Re-examining the ‘Compulsion Problem’ in Plato’s Republic




compulsion, governance, guardians, rulership, education


Scholars have made several attempts to understand the ‘compulsion problem’ in the Republic, namely, why Plato compels the philosopher-rulers to descend into the cave to rule. These attempts, however, fail to properly incorporate two other main instances of compulsion in the dialogue into the discussion: first, the compulsion in Plato’s concept of philosophical rulership, which requires that one can be a ruler in Kallipolis if and only if one is a product of the coincidence of philosophy and politics; second, the instances of compulsion in the future philosopher-rulers’ education. My main aim in this paper is to re-examine the ‘compulsion problem’. I argue that the just law that compels the philosopher-rulers to rule corroborates Plato’s concept of education to achieve the product of his concept of philosophical rulership, i.e. rulers who despise ruling.


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How to Cite

Peprah, S. O. (2021). Re-examining the ‘Compulsion Problem’ in Plato’s Republic. PLATO JOURNAL, 22, 177-195.