The Unity of the Virtues and the Degeneration of Kallipolis

Apeiron 44 (2):131-146 (2011)
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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. Published 2011 in Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science. (Please note that the pagination in the uploaded document is not the same as the pagination in the published edition.)
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