A critical analysis of platos democracy and the democratic man

Plato posits that democracy comes about as a result of discontent with oligarchy and will lead to tyranny once thirst for complete freedom devolves into autocratic rule. This regime is ruled by a philosopher king , and thus is grounded on wisdom and reason. In an anarchic society there is no law, and the powerful person is the leader. A champion will come along and experience power, which will cause him to become a tyrant. He becomes afraid to leave his own home and becomes trapped inside. Oligarchy then transitions to democracy, as the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few sows discontent in an expanding underclass of citizenry. Plato believed that anyone who did not have exceptional gifts could not grow into a good man unless he was brought up from childhood in a good environment and trained in good habits. Even in the presence of a demagogue, democracy remains entrenched. Plato characterizes timocracy as a mixture of the elements of two different regime types — aristocracy and oligarchy.

What makes you cringe? Plato believed that the key and driving feature of democracy is desire for freedom; this very trait, though, ultimately leads a state to tyranny.

On this point, though, Ober disagrees. He has his own law and he accommodates it on people. Therefore, we can conclude that according to Plato finally it leads to anarchy and tyranny in a state. He warns against leaving people with their own interests. Therefore, his lawlessness leads to his own self-imprisonment. Politicians have long been criticized for being loose with the truth or pandering to populist interests, for example. Instead, democracy suffers from the failures of the aforementioned systems insofar as it prioritizes wealth and property accumulation as the highest good. The timocracy, however, does not completely break from all the characteristics of aristocracy, and for Plato this regime is a combination of good and bad features. In order to prevent a society from becoming anarchy, we should have regulation on that society. If he spends all of his money and becomes poor, the tyrant will steal and conquer to satiate his desires, but will eventually overreach and force unto himself a fear of those around him, effectively limiting his own freedom. Aristocracy[ edit ] Aristocracy is the form of government politeia advocated in Plato's Republic. Democracy is taken over by the longing for freedom.

Can his argumentation be applied to contemporary democracies? Unlike his father, the democratic man is consumed with unnecessary desires. Wealth, fame, and power are just shadows of the Good and provide only hollow and fleeting satisfaction.

This also raises questions about the nature of philosopher-kings, who choose flawed individuals to become their successors.

plato against democracy

He need only proclaim himself a friend of the people, and he will be honored. C is quite different from the present day understanding of democracy. Plato uses the "democratic man" to represent democracy.

Plato envisages for this philosopher a disposition and ability that makes him the ideal governor of any state precisely because his soul knows the Idea of the Good, which is the metaphysical origin of all that is good, including happiness itself. Thus, at first, the oligarchic son emulates his timocratic father, being ambitious and craving honor and fame. A timocracy, in choosing its leaders, is "inclining rather to the more high-spirited and simple-minded type, who are better suited for war". Plato also provides a murky characterization of why the just city must devolve into tyranny. People can even break the law if they so choose. This essay seeks to address the above questions. That is how a timocracy becomes an oligarchy.

To protect the anonymity of contributors, we've removed their names and personal information from the essays. Aristocracy[ edit ] Aristocracy is the form of government politeia advocated in Plato's Republic.

platos criticism of democracy

The democratic man is the son of the oligarchic man. Poor performance in military campaigns: An oligarchy will usually do poorly in military campaigns because the rich, who are few, will make a small army, and they are afraid to give weapons to the majority the poor due to fears of a revolution.

platos idea of democracy

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Plato's idea of democracy