Socrates as Philosopher King Essay

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History is ripe with stories of great men. Hundreds of politicians, philosophers, performers, and writers have left a unique stamp on humanity. But only a select few can be said to have "changed history." The legendary Athenian, Socrates, was one such figure. Socrates ushered in an era of philosophical inquiry that still lingers to this day. In Book Seven of Plato's The Republic, Socrates outlines his perfect regime. According to Socrates, an enlightened "Philosopher-King" must rule such a regime. Now suppose this Republic actually came into being, and Socrates was asked to rule it as a Philosopher King. Would he? Answering this begs three important questions: Is Socrates a true philosopher? Does he have the…show more content…
He says in section 29c of the Apology: "I, men of Athens, salute you and love you, but I will obey the god rather than you; and as long as I breathe and am able to, I will certainly not stop philosophizing."3 Ultimately, he chose to die (by drinking a cup of poison) rather than agree he was misleading the people. This shows that he was courageous in life and in death. But was he moderate? According to Socrates, moderation lies not in restraining one's desires. Instead, true moderation comes only with love of truth.4 In The Republic, Socrates is forced into a discussion about the nature of justice, virtue, etc. Although he enters into the discussion against his will, he never imposes his views on others. Instead, like a sincere seeker of truth, he acknowledges other points of view, and uses their weaknesses to formulate his own ideas. In doing so, Socrates demonstrates that he is a lover of truth. A true lover never forces his love upon others. Instead, like a caring teacher, he leads his students to accept the truth on their own. In the end, Socrates stays with the youths for the whole night, and answers all their questions. In this sense, Socrates has proven to be moderate, for he loves philosophy at the expense of mundane worldly pleasures. Finally, there is no doubt that Socrates is just. In Book IV, Socrates argues that justice is an art; it is some kind of knowledge that only certain people possess (335c).5 In the
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