Second Synthesis - Robert England HON 111 Week 12 What...

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Robert England HON 111 – Week 12 What makes a good ruler? The idea of a good head of state, whether it is a monarch, a dictator, a president, or a senate, is a much debated topic, both in our world and in past times. This, along with other political aspects, was a favorite topic for ancient philosophers in their quests for the “good of the people”. In places as far away as Greece and China, we find that politics played a major part in discussions about good, virtue, and peace. I think it is interesting and important how these philosophers all had different opinions about the best possible form of government, and each looked for different people best suited to lead their ideal states. For instance, the well-known Greek philosopher Plato was famous for insisting that the rulers of a good state should be trained as philosophers. In the Republic , Socrates (I will assume these to be his ideas) identified three large barriers (“waves”) that must be mounted to reach the perfect city: total equality of the genders, total elimination of private property, and the election of a philosopher-king (or queen). The small group listening to Socrates easily accepted the first two waves and wondered why they are not already in place. However, they were totally shocked by the third wave and launch accusations at Socrates claiming that he is out of his mind. There is no wonder why; the most philosophers were accused of corruption and were generally viewed to be worthless, especially politically. Socrates then countered with his ship allegory (pg. 285-286), explaining that, while the philosophers were unwilling to fight for the helm of the ship, they were truly the best for the job. Socrates’ claim about philosophers being good rulers seems slightly biased. A major point to keep in mind: Socrates was a philosopher himself. If his ideal state was
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really created, then the originator of the idea would logically be the first ruler, and Socrates therefore set himself up as a king. Also, he identified the good philosophers as those whom society persecuted, as he was himself. By claiming that society was seriously misguided, through his story of the cave, he paved the way for true acceptance of his elitist group of philosophers, and his ideas about rulers would bring this group further above the rest. On the other hand, we also have the point that Socrates never intended this perfect
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This essay was uploaded on 04/19/2008 for the course HON 111 taught by Professor Palmer during the Fall '07 term at University of Maine Orono .

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Second Synthesis - Robert England HON 111 Week 12 What...

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