Author (Your Name)

Ronahn I. Clarke

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Philosophy Dept.


Jill Gordon

Second Advisor

Jim Behuniak


Plato is widely regarded as an authoritarian political thinker on account of Socrates’ endorsement of rule by philosopher kings in the Republic. Yet the Republic should not be mistaken for a political treatise or the entirety of Socrates’ political theorizing. Each of the Socratic dialogues is concerned with the political endeavour of reorienting souls within communities of souls toward virtue via philosophical discussion. This project examines the Lysis, the Gorgias, the Symposium, the Republic, and other dialogues in the context of the philosophical mission Socrates establishes in the Apology. Socrates’ philosophical work expresses a different (and notably less authoritarian) political message than that set forth in the Republic. Socrates carries out his philosophical work according to a spirit of political friendship which suggests the ways in which his fellow citizens can—and should—participate in politics.


politics, Kallipolis, law, philosophy, democracy