Are Philosophers Good Citizens? Plato 's Republic?

2501 Words Mar 28th, 2016 11 Pages
POL200Y1 – C. Orwin
Maria Ouchnikova | 1001396170

Are Philosophers Good Citizens in Plato’s Republic?

It seems that Plato says that the good man is a just man. Philosopher by nature is endowed with the ability to understand what justice is and how to achieve it. However, only because philosopher has the knowledge of the true sense, does that make them just and moreover a good citizen? To figure this out we need to look carefully at the definition of each of the terms.
First of all, while the definition of a good man and a good citizen tend to overlap for the most part, there appears to be a slight difference between the two. A good citizen is the one who does what is good for the city, and for the benefit of the community. He is the one who obeys the laws. A good man however, is a just man, who achieves and possesses superior virtues. It appears that the definition of a good man is way deeper than the one of a good citizen and there is no reason to assume that the two are the same.
Justice and discussion as to what it actually is presents as one of the major themes in Plato’s Republic. Plato defines justice as the highest virtue in a state, built on principles of good. Just society is the one, in which everyone fully realizes abilities given to them by nature and rightly practices those abilities and nothing else. Justice is closely related to the person and the ideal state, tying them together. “Justice is a virtue of a soul” (R. 353e) and just like how there are three…

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