The Republic

Critique of the Democratic Soul

In The Republic Plato fosters an idea of the democratic soul which is fundamentally flawed. He posits that a man with a democratic soul "lives his life in accord with a certain equality of pleasures he has established" (The Republic, VIII, 561b). Conceding the fact that a man with a democratic soul is initially ruled by an equality of pleasures, it is imprudent to assume that man gains no knowledge of the consequence of his actions during his life. Contrary to Plato's supposition, man does not maintain this initial equality of pleasures, but he is instead ruled by a developing hierarchy of the soul. A democratic soul is not a soul that has no order, but a soul that has no pre-established order; thus it is the character type most conducive to asking questions, and to discerning knowledge of the good.

Plato bases his critique of the democratic soul on his verbal model of the democratic regime. He assumes that since democracies are ruled by lot, and have no hierarchy, that as a result they are ruled be an empty acropolis (The Republic, VIII, 560b-c), and have no core. "To whichever [interest] happens along, as though it was chosen by the lot, he hands over the rule within himself until it is satisfied, and then...

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