Painting (1787) by Jacques Louis David (French, 1748-1825)
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Catherine Lorillard Wolfe Collection
POL 200Y LEC 5101/6101 2020-2021
STUDY QUESTIONS FOR THE LECTURE OF MARCH 4
1. Socrates utters with tragic solemnity his verdict that “unless philosophers rule as kings, or those now called kings and chiefs genuinely and adequately philosophize, … there [will be] no rest from ills for the cities” (473cd). The interlocutors respond with hilarity: this third and last of the “waves” of Book Five strikes them as the most crackbrained of all. How does it strike us?
2. What does Socrates mean by philosophy? How does the philosopher differ from everybody else?
3. Just as Adeimantus had erupted in objection to the dog’s life imposed on the rulers in the city of the armed camp, so he hotly contests the desirability of the rule of philosophers. In the lengthy discussion that consumes most of the rest of Book Six, Socrates succeeds in persuading him that the rule of philosophers is both desirable and possible. Does he succeed in persuading you?