The City And The Soul Analysis
The Republic written by Plato in Socratic dialogue is one of the earliest text concerning the subject of justice and forms of government. In the text, Socrates and other Athenians debate on the true meaning of justice. After establishing the premises, Socrates concludes his arguments by praising aristocracy as the best form of government because it is ruled by rational philosopher kings who are just, and critique other forms of government, especially democracy because the desire nature of the human soul rules the city. Today, both forms of government still exist, but democracy seems to be the ideal form of government in the western civilization. Socrates is wrong with his conclusion that aristocracy exceeds democracy because reason exceeds appetite in an aristocracy.
In order to establish the premise that the philosopher kings should rule because they are just, Socrates went into great lengths with his fellow Athenians on defining what justice is. The first definition proposed by Cephalus is that justice means paying back one’s debt and being honest (331c). Both parts of his definition were refuted by Socrates after he showed instances where paying one’s debt and being honest …show more content…
Democracy, by definition, is a system of government by the people for the people. Socrates’s aristocracy aims to govern by for the people, but gives the power of governing into the hands of the philosopher kings. Both systems of government have the same goal, however Socrates criticizes democracy because he thinks that most ordinary people (craftsmen) do not have the knowledge to govern themselves, and the excessive desire for freedom and other appetites can be unnecessary (557e, 559b-c). That is why the rulers in his kallipolis, the kings of philosophy, should govern because they make rational decisions that are advantageous to the city and the people. Again, is that