Political Philosophy Spring 2024



Our topic is the state. States have existed for about 5,000 years. They involve two kinds of inequality that our philosophers will be concerned with:

  1. Political hierarchy: some people have authority over others.

  2. Inequalities of wealth: some people have more than others, either because they control more productive resources or because they use political power to command wealth.

Generally speaking, political philosophers are interested in whether one or both of these kinds of inequalities can be justified.

Plato is most interested in the first question: what justifies political hierarchy? His answer is ability. He thinks the best should rule because, well, they’re the best!