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Philosophers in the "Republic"Plato's Two Paradigms$
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Roslyn Weiss

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449741

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449741.001.0001

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Philosophers by Nature

Philosophers by Nature

(p.11) 1 Philosophers by Nature
Philosophers in the "Republic"

Roslyn Weiss

Cornell University Press

Republic 6 identifies four philosophic types: those who possess the genuine philosophic nature and become philosophers; those who possess the genuine philosophic nature but fail to become philosophers because they are corrupted; those who lack the philosophic nature and for that reason do not become philosophers; and those who lack the philosophic nature yet do become philosophers. This chapter identifies, from among the four philosophic types, the genuine philosopher, the philosopher by nature. This philosopher, first introduced in Book 5's “third wave” (473c-d), is distinguished by possessing, in addition to his intellectual prowess and his passionate love of wisdom, a full complement of moral and personal qualities. Should this philosopher come by chance to rule, his principal aim would be to perfect the city's laws and the soul of each and every citizen (501a-c). It is surely this philosopher whom Plato hopes his readers will admire, one whose love for the transcendent motivates him to promote the moral excellence of other human beings.

Keywords:   Plato, Republic, philosophers, philosophic nature, moral excellence

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