How can the Nash Equilibrium be used in Socratic Democracy?

In Book 8 of Republic, Plato drawed an analogy between human character and the structure of the state. Socrates summarizes the decisions made about the city. According to this, women, children and their education will be equal, philosopher-kings will be the best among the people, and they will live in common buildings, they will be superior in war and education (Plato 213). He, then ranks the four main forms of government, from best to worst, and discusses under what conditions they will emerge from their stable state and transform into each other (Plato 215). Socrates envisions eventual demise of the city as it goes through each government. Because it is human, the city is flawed, it is doomed to fail. First, there is the timocracy, which is controlled by the emotions of the ruler and based on the desire for property and military abilities, and then oligarchy, which is based on wealth and there is a distinction between the extreme rich and the extreme poor, creating ​​two cities. What makes the oligarchy defective is that Socrates makes wealth, which he considers a flaw, to be essential. In an oligarchic order, if the poor revolt and somehow send the rich out, that is democracy, and in a democratic city no one is forced to assume public office, no one enforces the law, and no one serves in the army. Finally a leader comes because he fawns over people. As his popularity increases, so does his power. The fundamental flaw in democracy, in Socrates’ view, is an uncontrolled desire for freedom that turns into anarchy, thus leading to tyranny in an attempt to control anarchy (Plato 231). I do not agree with the idea that Socrates finds the concept of freedom in democracy excessive and that this causes people to violate the rule. Therefore, I will first talk about the social contract that expresses democracy and people’s adherence to the rule, and then I think that the idea of excess of the concept of freedom cannot be within the framework of the social contract.

The freedom brought by Socrates’democracy is seen as a threat. According to him, in a democracy people care neither for written nor spoken laws, as they can never tolerate a master above them (Plato 234). I do not agree with this view of Socrates because he agrees with the idea of the social contract with the view that people together form a society. I am also a supporter of this idea. That is, under the contract, people do not abuse the rights given by democracy for society itself, as Socrates claims. In my opinion, while democracy expresses a commitment and loyalty to the idea of law, it does not mean loyalty to the legislator or the city administrators. The abstract link between democracy and the social contract is like the invisible equal sides of the individual, his rights and duties and the society triangle. that is, if we consider that the legislator takes these ties into consideration, democracy and the idea of social contract in Socrates’ thought intersect. As a rule, people are bound to the law by the concept of social contract. this does not allow the abuse of democracy as Socrates thought. It should be noted that legislators are also included in the society with the idea of democracy and the law can be equal and inclusive to them. I think this idea is a concept that should be included in the concept of democracy.

People form a social contract with abstract bonds to escape in an environment of chaos by Hobbes or the society naturally enters into this process by J.J.Rousseau. This idea ensures that people choose what is good for themselves and others, and the state, and therefore the person himself, can progress in a healthy way. The idea of ​​social contract in democracies is similar to getting an equal slice of the pie. If the state and its creator are the bondsmen, those who make the cake are the ones who make the social contract jointly, and they decide how the cake will be, for example, the taste, what type of flour to use, or this decision is taken by the majority. This is why laws are made based on the idea of ​​the social contract. The legal nature of the laws arises not only from the written provision of that provision, but also from the citizens’ compliance with it and their approval. Therefore, I think that Socrates’ view of democracy is unwarranted, because, despite the idea of freedom that comes with democracy, there is no reason for the idea that people will not feel connected to the state and will not take action.

The limit of freedom is also a criticism of Socrates’ democracy. Democratic people do whatever they want and live extremely freely (Plato 231). However, what is important here is the definition of freedoms that I can call liberal limits, which express not harming others. If the idea of freedom is emphasized instead of the excess of freedom in democracies, the transformation from democracy to tyranny that Socrates criticizes and the chaos environment will be prevented from the beginning. An example of this is Game Theory by John Nash. It is said that the success rate increases when group interests are evaluated while acting for the individual goal. This is similar to the limit of freedom. If people act accordingly and think about others while using their freedom, they maximize their own gain, because excessive freedom of someone else may also harm themselves. If people examine the idea of freedom in connection with the social contract, there will be a procedure within the liberal limits.

When Socrates categorizes human character and forms of government by talking about impulses, the limit of these impulses and who determines this limit are of importance. In this regard, if the idea of ​​social contract has the purpose of making a nice cake, everyone will want to make the best decisions for it.


Plato, and Grube G M A. Republic. Hackett Pub. Co., 1992.



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