This essay examines the Republic’s most important argument against democracy, and claims that it remains, even amidst the dominance of democratic theory, a powerful critique not only of Athenian democracy but also of representative democracy. Plato’s basic idea is that a regime is inherently defective if it gives people a right to participate in political office whether or not they have demonstrated any qualifications for doing so. I examine several ways in which modern and contemporary democratic theorists respond to Plato’s critique, and argue that they are problematic. Perhaps Plato was right, then: democracy is not the best possible political system.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Virtue, Happiness, Knowledge|
|Subtitle of host publication||Themes from the Work of Gail Fine and Terence Irwin|
|Editors||David O Brink, Susan Sauvé Meyer, Christopher Shields|
|Publisher||Oxford Universtity Press|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|