Plato's Ideas About Philosopher Kings Depicted in Republic Essay

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In Plato's most famous work 'Republic' he puts forward the view that only the study of philosophy would allow man to see what was good and just. Therefore to cure the ill's of society it would be necessary to either make kings philosophers or make philosophers kings. I intend to show how Plato justifies this view and then attempt to point out some possible problems with this justification and to forward my own view that 'the people' should ultimately be king. Plato's starting point was his recognition that justice was one of four cardinal virtues, along with wisdom, courage and moderation, that when working harmoniously together in a high level of order - he felt equalled the elusive 'good life'. Plato thought that the best way to…show more content…
The producers were to be the farmers and artisans who were responsible for the supply of food, clothing and other such essential but basic needs. They would be highly specialised and allowed money and private property as their main incentive. In the individual soul the producers equated to desire as they were not governed by true reason. In the same way that ungoverned desire e.g. I must eat this cake even though it is not mine, created conflict in an individual that must be controlled, the producers were susceptible to the temptation to take land with better soil or more area for example. Therefore a second class was necessary - to protect from both internal and external threats and keep both the city and the soul in order. The perfect city maintained order by using guardians, the guardians were the warrior class that protected the city. These warrior characteristics made them a potential internal threat, so Plato decided to neutralise volatile factors such as greed or envy by denying the guardians access to money or private property. The guardians equate to the spirited or emotional side of the soul, which was usually tamed by reason, but might spontaneously follow desire. The third class in the perfect city is by far the most important and complex. Rulers were chosen from the guardian class on the basis of aptitude (but with some degree of assumption of hereditary traits). Plato felt that as

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