Why the Philosopher Kings will Believe the Noble Lie

Catherine Rowett

in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

Published in print June 2016 | ISBN: 9780198778226
Published online September 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780191830105 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy

Why the Philosopher Kings will Believe the Noble Lie

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One puzzle about the so-called ‘Noble Lie’ is how, if at all, the rulers in the ideal state (so-called ‘philosopher kings and queens’) could be brought to believe it. This paper shows that the story that they are to endorse is hard to believe not because it is false but because it conveys a message that is challenging to both aristocratic and democratic ideologies. It is also couched in imagery that will make sense to the philosopher first and above all, particularly once she or he has emerged from the Cave and discovered the truth.

Keywords: Noble Lie; deception; Myth of the Metals; philosopher kings; education; Cave; womb; women in the ideal state

Chapter.  14741 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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