republic and its attainment. Plato pontificates that philosopher-kings should be the ultimate authority, they possess special knowledge, which is required to rule the kallipolis successfully and optimise the happiness of its citizens. Plato argues that “there will be no end to the troubles of states… humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in the world… and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands” (Plato, 212b-c). The kallipolis is a just city where political rule is predicated not on power, but knowledge. Nonetheless, Plato recognises that power plays an essential role in the function of the kallipolis and the modern state. Plato’s argument for the philosopher-kings’ rule is not realistic, however traces of the characteristics of his normative form of rule appear in the modern state. Nonetheless, it is necessary to highlight aspects of the modern state congruent to those of the kallipolis. The essay will conclude that, in terms of Plato’s argument, the philosopher-kings should govern; Plato advertises a republican political system, implemented through meritocracy.
While recognising the fundamental flaw in humankind so clearly manifested in the “Hitlers” and “Stalins” of

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