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Why does Plato maintain that philosophers should be rulers Should they In Platos most famous work Republic he puts forward the view that only the study of philosophy would allow man to see what was good and just Therefore to cure the ills of society it would be necessary to either make kings philosophers or make philosophers kings I intend to show how Plato justifies this view and then attempt to point out some possible problems with this justification and to forward my own view that the people should ultimately be king Platos starting point was his recognition that justice was one of four cardinal virtues along with wisdom courage and moderation that when working harmoniously together in a high level of order - he felt equalled the elusive good life Plato thought that the best way to discover what justice was was to create a perfect soul - this he did by first creating a theoretical perfect city which would have a good soul and all four virtues Using the theory that the polis is the individual writ large he intended to compare his perfect city with a perfect person and subsequently evaluate justice Platos perfect city was to be a model of order efficiency and discipline Above all it would be governed by the strict adherence to what White refers to as the natural division of labour This was to take the form of vocational and social division within the city Everyone had one job in order to specialise and become good at it We forbade our shoemaker to try his hand at farming or weaving or building and told him to stick to his last in order that our shoemaking should be well done More fundamentally however the city was to be divided into three distinct social classes in which people would be raised from birth These classes consisted of the producers the guardians and the rulers These
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