What does Plato think about freedom for individuals?

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jilllessa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As stated above this could be a thesis topic, but to build on what was said above, Plato did not see a huge difference between individuals and the state, polis.  If the state was healthy, the individuals would be healthy. Each individual has a role to play in making the state healthy and should play that role.  To Plato individual freedom was the ability of the individual to reason and gain knowledge without impediment from the materialism rampant in society.  Thus, he later concludes that the best rulers of the polis should be those with the most reason and knowledge, the philosopher.  Since philosophers are few, he believes in rule by those few but in his perfect state everyone would be free to acquire knowledge and practice reason to the best of their ability.  However, the base material nature of most men would be controlled by the state. The rule by the most educated, wise, and virtuous men was and is a powerful concept.  Philosophers have argued it since Plato wrote and some like Boethius (d. 525 CE) even died for his belief that Rome should be ruled by the "wise" senators rather than the degenerate barbarian emperor.