"Thus the Republic, like the Phaedo, rejects the claims of non-philosophers to possess any genuine virtue", Plato's Utopia Recast, p. 43.
What arguments does Bobonich give for this bold and unqualified conclusion?
1. His interpretation of the Phaedo: "...if Plato's view of non-philosophers is substantially more optimistic in the Republic, this will require deep changes in other aspects of his views" (42).
2. A deductive argument: virtue requires knowledge; the non-philosophers of the Republic lack knowledge; thus it must be the case that they lack virtue (43).
And that's it. (If you don't believe me, check the book.)
He then considers the objection:
One might object, however, that from the fact that non-philosophers fail to satisfy Book 4's accounts of the virtues, it does not follow that they are as badly off as non-philosophers in the Phaedo. Although they fail to have the 'highest grade' of virtue or 'perfect' virtue, that is, 'philosophical' virtue, non-philosophers might still have a lower grade or imperfect form of virtue (44).
How does Bobonich respond? "Plato never characterizes the virtues defined in Book 4 in any of these qualified ways" (44). Then he says, "The Republic does, however sometimes apply to non-philosophers virtue terms that are verbally qualified in some way. They might, for example, possess 'political courage' or 'moderation for the masses'" (44).
This apparently is an important concession. Doesn't it signal a recognition by Plato of some kind or degree of virtue? No, not at all, because: "...in the Phaedo, too, Plato was willing to attribute to non-philosophers verbally qualified forms of virtue such as 'popular', 'political', and 'slavish' virtue" (44)!!