Benjamin Wong

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science


Thomas J. Lewis




The image of the philosophic dog plays a major role in the Republic. The analogy is used to illuminate the phenomenon of viciousness, a mode of behaviour that is ultimately self-destructive. Viciousness, as such, is intimately connected to the problem of the self. The analogy, therefore, functions as a guide into those very problems which affect the conception of the self.

When the image of the dog is invoked, the analogy alerts us to difficulties in the arguments of the dialogue. The analogy does not resolve these difficulties, since it only functions to give expression to them, but in so doing it plays a central role in providing a consistent thread which binds together the diverse issues that are brought up In the Republic.

Initially, the image is used to elucidate characteristics of the auxiliaries, but the image is subsequently implicated in the description of the just man and the philosopher, as well as their respective antitheses. The image illuminates the nature (and problem) of the philosophical relationship between the just man and the philosopher, as well as the nature of the political relationship between these two and their opposites. The thesis, therefore, uses the image as a vehicle to address the broader concern of the relationship between philosophy and politics.

McMaster University Library

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