Forcing goodness in Plato's republic

Social Philosophy and Policy 24 (2):21-39 (2007)
Abstract
Among the instances of apparent illiberality in Plato's Republic, one stands out as especially curious. Long before making a forced return to the cave, and irrespective of the kinds of compulsion operative in such a homecoming, the philosopher-king has been compelled to apprehend the Good (Rep. VII.519c5-d2, 540a3-7). Why should compulsion be necessary or appropriate in this situation? Schooled intensively through the decades for an eventual grasping of the Good, beginning already with precognitive training in music and art calculated to equip the guardian with a natural affinity towards the good and beautiful (Rep. III.401d3-402a4), the fully mature guardian might be expected to leap towards the Good when it is first opportune. For the Good is, according to Plato, the greatest thing to be learned (megiston mathêma; Rep. VI.504e4-5, 505a2). Reflection on these questions permits us to develop a richer appreciation of the forms of necessitation and compulsion Plato envisages for his guardians, which turn out to be primarily merely hypothetical instances of nomic necessitation. It follows that many of Plato's appeals to compulsion are neither coercive nor objectionably authoritarian. Footnotesa I thank the participants in the Liberty Fund Conference on Ancient Political Theory, held in San Diego, California in 2006, for their helpful and spirited criticisms. Still more do I thank Fred Miller and David Keyt, whose incisive written comments improved an earlier draft of this essay in countless ways. Finally, I am indebted to Ellen Wagner, who first permitted me to see the importance of questions regarding prepolitical necessitation for our understanding of Plato's Republic and from whose paper on this topic I have benefited enormously. (See note 5 below.).
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,392
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

36 ( #48,931 of 1,102,932 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

8 ( #29,681 of 1,102,932 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.