An Analysis of Plato’s Republic: Book 9

Hey all! I recently realized I had dropped off the Republic in early September with scool coming and all. I am going to finish off the series. Enjoy!

Book 9 begins with Socrates stopping Adeimantus and telling him that before they define thee Tyrannical man, they need to get a few things straight about desires.

He immediately agrees with Adeimantus that you cannot completely cleanse your soul of bad desires-just as one cannot completely stop crime in a city. Rather, it is a better idea to try to train yourself to suppress them. This is true self mastery, because you are not robotically perfect but you can control your desires. Now, the most people can do this, but what about those who give in to their desires? What will happen to them?

Well, at first things seem fine… those around them notice they lack self discipline to an extent, but don’t mind much. But soon enough, they begin to commonly become very drunk and obnoxious. There reasonable friends don’t know what do do about this, so things get only worse. They indulge themselves, making their need only worse. They begin to push all reasonable people out of their life and surround themselves with people of their kind. Eventually they attack even their own parents, and go completely over the brink. They steal their possessions and gamble them away or sell them for drinking money. They need more and more until they have exhausted all their recourses and flee from the city, in debt. They probably become bodyguard to some tyrant or evildoer. And that is how the Tyrannical man is formed.

This entire time they have been assuming knowledge is good, but if you ever pursue a philosophical career you will realize that nothing can be assumed. I think this is pretty simple: The more knowledge you have, the more you understand the world. The more you understand the world the better you can perform actions that effect this world. So, in general, more knowledge means better actions. On the other hand, desire is the opposite. Desire is a drunken state in which reason guides none of your actions and you become a worse person. So since we now know knowledge is better, we can truly strive for better understanding.

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