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Plato's Disappointment

One of the fathers of western political thought is Plato. His best-known dialogue is The Republic. In it, Plato outlines the perfect rule of society; he called it “Philosopher-King�. This perfect ruler would be legitimized by understanding “The Form�. The form is absolute and immutable essence of everything. The Philosopher-King would gain the understanding of the form through the study of Philosophy, and more specifically through mastering Dialectics.

While this understanding of Plato is not wrong, it is not sufficient either. Plato’s political thought is more complex than the view expressed earlier. Interestingly, a great deal of the scholarly literature written on Plato focuses on The Republic and The Laws (another well known works of Plato)

This year I am working on my senior seminar in Political theory. I am trying to prove that to really understand Plato’s political thought we need not just focus on The Republic and The Laws but also look at a lesser-known Platonic dialogue, The Statesman. I call it lesser known in relation to The Republic and The Laws. This research has taken me in directions I had not foreseen. It has also given me the opportunity to read and respond to great Platonic experts. As an undergraduate student, such an opportunity is not very common (because of the stigma of expertise, but that is a different topic). Also, if you are interested in this topic I would like you to keep your eyes open for the dates of the political science senior seminar presentations. These presentations are coming up around February-April and are open to everyone.