Each of the degenerating constitutions in Book VIII of Plato's Republic is the result of the disappearance of one of the four cardinal virtues. The failure of wisdom creates a timocracy; the failure of courage, an oligarchy; the failure of moderation, a democracy; the failure of justice, a tyranny. The degeneration shows that the disunited virtues are imperfect, though they have some power to stave off vice. Thus Book VIII implies a unity of the virtues thesis according to which perfect virtues can only exist in a united state, but imperfect simulacra of virtue can exist in a disunited state.
Scopus Subject Areas
- History and Philosophy of Science
- unity of the virtues