David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
We are told in Book I (347b-d) of The Republic that good people will not be willing to rule for money or honor. On the contrary, they will have to be coerced, by some compulsion or punishment, to rule. Moreover, in a city full of good men, there will be a competition to see who will be the ones not to rule. So a good or ‘true’ ruler will be one who does not necessarily want to rule. Even stronger: a true ruler will want that he does not rule. We aren’t yet told in Book I who these true leaders are, nor are we told what these true rulers would want to do instead of ruling. Later in the Republic, however, these details are filled in: we are told that the leaders are the philosophers, and that they would much prefer to be living a contemplative life, than ruling cities. Dealing with the Forms alone, in other words, would be preferable to and better than—and would thus make the philosopher happier than—being a leader or a king. Nonetheless, the philosopher will not only be willing to rule, but will see that ruling is compulsory and just (and perhaps compulsory because it’s just). So despite the fact that a philosopher would prefer to not rule, he will do it anyway out of a sort of obligation or compulsion. Yet this explanation of why a philosopher would be willing to rule is prima facie problematic in light of what we are told about justice throughout the rest of the Republic (esp. Books II- IV). Namely, that acting just will result in doing that which is in one’s best interest to do. So, it seems that by ruling, philosophers are not doing what is in their best interest, since what is in their best interest is to live a purely contemplative life, not a political one. Yet leading is nonetheless just. So it seems that, contrary to what Plato claims, justice and self-interest come apart.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
|Through your library||Only published papers are available at libraries|
Similar books and articles
Keith D. Stanglin (2005). The Historical Connection Between the Golden Rule and the Second Greatest Love Command. Journal of Religious Ethics 33 (2):357-371.
Catherine Mckeen (2006). Why Women Must Guard and Rule in Plato's Kallipolis. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 87 (4):527–548.
Allen Stairs (1982). Quantum Logic and the Luders Rule. Philosophy of Science 49 (3):422-436.
Russell Freedman (2002). Confucius: The Golden Rule. Arthur A. Levine Books.
Richard Holton (2010). The Exception Proves the Rule. Journal of Political Philosophy 18 (4):369-388.
Allan Silverman (2007). Ascent and Descent: The Philosopher's Regret. Social Philosophy and Policy 24 (2):40-69.
Wes Sharrock & Graham Button (1999). Do the Right Thing! Rule Finitism, Rule Scepticism and Rule Following. Human Studies 22 (2-4):193-210.
Michael Bishop & Benett Bootz (2007). Goodbye, Justification. Hello World. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):269-285.
Christopher Bobonich (2007). Why Should Philosophers Rule? Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Protrepticus. Social Philosophy and Policy 24 (2):153-175.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads8 ( #136,258 of 1,006,395 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #64,735 of 1,006,395 )
How can I increase my downloads?