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Philosopher King

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In the perfect world that Sophocles is trying to create, he reasons that a just state should be ruled by a just ruler. The best ruler he could come up with is a person with wisdom. Socrates says wisdom is, "...understanding the passions and pleasures of the masses- multifarious people" (Plato book 6 line 493d) and not just "...gathering information together...and start to teach it" (Plato book 6 line 493b). Is it possible to find a true leader full of wisdom?

Socrates states that such a ruler should be a philosopher. A philosopher should not be part of the majority but should be a private individual of a minority. Wouldn't a leader want to have a social reputation? My question is answered by Socrates. He says that a philosopher will be taught by the people the way they want to teach him (Plato book 6 line 494b-c). A great philosopher should "...keep quiet and do his own work, like someone who takes refuge under a little wall from a storm of dust or hail driven by the wind" (Plato book 6 line 496d-e). His own growth, for himself, will be fuller and he will save the community, as well as himself (Plato book 6 line 497a).

In our world, there is none, as Sophocles says, that are suitable in the present constitution worthy of a philosophic nature because of unjustness. Most philosophers take up philosophy as young men and deter from it at a difficult part; In later life, if others are engaged in it and they are invited and deign to listen to them... and by the time they reach old age they are more thoroughly extinguished than the sun of Heraclitus" (Plato book 6 line 498a).

No individual man will ever become perfect until some chance event compels those few philosophers... or until a true passion for true philosophy flows by some divine inspiration into the sons of the men now wielding dynastic power or sovereignty, or into the men themselves" (Plato book 6 line 499b-c).

Socrates says that a good philosopher has to be smart requiring intelligence, ambitiousness, diligent, and being temperate. He says that a person should have knowledge with goodness. He tries to explain with an allegory of a cave so that a person can see the truth in a fine just thing. Why does a person need to be in darkness to see the truth and to be just? This question is very important when Socrates explains the allegory.

Socrates tells how Philosophers will be brought up to ensure that they know what is good. He says they will be not be trained philosophers until they are thirty-five years old. Then they will gain experience after that. He is determined to completely govern a state by creating a perfectly just person, a philosopher-ruler.



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