Volume 23, Issue 2, Spring 2019
Drew A. Hyland
From Democracy to Oligarchy to Tyranny
As the differently ordered title indicates, and through a careful examination of Books IV and VIII of Plato’s Republic, I seek to destabilize the common view that there is a specific number of regimes and a necessary order of decline in the Book VIII account of the decline of regimes, one consequence of which would be that Plato is a straightforwardly harsh critic of democracy. The upshot of my study is to argue that in fact, the account offers a qualified defense, a proto-Kantian “critique” of democracy. I attempt to sustain this argument with references to several of the Letters of Plato.