In this ambitious and wide-ranging book, Jonny Thakkar defends Plato's claim that philosophers should rule and shows how this can be realized in a liberal democratic context. In the first part, Thakkar provides an interpretation of the Republic that illuminates Plato's conception of both philosophy and ruling and so explains why Plato thinks philosophers should rule. In the second part, he shows how Plato's idea can be modified so that it is compatible with and yet enriches democratic liberalism. The result is not only a defense of the relevance of Plato's ideas for today but also a defense of the role of ideal theory for contemporary politics.

In chapter 1, Thakkar addresses Plato's conception of philosophy. According to Plato, a philosopher is someone who has knowledge of the forms. Thakkar rejects the ‘two worlds’ view, according to which forms are entirely separate from sensible...

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