Plato and Philosopher King ConceptionJune 27, 2021
It is known that Plato’s understanding of order is the harmonious integrity of a structure consisting of parts, and this integrity can be achieved by the dominance of other parts by the mind part. The equivalent of this general understanding on the site is the philosopher king.
A piece of mind is in the soul, what Demiourgos is in the universe, he is the philosopher-king in the city. Plato thought that the ideal order could not be established unless the philosophers were kings or kings were philosophers in the city (Devlet, 499b).
This saying can also be interpreted as “either the strong must be wise or the wise must be strong”. Then, the ideal order is possible with the harmonious union of power and reason. Plato argued that in a city governed by reason, each class would get its own, real pleasures and be happy. According to him, even virtues such as courage and temperance can cause people’s disaster in a city where reason cannot rule (State, 491b).
Plato’s famous saying “either philosophers must be kings or kings philosophers…” is based on the principle of harmonizing power and reason in the site.
The philosopher-king derives his power to organize and rule the city from the ideas that are always the highest truth of existence, especially from the highest idea of the Good, which is beyond all ideas. In that case, the principles on which the site order is based are mind-independent, cosmic and divine. The principal attribute of the ruler is loyalty to the truth, reaching the real existence, not the fleeting appearances, that is, grasping the ideas. When it approaches the ideals, it merges with it and creates self-thought and truth (Devlet, 490a-b).
A person who is immersed in the course of existence cannot find time to turn his eyes to the behavior of this and that, to argue with them, to feel resentment towards them, and to utter bitter words. He sees how the regular beings he watches obey the laws of reason without harming each other and tries to be like them as much as he can. In this way, he not only organizes himself, but also wants to reflect the values he sees above on people’s internal and external orders (State, 500c-501a).
The relationship that the philosopher establishes with the idea of the Good is also his contact with the integrity of the universe order. His ability to comprehend the ideas in a holistic manner in their relations with each other, on the one hand, harmonizes the order of the site with the whole order of the universe, on the other hand, provides the philosopher with the necessary information infrastructure so that every element in the site can be placed in its proper place (Devlet, 534b).
Plato’s understanding of order can ultimately be based on the judgment that “when everything was in disorder, reason brought them into order”. Everything that is not eternal but occurred later owes its order to the regulative activity of a mind.
A philosopher must take the helm of the state!
According to Plato, the person who will establish and manage the ideal state is either the wise person himself or a philosopher or, as we said above, a minority of wise people. Because the philosopher, who is a rational being, is the only person who knows the real existence and can see the universal values in the real existence. By using his mind, the philosopher acquires the idea of justice in the world of ideas and tries to apply this perfect justice in his own society. But, unfortunately, philosophers and their field of activity, philosophy, are not deemed worthy of state administration in corrupt states.
Plato’s views on this subject can be summarized as follows in the 6th Book of the Dialogue (Politeia), which is considered one of the greatest works of Western philosophy in the field of politics, as follows: To learn anything quickly, not to forget what has been learned, maturity and grace, and most importantly, always the truth and the good. The pursuit of beauty and justice are the gains of philosophy education. But this kind of education is not for everyone. People who will receive this type of training must first of all have a strong understanding and a solid memory. At the same time, he must have superior qualities, be tactful, correct, brave and full-eyed. A state can only be entrusted to people who have these qualifications, that is, only to people who have received a philosophy education.
Yes, it is true, those who devote themselves to philosophy can be seen as strange people. It can also be thought that they are useless, and from this point of view, the thought that they should be put in charge of an important structure such as the state may lead to reactions.2 But such reactions are the product of completely wrong and obsessive thoughts. Because if a society cannot use its philosophers, it is the society’s fault, not the philosophers’ fault. It should not be strange that philosophy, which is the best of human endeavors, is not valued by those who are dealing with the opposite of this occupation. Let’s consider a ship; Let this ship also have a well-to-do owner who has no eyes to see, no ears to hear, and moreover, who is unaware of shipping. Then let’s imagine a whole crew trying to be the captain of this ship. Let them be crewmen who do not know the art of captaincy, or if they do, do not tell how they know it, or even say what the art of captaincy is. All they want is to be at the helm of the ship.
That’s why they implore the owner of the ship to give me the helm. If the owner of the ship were to give the rudder to someone, another would throw him off the ship or kill him.