In Books VIII–IX Plato takes up the topic which he had begun at the end of Book IV, but had put on one side to deal with the epistemological and metaphysical problems raised by the need to answer the question whether the city was possible, and to find the right educational programme for future Guardians. At 543 he recapitulates what he has said at 445c–e that in contrast with the one good form both of city and of individual man (which he calls aristocracy, using the word literally, to mean ‘government by the best’), there is an unlimited number of bad forms, four in particular deserving mention. He then proceeds to give a vivid and impressionistic sketch of these four kinds of state, and of the corresponding four kinds of individual in the order: timocracy and the timocratic man (544c–550c), oligarchy and the oligarchic man (550c–555b), democracy and the democratic man (555b–562a), and tyranny and the tyrannical man (562a–576b).
KeywordsHappy Life Final Argument Metaphysical Problem Pleasant Life Present Participle
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