Considering Plato's notion of justice and Aristotle's politics, and should philospher-kings be behind OWS?Considering Plato's notion of justice and Aristotle's politics, and should philospher-kings...

Considering Plato's notion of justice and Aristotle's politics, and should philospher-kings be behind OWS?

Considering Plato's notion of justice and Aristotle's politics, and should philospher-kings be behind of OWS?

Asked on by lifeinlove

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I am guessing that the philosopher king was not supposed to let things get this bad.  The idea is a perfect kingdom where nothing ever goes wrong, because the king makes good decisions.

enotechris's profile pic

enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

No, they shouldn't.  Although people currently espouse the benefits of Greek Democracy, as other posters have stated, Plato & Aristotle were not democrats -- they believed in an elite leadership, and if that elite is virtuous, good governance results.  They would not approve of a mass-demonstration.

 

Question to #2 -- how did Aristotle dislike "excessive capitalism" in his day when capitalism was an Enlightenment Era concept?

 

 

vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The idea of rule by the few would seem to be antithetical to the beliefs of the pariticipants in Occupy Wall Street. Ironically, however, one could argue that what we have seen, practically, in the protests has indeed been rule by the few: a small group of people have taken over various parts of various cities, have broken laws in doing so, have defied the authority of representative governments, and have expected the many to pay for the consequences (such as poor sanitation) of the encampments.  Of course, the folks who have participated in OWS see themselves as representatives of reason and virtue, so perhaps they would see no conflict in principle between their behavior and the ideas of Plato and Aristotle.

readerofbooks's profile pic

readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

This is a good question. If you think about Plato's Republic, then you will realize that he believes that certain people should rule and other should not. Of course, it is the philosopher-king that should rule, but this is inherently problematic for the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, because they do not want an small sliver of people running the country and the rest to follow. Their point is that masses should have rights.  Keep in mind that Plato does not espouse a democracy.

When we move to Aristotle, there are some element that are attractive to the OWS movement, such as Aristotle's dislike for excessive capitalism and his theories of moral virtues. However, the OWS would never approve of Aristotle's strong insistence on the legitimacy of slavery. Moreover, both Aristotle and Plato do have an elitist mentality, which is antithetical to OWS.

With all that said, the important point that OWS could get from Plato and Aristotle is that they need to some intellectual muscle behind their movement and some clear objectives as to what a good society should look like.

 

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