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In Platos most famous work the Republic he puts forward the view that the ideal state embodying the highest and best capabilities of human social life can really be achieved if the right people are put in charge There will be no end to the troubles of humanitytill philosophers become kings in this world or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands 473d In many ways it can be seen that the strict and rigorous selection and education of the Guardians that he proposes could well produce healthy and balanced rulers but there are a number of problems with the system of philosopher rulers as a whole that lead me to believe that they may not make the best rulers after all In analysing whether philosophers do make the best rulers it must first be understood what it is about philosophers that Plato thinks makes them most suitable for the role Platos concept of what politics and government should be is a direct result of his belief in the theory of forms The theory of forms basically states that there is a higher form for everything that exists in the world Each material thing is simply a representation of the real thing which is the form According to Plato most people cannot see the forms they only see their representation or their shadows Only those who love knowledge and contemplate on the reality of things will achieve understanding of the forms Philosophers who by definition are knowledge lovers are the only beings who can reach true knowledge Plato is very specific about the natural qualities the rulers must have They need a philosophical temperament to judge between what merely seems to be the case and what really is Their bodies need speed and strength their souls philosophical gentleness and great spiritedness They must be noble quick
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