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The unity of Plato's political thought

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Although my main goal is to provide a context for a deeper understanding of Plato's political thought, I introduce distinctions and principles that may be profitably applied to other political thinkers and represent considerations all political scholars should address, and I conclude with two critical comments on Plato's aristocracy.

In proceeding, I will argue first that the inconsistency reading is inadequate because there is sufficient textual support for attributing to Plato two theses that make different, even conflicting, political prescriptions appropriate. I then argue that the full consistency reading is inadequate because it obscures important and genuine differences in Plato's two accounts. In the course of these two arguments, the weak consistency reading is explained and defended through textual support. My final tasks are to add a clarification of the weak consistency reading, address a likely objection to my view, and raise two critical concerns for Plato's aristocracy.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Western Michigan University.

Publication date: March 1, 1991

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