Paulo Butti de Lima

The Double Descent of the Philosopher. A Political Reading of Plato's Cave

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Keywords: Plato; Republic; Cave; Political Theory; Philosophical Government.

The concept of a Platonic «political philosophy» is paradoxical. No other place reveals more clearly this paradox than the image of the cave in the "Republic". A true discourse about the "polis" should express the knowledge of the shades, once the philosopher becomes habituated to the darkness. However, it is possible to distinguish a double «descent» of the philosopher among the prisoners: in a first moment, he becomes the object of mockery and violence; in a second moment, he is equipped with political power. Political theory seems to be justified by the philosophical activity of government (the second descent), so it is necessary to ask about the meaning of a theory developed by someone who is just an observer of the "polis", having no political power (the first descent). This is the position of Socrates, when describing the image of the cave. This is also the position of Plato as the author of "The Republic".

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