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Plato’s Republic and Dialogs: Socrates’ Self Representation in the Philosophers
In Plato's Republic, Socrates contends that philosophers make the best rulers because only they behold with their mind's eye the eternal and purely intelligible Forms of the Good, the True, and the Just. When, in addition, these men and women obtain a variety of moral, intellectual, and personal virtues and are properly educated through censorship, surely no one could argue with entrusting them to govern the city. Although it is widely assumed that all the Republic’s philosophers are the same, the Republic actually contains two distinct and irreconcilable types of philosophers. The two types of philosophers are the "philosopher by nature" and the "philosopher by design." By examining Socrates in both The Republic and Euthyphro, he possess the traits of the philosopher by nature.
In book 7 of the republic Socrates uses the allegory of the cave to show how one gains knowledge. He sets up the allegory by stating that there are several prisoners chained up in a cave. For their whole lives the prisoners are only exposed to shadows on the wall cast by a distant fire. These prisoners are only exposed to shadows of people and animals, never the physical objects. These shadows, to the prisoners, are the only thing they know as true. However one day a prisoner is freed and is forced out of the cave and into the light of the outside where he is overwhelmed by all the new things and is in disbelief that what he saw before wasn't real. “Previously he had been looking merely at phantoms; now he is nearer to the true nature of being” (Plato 2016, book 7 line 518a,). The escapee then returns to the cave to teach and guide the others to the light of the outside in order to stop them from believing in imitation. But because he saw the light and became used to it he stumble in the dark and to the other prisoners looks foolish However to him they too look foolish. As he tries to explain to the prisoners what the sun is or a horse is; the prisoners reject his teachings by first ridiculing him, then plotting to kill him. Philosophers by design, as illustrated in the allegory of the Cave, vividly shows that the person must be forcibly dragged from the material world of imitation to the realm of the intellectual where the Forms of the Good are located, and from there they must go back down again to the "Cave" to rule the citizens left in the darkness. This philosopher, once ignorant to the tue, now borders the understanding of the Form of the Good. These philosophers are non philosophical by nature as shown by them being dragged out of the cave. “And if someone dragged him away from there by force… and didn't let him go before he dragged him out into the light of the sun, wouldn't he be distressed?”.(515e-516a). This type of philosopher must forcible have his view of the world dragged away from him to get nearer to the Forms of the Good.