GOVT161 Essay 1

GOVT161 Essay 1 - GOVT 161 Issac Kramnick Alexander V...

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GOVT 161 Alexander V Frieden Issac Kramnick 4/22/08 A government is often legitimized by making the claim that it knows what is best for its subordinates. In this essay I will analyze the responses of three political theorists to the question when is one person justified in deciding the he knows better than a second person? Plato: when the person in charge can see into the transcendent world Philosopher kings captain Plato believes that each person is suited to do one thing and by doing that thing they are fulfilling their potential and leading a moral life. Plato would therefore argue that a person is justified in assessing what is best for another if and only if he is suited to do so; if it is his essence to do so. In his most famous work, The Republic, Plato describes three basic classes: The public, the auxiliary, the philosopher kings, each suited to its proper function. The largest class by far is the public. Each member of the public is made to farm, smith, or work in some other capacity. The auxiliary is comprised of soldiers who protect the community and serve as a tool of the third and final class, the philosopher kings. This class of people, which Plato entitles the “philosopher Kings,” is characterized by great wisdom and capacity for logical reasoning, attributes which are largely absent in the other two classes. Instead the masses are driven by appetite, needs and wants. Their more basic drives lead them to be self interested and myopic. Whereas,
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This note was uploaded on 05/11/2008 for the course ENGL 168 taught by Professor Aberle,danielle during the Spring '07 term at Cornell.

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GOVT161 Essay 1 - GOVT 161 Issac Kramnick Alexander V...

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