Qualities of Plato’s Ideal Monarch

Plato -- Raphael

Plato, from Raphael’s School of Athens

Plato, in his work The Republic, sets forth the ideal of a perfect monarch. The ideal philosopher king possessed the ability to philosophize on matters of the state. As Plato writes, “A king who must philosophize; a philosopher who must rule.” These kings also knew how to wisely mete out justice. Plato says that the philosophers have access to the true ideas outside the world of form. Having access to this, a philosopher king can rule wisely, efficiently and for the benefit of the people.

Disagreement Between the Sophists and Socrates

Relative truth was the cause of disagreement between Socrates, a fifth century philosopher, and the Sophists, the proponents of relative truth. The Sophists taught relative truth to the youth; Socrates did not believe in this. Relative truth is when there are no common standards. All actions, morals, ethics and judgments are based upon personal belief and opinion. This is what Socrates combatted.