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Forms of Government

This article focuses on the philosophy of government and different forms of government from a philosophical perspective. We will discuss forms of government from the lens of the classical and modern views. You will also get to know a few examples of modern government.

The study of basic concerns relating to the state, governance, politics, liberty, justice, and the implementation of a legal system by the authorities is known as political philosophy. It is a form of ethics that is applied to a group of people and examines how a society should be organised and how individuals should act within that community. Political philosophy includes a view of the world from the lens of both the classical and modern eras.

Philosophy of Government 

The role of government in the affairs of its citizens is the subject of government philosophy. The importance of freedom and tranquillity in our material, bodily and spiritual development cannot be overstated. Many atheists and agnostics will find that they may disagree with some underlying philosophical views. The primary goal of the government is to keep the peace.


The way the government safeguards human rights in a country like the United States, which operates according to the rule of law and through laws. The philosophy of governance only contains legislation that must meet specific criteria; it is neither a list of all good things nor a list of all terrible things that must be prohibited. Rather than, it only addresses legitimate regulation, which bans a person or group of people from harming another person.

Plato’s form of Government: Classical View

Plato mentions five different types of regimes. The five kinds of governance are aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny. Plato also gives each of these regimes a man to represent what they stand for. These five governments began with aristocracy at the top and ended with tyranny at the bottom.

  • Aristocracy: Plato’s Republic advocates aristocracy as a form of government. This dictatorship is led by a philosopher-king and is hence based on knowledge and logic.
  • Timocracy: There will be people of a lower hierarchy in government, inclined not only to cultivate virtues but also to produce wealth. A change in the aristocratic city’s constitution is eventually worked out. Its educational system, which used to introduce the upper classes to a purely rational, selfless political theory, is altered so that current state leaders can pursue their interests.
  • Oligarchy: Plato defined oligarchy as a kind of government that separates the wealthy and the poor, with the former serving as its administrators. An oligarchy arises from the extension of tendencies that already exist in a timocracy. With newfound respect for money, the governors rewrite the constitution once more to limit political power to the wealthy. A timocracy becomes an oligarchy in this way.
  • Democracy: The oligarchy subsequently degenerates into a democracy, in which liberty is the highest good, but liberty also entails enslavement. The poor are the ones who come out on top. People are free to do as they like and live their lives as they see fit. People have the option to break the law if they so desire.
  • Tyranny: Democracy eventually degenerates into dictatorship, with no one in charge and society in disarray. The desire for freedom has taken over democracy. To maintain peace, power must be seized. A champion will emerge and become a tyrant as a result of his encounter with power. People will begin to despise him and attempt to remove him, but they will realise they are unable to do so.

Mixed Government: Modern View 

Mixed government (or a mixed constitution) is a system of government that mixes parts of democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy, ostensibly rendering their respective degenerations (anarchy, oligarchy, and tyranny) impossible. The term was coined in classical antiquity to describe the republic: a type of government created under the Roman constitution for its stability, innovation, and success.

According to one perspective, the Commission President represents the one-man rule, while the Commission represents the aristocratic feature of the European Union and the Parliament represents the democratic dimension.


Individual rights (such as the right to life, liberty, and property, the pursuit of happiness, free expression, and self-defence, among others) describe exactly what it takes for a person to benefit from existing in a community rather than suffer from it. Plato saw weaknesses in all kinds of governance and concluded that aristocracy, which prioritises virtue and wisdom, is the purest form of government. In contrast to classical democracy, aristocracy, or monarchy, rulers in a mixed government are elected by voters rather than inheriting or partitioning their positions.



Frequently asked questions

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What do you mean by political philosophy?

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What is the main concern of the philosophy of government?

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Explain Plato’s form of government in brief?

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Give one example of mixed government used in the modern era?

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