The 'Noble Lie' and Tensions in Moral Sensibility that Form the Platonic Grid; Making Modern Day 'Dogs of War'
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This inquiry explores the possibility of applying principles from Plato?s education system in the Republic to modern military leadership development programs. Both are concerned with producing a ?guard-dog? that will serve the interests of the state rather than exploit vulnerable civilians. Plato proposes educating guardians with a natural disposition to believe the ?noble lie,? that it is better to serve others than to pursue selfinterest for personal gain; but, would the proper tension in moral sensibilities prescribed by the Platonic Grid help or hinder a military leader to successfully act on the battlefield? First, I examine Plato?s theory to familiarize military leaders with the education system from the Republic; including his views on unity, reality, the theory of the forms, and recollection of knowledge that underlie Plato?s enquiry into the nature of justice, and lead to the need for inner harmony of the soul through the proper tension of wisdom, courage, and temperance to rule the three elements of the soul. Then I analyze the key leaders from the Battle of Balaclava, the Battle of Gettysburg, and the siege of the Alamo for possible correlations of the application of the Platonic Grid aligned with the ?noble lie? to success on the battlefield. This includes inquiry into the likelihood that belief in the ?noble lie? can motivate soldiers to make the ultimate sacrifice. I conclude by examining how Plato?s theories could be assimilated into a military pedagogy to produce modern day ?dogs of war? that leads to the startling conclusion that adherence to the ?noble lie? could also be in the self-interest of the guardian who seeks to serve the best interest of her nation.
Lasse, Stephen R. (2009). The 'Noble Lie' and Tensions in Moral Sensibility that Form the Platonic Grid; Making Modern Day 'Dogs of War'. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from