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The tradition of the political lie infamously commences with Plato's Noble Lie in the Republic. It is woven with great care into his utopian state on the premise that Philosopher-Rulers are incorruptible wielders of political power.Most treatments of the Noble Lie understand this and then proceed to dismiss Plato on the basis of his unrealistic assumptions about human nature. But when consideration is extended to the Laws, one finds a far more nuanced and relevant Plato uncomfortable with the > practice of political deception. This article elaborates on the Noble Lie and its assumptions, and then explains how the later Plato's increased scepticism about human nature informed a different policy in his Laws.

Keywords: Noble Lie; Plato; deception; democratic theory; virtue

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013

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