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Roslyn E. Weiss
Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA 18015-3027)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$33,600 (approved)
$33,600 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2010 – 8/31/2010

Philosophers by Nature, Philosophers by Design: Two Paradigms in Plato's 'Republic'

Plato's 'Republic' contains two kinds of philosophers: those who are naturally disposed to philosophy, and those who come to philosophy artificially. Corresponding to these two types of philosophers are two distinct conceptions of justice and two divergent attitudes toward ruling. Philosophers of the first type are conventionally just: they show regard, in the first instance, not for themselves but for others. Philosophers of the second type, however, manifest a new sort of justice: their souls are well-ordered. Philosophers of the first type rule willingly so long as conditions permit. Those of the second type, however, have a decided aversion to ruling. Once the two distinct types are discerned, the moral deficiency in philosophers of the second type who care only for their own intellectual fulfillment is exposed. The 'Republic' teaches that philosophers whose only wish is to dwell on the Isles of the Blessed secure their wisdom at the expense of their humanity.