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A stranger's knowledge : statesmanship, philosophy, & law in by Xavier Márquez

By Xavier Márquez

The Statesman is a tricky and difficult Platonic discussion. In A Stranger's Knowledge Marquez argues that Plato abandons the following the vintage thought, favorite in the Republic, that the philosopher, qua philosopher, is certified to rule. in its place, the discussion offers the statesman as different from the thinker, the possessor of a consultant services that can't be decreased to philosophy. The expertise is of the way to make a urban resilient opposed to inner and exterior clash in mild of the imperfect sociality of people and the poverty in their cause. This services, despite the fact that, can't be produced on call for: one can't teach statesmen like one could teach carpenters. Worse, it can't be made appropriate to the electorate, or function in ways in which usually are not deeply harmful to the city’s balance. while the political neighborhood calls for his wisdom for its maintenance, the real statesman needs to stay a stranger to the city.

Marquez indicates how this deadlock is the major to knowing the ambiguous reevaluation of the guideline of legislations that's the such a lot extraordinary function of the political philosophy of the Statesman. The legislations looks the following as an insignificant approximation of the services of the necessarily absent statesman, dim photographs and static snapshots of the transparent and dynamic services required to guide the send of country around the storms of the political international. but such legislation, even if they aren't created by way of real statesmen, can usually give you the urban with a constrained kind of cognitive capital that allows it to maintain itself ultimately, as long as electorate, and particularly leaders, keep a “philosophical” perspective in the direction of them. it is just while rulers comprehend that they don't know larger than the legislation what's simply or solid (and but need to know what's simply and strong) that the town may be preserved. The discussion is therefore, in a feeling, the vindication of the philosopher-king within the absence of real political knowledge. 


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44 1. 57 Then the Stranger proposes a potential division of this class into two or more sections, and asks Young Socrates in which section the statesman’s knowledge is to be found. If Young Socrates is uncertain or confused, the Stranger will offer an argument for why the statesman belongs in one section of the division rather than in the other. The process is then repeated, until the division yields as one of its classes the knowledge of the statesman, that is, until the division allows them to agree that some particular form of knowledge (qualified by all the contrasts implied by the earlier divisions) is statesmanship.

These vices are multiple and contradictory, sometimes inclining the theoretician towards what, following Foucault,50 we might call pastoral tyranny, sometimes towards the rigidity of law, and sometimes towards its revolutionary opposite, but they are all born of the self-confidence of a “theoretical” knowledge that does not know its limits. We might then say that the drama of the dialogue is intended as a corrective to such vices. With these considerations about methodology out of the way, we can now turn to the dialogues themselves.

I argue in all three cases that the objection has either less force than is normally supposed, or that the view of political knowledge developed in the Statesman circumvents it. The view of political knowledge presented in the Statesman can prompt a renewed appreciation of both the rule of law and of the importance of a proper relationship between philosophical inquiry and political life. But the more important use of the ideal of political expertise is critical. The Statesman, as we shall see, reminds us of the shabbiness and inadequacies of our institutions, and of the great distance between our current practices and the genuine care of human beings.

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