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Why are there warriors in Plato's Republic?

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The warriors are a troublesome addition to the city founded by Socrates. Continuous supervision and a heavy-handed pedagogy are required just to keep them from oppressing the producing class. They also never accomplish the mission they initially are given — the violent taking of adjacent lands. So why are they summoned and set up in power? For that matter, why is spiritedness cultivated instead of discouraged or suppressed? The above questions indicate that there is a case to be made against warriors in the city and spiritedness in the soul. After making that case, the paper turns to constructing a defence of each, noting their respective contributions to civic defence and self-preservation, political justice and moral development, and the rule of philosophers and the life of the mind.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Government, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063, USA. Email:

Publication date: 2001-03-01

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