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By Roslyn Weiss

In Plato's Republic, Socrates contends that philosophers make the simplest rulers simply because merely they behold with their mind's eye the everlasting and in simple terms intelligible varieties of the simply, the Noble, and the great. whilst, moreover, those women and men are endowed with an unlimited array of ethical, highbrow, and private virtues and are correctly informed, definitely nobody may perhaps doubt the knowledge of entrusting to them the governance of towns. even though it is widely-and reasonably-assumed that each one the Republic's philosophers are an identical, Roslyn Weiss argues during this boldly unique e-book that the Republic really includes specific and irreconcilable portrayals of the philosopher.

According to Weiss, Plato's paradigms of the thinker are the "philosopher through nature" and the "philosopher through design." Philosophers via layout, because the allegory of the Cave vividly exhibits, has to be forcibly dragged from the cloth global of delight to the elegant realm of the mind, and from there backtrack back to the "Cave" to rule the gorgeous urban estimated through Socrates and his interlocutors. but philosophers via nature, defined prior within the Republic, are exotic by means of their usual craving to come across the transcendent realm of natural varieties, in addition to by means of a willingness to serve others-at least lower than applicable conditions. unlike either units of philosophers stands Socrates, who represents a 3rd paradigm, one, although, that's not more than hinted at within the Republic. As a guy who not just loves "what is" yet is additionally completely dedicated to the justice of others-even at nice own cost-Socrates surpasses either the philosophers by way of layout and the philosophers by means of nature. through laying off gentle on a facet of the Republic that has escaped observe, Weiss's new interpretation will problem Plato students to revisit their assumptions approximately Plato's ethical and political philosophy.

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Extra resources for Philosophers in the Republic: Plato's Two Paradigms

Sample text

30. Unlike Adeimantus, Callicles sees older philosophers as being useless but not vicious. ) 31. Cephalus is the first to speak of decent men. 330a). Decency resurfaces in Book 3, as Socrates considers the sorts of men that poets should be imitating (397d, 398b). In Book 4 moderation is said to be a matter of the desires of the common many being mastered by those of the more decent few (431c-d). Decency is most prominent in Book 6, where at 486d Adeimantus first charges the most decent (epieikestatous) among the philosophers with being useless.

The moral virtues—justice, moderation, and courage—are found in such men, Socrates explains, because they love truth or true being, because they have “a soul that is always going to reach out for the whole and for everything divine and human,”20 because 18. How are mixed natures to be reconciled with the principle of justice outlined in Book 4 at 434c, according to which natures are distinct and determine the roles people are to play in the city? See Chapter 2, section I. 19. Socrates clearly thinks, both here and in earlier books, that people other than philosophers have moral virtue.

The first appears in Book 5 at 475d-480a; all the others are in Book 6: 485a-487a, 490a-c, 491c, and 494b. 55. It is not the heavens but the Forms that the philosopher imitates (see Miller 1986, 187 n. 30). (1) The passage states that the philosopher’s understanding is “toward the things that are” ( pros tois ousi—500b-c); (2) if the philosophers mold human dispositions, looking to “the just, fair, and moderate in nature and everything of the sort” (501b)—that is, to the virtue-Forms— these must be what the philosopher sees at 500c; and (3) the expression used at 500c, “keep company with” (homilei), is used as well at 496b for the philosopher’s association (homilounto¯n) with philosophy.

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