Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 4 :: Plato -- The Republic - I

I am reading Desmond Lee's translation of Plato -- The Republic.

And I met this line, somewhat tricky for me:

"Plato sought a cure for the ills of society not in Politics but in philosophy, and arrived at his fundamental and lasting conviction that those ills would never cease until philosophers becomes rulers or rulers philosophers."

It appears from the flow of above line, that Plato's idea of "Philosopher King" is not just an abstraction. However having a Philosopher King does not seem to be a very strange or very particular idea. For it makes sense for the Guardian of a house to observe housemates and rule an appropriate way. Same applies to those who rule society or country. The bigger problem is what should be the way King should learn; and how he deduces or sets up analogy among varied observations. Notion of Philosopher King appears having relation to some axiomatic, deductive and decision making system. If we forget religious concoction, the idea of Philosopher King appears straightaway like a Mathematical abstraction. One may like to draw analogy to the idea of Operating System or some Central System found in the areas of Computing.

In what seems appropriate here is that though how entities compose a system is important; nevertheless abstracting out the governing rules, rules though which governing rules will be altered (lets called it meta-rules) and process of identifying rules or meta-rules is critical. When Plato said that Philosopher King has learning aptitude, then there appears expectation on Philosopher's side that he may have chance to learn something; in the sense that there are stuffs which may not have been learn already. This will be always tricky, for when something is not known to Philosopher and then there is an inherent demand for the mentioned knowledge to be applied for, then will there be any chances of error or creation of inconsistency by the Philosopher.

Will have to read more to further expand the viewpoint that Plato expressed. By introducing the phrase "Philosopher King", Plato for sure is stating something which will undergo multiple layers of expansion.

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