By J. S. McClelland
It is a nice e-book to realize a greater realizing of many of the techniques of western politcal thought...its sparknotes for any poli sci significant, yet on an highbrow level...its a superb ebook.
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The training of Guardians, like all training, is a process of selection. Plato does not actually tell us whether everyone in his state will begin the training process, but his concern that there will be no wastage of talent makes it a reasonable inference that nobody will in principle be excluded, and certainly not women. During the education of Guardians a good deal has to be taken on trust because the end is very far away from the beginning. It is not until Guardians are over fifty that they emerge from the training process as fully-fledged rulers in their own right, and we are to assume that only a few make it right to the end.
The relationship between doctor and patient is one between superior and inferior (doctor’s orders), but the doctor has the good of the patient’s health at heart and not his own. It follows from this that all skills are practised for the good of their object; ruling is a skill, therefore its purpose is the good of the ruled, not the ruler. Therefore justice is the interest of the weak, not the strong. Thrasymachus does not give up easily, although in A history of western political thought 26 the end he concedes defeat; but unlike Cephalus he is not dismissed from the dialogue.
We can only guess that the historical Socrates was really like that, but we can easily see why, if the invention of Socrates the gadfly is an invention of Plato’s, it is a necessary invention. He stands for the instrument needed to clear away all outmoded doctrine before the true job of philosophy could begin. Socrates made his living as a stonemason, and he is reputed to have said that the only men who knew anything at Athens were the craftsmen. For Socrates, there was always more than an analogy between knowing something and a technical skill (techne).
A History of Western Political Thought by J. S. McClelland
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