Unravelling An Outline Of The Statesman

Polis 28 (1):74-89 (2011)

Daniel Davenport
Tulane University
Throughout the course of Plato's Statesman, an Eleatic Stranger makes several suggestions about what a statesman is. The Stranger refers to one of those suggestions, made at 276e, as 'likely' providing an 'outline' of the statesman. While that outline might not ultimately indicate what a statesman is, it points to some understanding of what it means to inquire into the being of a statesman. Foremost, the outline indicates that the statesman must be understood as a ruler of some kind. Moreover, the statesman is a ruler whose focus should be on the people of the polis and so he must understand something of human nature. However, the statesman is also shaped by the tension created from the way in which rule itself belittles that nature, obscuring if not inhibiting the self-rule that is naturally or ideally human. The outline also acknowledges the reciprocal tendency of people to sacrifice their own self-rule, a tendency that makes ruling both more possible and more problematic
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Statesman. Plato, Joseph Bright Skemp & Martin Ostwald - 1957 - Hackett Publishing Company.
The Practicality of Plato's Statesman.Paul Neiman - 2007 - History of Political Thought 28 (3):402-418.
On Plato’s Statesman.Cornelius Castoriadis - 2002 - Stanford University Press.


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