Date of Award
Union College Only
Bachelor of Arts
Dr. Krisanna Scheiter
Plato, “Just City, ” “The Good, ” Knowledge, “True Belief, ” Theaetetus, Republic
This thesis examines who within Plato’s just city is most prepared to govern. In the Republic, Plato argues that rulers must have knowledge of Justice and the Good to be able to actualize a truly just city. He concludes that philosophers must therefore rule the just city because only they are naturally able to obtain this necessary knowledge. But in the Theaetetus, Socrates describes these philosophers as inexperienced in the political sphere of the unjust city and significantly underprepared to bring about the just city. They have solely been pursuing knowledge but are not prepared to apply this knowledge and establish justice.
To resolve these two contradictory accounts of the philosopher in the city, I argue that knowledge of the Good is neither necessary nor sufficient to establish and maintain the just city. A true belief of the Good and experience in how to apply the Good to the city is what is needed. In the Theaetetus, we see that a superior adviser raised in the political sphere of the city may draw upon their experience of seeing what has secured good things for the city to develop a true belief of the Good. The adviser then uses their true belief as their guide when creating the just city. They do not have knowledge of the Good, but are the most prepared to apply the truth of what is Good to the political sphere and bring the city to be in highest accordance with the Form of the Good.
Segee-Wright, James, "Placing the Good in Plato’s Republic" (2020). Honors Theses. 2464.