Plato’s Republic


Philosophers are more knowledgeable and can be able to grasp concepts that others do not understand fast. This is why they are the ones supposed to rule Kallipolis because within the years they’ve spend therein, they have grasped a lot of information than any other citizen. According to Plato, philosophers are meant to be the only ones best to rule the city of Kallipolis because they know the city well, they are the ones best suited to lead for better results, they believe in the best things, they make their dreams a reality, they have the source of all goodness and they avoid boasting and bragging over their endless knowledge.

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Qualified rulers of kallipolis

            Philosophers will be the best to rule the city because they have enough knowledge of Kallipolis. In his text, Plato asks whether a true captain would be called a stargazer, a good-for-nothing or a babbler by the people sailing in the ship[1]. By the mention bringing in the analogy of the ship, Plato compares the ship to the city and the captain as the ship’s leader. In this case, a captain is the only person who knows the ship better than anyone else in the ship. The philosophers also know everything about the city because they have been studying the behavior of the people in the city and activities of people therein.

            Kallipolis deserves to be led by the philosophers because, among all professionals, the philosophers are the ones who are best suited to lead. The result is that better quality goods that are in plenty would easily be produced if every person does the thing that he is suited to do naturally, it is done in the right time and the person does not do what others are supposed to do.[2] Plato introduces the specialization aspect. He believes that everyone in the city has the gift where they are supposed to play a role, like teachers should teach, drivers to drive, doctors to treat people, carpenters to construct wooden things as philosophers rule and the warriors fight to protect the people. Plato doesn’t believe anyone else can lead the city and he insists that none should meddle in the other’s business. Everyone to do that which he is best suited naturally.

            Believing on the best things distinguishes a person from all the others. Plato asks about the person who has the belief of beauty of things but the same person is not a believer of that beauty and cannot follow the person who is prepared to lead him to know it. Isn’t that person living dreaming rather than being awake?[3] Plato gives a clear explanation that whether a person is awake or asleep, thinking that likeness is not the likeness but the thing is the like. With this he distinguishes a lover of things heard or seen from a true philosopher. The person who loves sounds and sights is only concerned with those things that are sensible but ignores the real things, failing to recognize that there is more reality in that intelligible realm. The person talks of beauty, boasting of being an expert of it while honestly speaking he is not aware of such a thing as the beauty form. Plato wants the reader to understand that in addition to the philosopher’s hearing and seeing everything that is in Kallipolis and appreciating it, he deeply understands everything in details and he is not like that other person who only boasts of what he sees or hears.

            Philosophers should rule Kallipolis because they have already made their dreams come true. Socrates states that under tyranny of the erotic love, the person has completely become while he is awake, that which he always dreamt of becoming when he was occasionally asleep.[4] Plato compares this person who used to dream occasionally to the philosopher. While asleep, the man dreams of things that only happen with others when they are awake. The philosopher also, when he is early on in his years exploring and learning more, he does not think that he would have learned everything after a long time, which he later on achieves. Plato presents this in a long psychological portrait of a tyrannical man. The tyrannical man is ruled by desires that are lawless, the sorts of desires which happen in normal people such as heinous murders or illicit sexual unions that that this tyrannical man only dreams of occasionally. The same way Plato compares the tyrannical man to the eventual ruler, he compares the erotic love desire to the greatest emotion of all, to be the ruler.

            Those who are supposed to be the rulers of Kallipolis must be the people who have all the good including the source of that goodness. Socrates argues that when an individual has already seen it, he must make a conclusion that it is causes everything that is beautiful and correct, producing the light with the source being in the realm, where in that intelligible realm, it acts as the controller and the provider of both understanding and the truth, I a way that everyone who acts sensibly publicly or privately must see it.[5] In the book, Plato describes the form of being good as the ultimate entity of knowledge. He means that when one is good then he is everything else. He compares the source in the realm with ultimate goodness. This is the source to all the intelligible realm, of the cognitive capacity to knowledge and of our intelligibility itself. While describing the form of good, Socrates is not able to entirely convince the reader of what he speaks of and that is when he decides to compare this form to the source which to him is the sun. According to his argument, it is only after a man gets hold of the form of goodness that finally achieves the highest understanding and cognitive level. To him, all philosophers have attained that level and they are highly cognitive and knowledgeable.

            Philosophers must be the rulers because they have the knowledge but they don’t go around boasting with. They would rather be considered fools by everyone because of not praising of the much they know. After the presentation of the notion that a philosopher should be the king in Kallipolis, Adeimantus objects and points out that all the philosophers in real life are either useless or vicious. Socrates responds by saying that they cannot understand that every true captain pays attention to the sky, the winds, and seasons in a year, the stars and any other thing that may affect his ship, if he is truly supposed to be the ship’s ruler. He adds that the people in the ship cannot believe that there can be any craft which would make the captain to determine the way the ship needs to be steered.[6] Once again, Plato compares the captain who knows more about the ship to the philosopher who knows the city well but does not boast of that knowledge. Just like the captain is sure that he would rule the ship when his time comes, Plato is also sure that a philosopher is not supposed to go around praising his knowledge but when the time to make decisions for Kallipolis comes, the philosopher will do it on behalf of all the other citizens.


            Plato does his best to convince the readers that philosophers have over time grasped a lot of knowledge than any other person in Kallipos and he therefore thinks that the best way they can apply that knowledge is by ruling. He knows that philosophers know the city well, they are the best suited to lead and give better results, they believe in the best things, they make their dreams a reality, they have the source of all goodness and that they avoid boasting and bragging over their endless knowledge without caring whether people care or not. All of Plato’s arguments are convincing, if only people could know how virtuous philosophers are, they would at least know they are not inferior to others in knowledge.


Plato, C. D. C. Reeve, G. M. A. Grube, John White Jr, and Joe Sachs. 1992. Plato Republic. 2nd ed. Hackett Publishing Company.

[1] Plato, C. D. C. Reeve, G. M. A. Grube, John White Jr, and Joe Sachs. 1992. Plato Republic. 2nd ed. Hackett Publishing Company. 345

[2] Ibid., 225.

[3] Ibid.,336

[4] Ibid.,435

[5] Ibid.,367

[6] Ibid.,345

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