Plato: Philosophy as Politics


One of the elements that obstruct the access to a presumed meaning of Plato’s doctrine is the use of the conventional meaning of the term “philosophia”, that is the signification that has prevailed after Aristotle. In order to eliminate this anachronism, it is necessary to review the meanings that the term had before Plato and in his dialogues. We should see that for the founder of the Academy philosophy was not a purely contemplative act, but one that was concerned with politics. In his opinion, philosophy as dialectics was the art of contentious reasoning, of continuous and everlasting validation of true opinions. This method does not lead to truth; it substitutes the truth – and all this happens in the field of language. Thus philosophy is also a way to govern and make politics. Ergo the expression “philosopher king” does not unite terms that were previously opposites, but rather expresses the need that this model of making politics takes the place of the already established political power.

Keywords: Plato, politics, dialectics, power, wisdom

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