Tag Archives: Plato

The Republic: Book IX

In the 9th book of Plato’s Republic, Socrates continues to explain why living a just life is better than living an unjust life. To make the point clear, he focuses on the most unjust possible life: the life of a tyrant. He claims that tyrants are driven primarily by the appetite part of their soul. They are overwhelmed by greed and their souls are put into disorder because of how much they are controlled by this terrible part of their soul.

Socrates claims that the life of a tyrant, particularly a political tyrant is the least pleasant and most unhappy life possible. In fact, Socrates is even somehow able to use math to determine exactly how much more pleasant a king’s life is than a tyrant’s. He says in 587e, “if someone wants to say how far a king’s pleasure is from a tyrant’s, he’ll find, if he completes the calculation, that a king king lives seven hundred and twenty-nine times more pleasantly than a tyrant and that a tyrant is the same number of times more wretched.”

In order to accept what Socrates says as the truth, you’d have to accept a lot of different factors. For instance, I disagree with Socrates’ main points because I don’t think there is such thing as a soul, and I think tyranny can be motivated by things other than appetite, such as distorted world views.