Plato’s Republic believed in education with specific attention to philosopher king’s education because of the virtues associated with it. One of the most crucial virtues in Plato’s perspective is ‘the good’ which encompasses more than just having opinions about it but possessing knowledge about it. Plato also adds that philosophers are the only individuals that can be trusted to rule well because of their commitment to the truth as well as learning which keeps them away from the greed that prompts others to abuse power. They are also said to be intellectually suited to rule particularly because they are the only ones that can gain the full knowledge concerning reality. These individuals are also the only ones that can go through a demanding education system that they can then apply in combination with virtue to help citizens in achieving as much as possible. The most crucial pieces of knowledge that philosophers can use to rule effectively include political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, and logic that determine the direction that a rule takes. As such, Plato asserts that these philosophers should want to become kings for the sake of the societies.
Concerning the success of philosopher presidents of today, they have not been successful or have not wanted to engage in ruling. One of the characteristics of a philosopher president is someone that is not interested in power and someone that works for the common good and guided by the best ideals. This is a rare occurrence in modern times. This is because most of the individuals, in spite of claiming otherwise, are only concerned about power which then corrupts their ideals. As soon as the individuals are elected into office, they are mainly concerned about retention of the power where power does not mean anything to a philosopher besides just enabling them to accomplish certain tasks. Most modern presidents rule for their own sake, which implies that they are not true philosophers. In other instances where a true philosopher would want to rule in the right way, they are pulled down by those surrounding them and that are supposed to act as support. Moreover, current democratic institutions are founded on electability but not wisdom. This disqualifies most philosophers.
These principles have not had much effect to modern society in the choice of leaders as well as in the establishment of a democratic society. At current, the leaders in place cannot be viewed as philosophers because their ideals are not based on knowledge but emotions and power. The current American and North Korean presidents are a prime example. Most of the ideas that Donald Trump used in the campaigns and upon which he was elected were not about governance but about military power and business power. The same can be said about the two presidents who are currently at the blink of war with each other just to show who has more power than the other, which would definitely impact the citizens negatively. Since the two were elected by the people, Plato’s ideas have not had any benefit to people’s choice of a leader.
- Thakkar, Jonny. “Philosopher-King?” The Point.
- Dillon, Ariel. “Education in Plato’s Republic” Santa Clara University.
- Lane, Melissa. “Philosopher king” Britannica.