The Noble Lie

848 Words4 Pages
Socrates’ intended use of the ‘noble lie’ is, above all, to create and maintain a just, politically stable social structure and hierarchy to the benefit of a city or state known as the Republic and by extension, to all inhabitants. In justifying the noble lie as a method for promoting political stability, it is necessary to split the analysis into two parts. Primarily, does the method satisfy political stability, and by association (but most importantly), presupposing successful execution, is the method itself ethically defensible?
I will first argue that the noble lie is indeed a justifiable method for promoting political stability in a structural sense. Additionally I will argue that the nature of the system is itself just – insofar as citizens are treated as a means to their own end, resulting in a form of communistic happiness and individual social wellbeing that simultaneously benefits the Republic and its individual citizens. The primary ethical concerns to be examined are that of the morality of lying, the treatment of people as means to an end, and the apparent assault on liberal conceptualisations of self-determination that using people as means entails.

Constituents of political stability in the Republic
For the noble lie to be truly effective, it would need to remain in place and perform its role for more than just a few generations until it became ‘truth’. Ideally, the seeds planted by the noble lie would grow into a strong tree of political
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