Philosophers as Politicians

by Shihang

I am rereading (reading) my copy of Plato’s Republic, when I came across the famous argument in chapter 8 that philosophers should become rulers, or rulers should become philosophers.

Personally, I think that’s a great idea. But his reasoning doesn’t seem sound. To review:

1) Philosophers love knowledge, and hence, truth and reality. (Knowledge being the permanent sort as Plato conceived of it)

2) The position of guardianship should be given to those who can uphold the society’s law and customs.

3) If you truly love knowledge, you are necessarily honest, not mercenary, not small-minded, clever and have culture and grace. (proven in painstaking detail)

Hence, philosophers, having all the traits of a ruler, should have political power.

Or, in other words:

Because of A (loves knowledge), B (philosophers are honest etc.).

To be C (a ruler), B.

Hence, those who love knowledge (i.e. philosophers) should C.

Clearly a fallacy?

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