Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.652231
Title: Socrates and political authoritariansim
Author: Hatzistarrou, A.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
Availability of Full Text:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please contact the current institution’s library for further details.
Abstract:
In the recent literature Socrates is identified as a main advocate of political authoritarianism. Political authoritarianism as a theory of the legitimacy of political authority comprises the following basic tenets: 1. There are normative political truths. 2. Only some (and relatively few) know the normative political truths. 3. Only those who know normative political truths have a moral right (claim, entitlement) to rule and the rest have a moral reason to obey them. The ascription of political authoritarianism to Socrates runs contrary to the current orthodoxy which views Socrates as the champion of individual autonomy and freedom. In the first part of my dissertation I defend the ascription of political authoritarianism to Socrates against the orthodox interpretation. But my argument differs from the recent attempts to credit Socrates with political authoritarianism in two important respects: a) I argue for an intrinsic connection between Socrates' political authoritarianism and his theory of knowledge; and b) I credit Socrates with a modified version of 3 according to which Socrates does not recognise a moral right to rule correlated with a duty to obey but merely holds the thesis that the political knowledge is the sole requirement one should satisfy to be appropriate for the task of ruling. In the second part of my dissertation I examine what is wrong with the third tenet of political authoritarianism as traditionally formulated and argue for the superiority of Socrates' modified version. The fault with tenet 3 is that it is based on the assumption that there is a substantive right to rule correlated with a duty to obey. I argue that the right to rule is not an operative reason for action (or else it is not the grounds of a duty to obey), but it is merely a 'task-justification right': by claiming that A has a right to rule we state that he has the appropriate qualifications for the task of ruling. In this way the legitimacy of political authority is dissociated from the duty to obey. Finally, I examine Socrates' modified version of 3 and argue that possession of knowledge is not the sole requirement a particular person should satisfy to be appropriate for the task of ruling.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.652231  DOI: Not available
Share: