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Are You Convinced By Plato's Claim That Philosophers Should Rule.

1626 words - 7 pages

The title of this paper was "Society originates because the individual is not self sufficient and no two of us are born exactly alike." How does Plato get from that claim to the view that philosophers should rule? Are you convinced by his claim that philosophers should rule."The two concepts stated above are the fundamental ideas that Plato establishes as a starting point to argue for what is in essence a totalitarian society that is ruled by the philosopher guardians. Plato starts off with the concept in Book Two that no individual is self sufficient. Men have basic needs such as food and shelter , which cannot be satisfied by himself alone. However, Plato's Socrates is driving at a more fundamental need in a man to socialise with his own kind. Since Plato believed true happiness could only be achieved by knowing one self and that such a journey of self discovery is best embarked on through the process of interacting with other men or more precisely through the elenchos, true happiness will not be found from the man that lives in isolation.From this, Plato moves onto a second assumption; the assumption that no two people are born alike. He puts forward the idea that each of us are born with different talents and skills that will suit us to a different job or tenche. It is these inherent skills that will determine the role that a person will play in his society, and that true happiness will only be found when a man plays the role which he is suited for. In Plato's mind, a man should not partake in more than one job at once as this would cause him to be projecting a misrepresentation of his character and his talents which would lead him to unhappiness. Although Plato believed that we were born with characters with inherent talents that distinguish ourselves from one another, he also supplements the additional proposition that an education can serve to reorientate this character either to the benefit or to the detriment of society.Plato believed that the structure of the human soul consisted of three main parts desire, spirit and reason. Our character is then determined by which of these three constituent parts are dominant and what order exists between these motives. This analogy is then transferred to Plato's perfect society. In his society, the people would be split in three classes according to which constituent part of their soul is dominant, these classes would then perform the jobs which are best suited to their talents. Happiness in this society is attained when this order of things is acknowledged and adhered to. According to Plato only those people which are dominated by reason are fit to rule. As these are the only people that are able to see the true order that a society should take and its role it plays in determining a societies happiness.The society that Plato builds therefore, is a totalitarian state that is ruled by the philosopher guardians or those that have demonstrated a true understanding in the true order of a society and...

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