Plato against Democracy: A Defense

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

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 languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVirtue, Happiness, Knowledge
Subtitle of host publicationThemes from the Work of Gail Fine and Terence Irwin
EditorsDavid O Brink, Susan Sauvé Meyer, Christopher Shields
PublisherOxford Universtity Press
ISBN (Print)9780198817277
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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Kraut, R. H. (2018). Plato against Democracy: A Defense. In D. O. Brink, S. Sauvé Meyer, & C. Shields (Eds.), Virtue, Happiness, Knowledge: Themes from the Work of Gail Fine and Terence Irwin Oxford Universtity Press.