Skip to main content

Plato's examination of the oligarchic soul in Book VIII of the Republic

Buy Article:

$27.68 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Historically, oligarchy has been a great political and intellectual competitor to democracy. Indeed, much of the early history of political thought centred on the clash between democracy and oligarchy. Unfortunately, while Greek notions of democracy have received much attention from political scientists, correspondingly less has been paid to oligarchy. This article seeks to address that imbalance by examining Plato's treatment of oligarchy in Book VIII of the Republic. It focuses on Socrates' investigation of the oligarchic soul and concludes that for Plato, oligarchy is an enduring political problem because it is an attractive alternative to democracy for a certain kind of acquisitive but morally-serious person. Such people are attracted to oligarchy because they have a particular moral passion that is not satisfied in a democratic political order.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science, Ashland University, Ashland, OH 44805, USA. . Email:

Publication date: 2002-03-01

  • Access Key
  • Free ContentFree content
  • Partial Free ContentPartial Free content
  • New ContentNew content
  • Open Access ContentOpen access content
  • Partial Open Access ContentPartial Open access content
  • Subscribed ContentSubscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed ContentPartial Subscribed content
  • Free Trial ContentFree trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more