Philosophy and Politics: The Republic

Blitz, Mark, "Philosophy and Politics: The Republic," Plato's Political Philosophy, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010, 166-90.


We have now discussed several experiences that are at the root of philosophy, and a phenomenon, beauty, that helps to define both ethical and intellectual virtue. It is therefore reasonable to turn next to Plato’s Republic. For, beyond any other work, the Republic explains and defends the philosophic way of life, and charms and attracts us to it. Moreover, it examines at length the relation between philosophy and politics, and culminates politically in the claim that philosophers should rule—not law, as in the Laws. It employs Socrates’ rational force to explore justice, a subject that concerns every honorably ambitious man or woman. Each of its explorations turns us to the ceaselessly disturbing question of happiness, or the best way of life.