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Plato Since the mid-nineteenth century, the Republic has been Plato's most famous and widely read dialogue. As in most other Platonic dialogues the main.
Table of contents
But on close examination on various governance in the world we see instances where views of Plato having been adopted.
Taking all these into account, it is no wonder that the Republic is regarded as the cornerstone of western philosophy. The translation I read was done by Sir Desmond Lee. I found it easy to read. There were many explanatory notes within that really helped me to understand the text, although I cannot say I fully understood everything. Overall, I loved the read, and am really happy to say that finally one of my long reading wishes is fulfilled.
View all 11 comments. May 27, Trevor rated it it was amazing Shelves: social-theory , race , philosophy. And bits of it many, many times. And you might be surprised at how frequently it is referenced, particularly in science fiction — everything from The Giver to Brave New World to The Matrix. And while the world Plato is presenting is meant to be a utopia, it is generally used as the basis for the most terrifying of dystopias.
One of the things I noticed this time through was all the eugenics. Basically, people are born with various levels of merit and a just society would identify those who are favoured with whatever merit they have, and it would set them to the tasks that best suit whatever merit they have. Plato talks of the merit of people as a bit like being assigned to different metals not unlike in the Olympics and those people metals differentiate them into different classifications — gold, silver, bronze and iron — and each will have their proper tasks in society.
Once you have been assigned to one of these classifications you are pretty much stuck there. There are tasks that are appropriate to your abilities and the just society is one where people are assigned tasks that best meet their abilities. All the same, the best people are still likely to have the best children and so the society should make all proper efforts to ensure that the best breeds with the best — in much the same way as you would if you were breeding race horses.
The best societies would be ruled by philosopher kings — and they would not be allowed to have any possessions of their own, since they ought to be focused on the good of the society as a whole. There is a kind of threat to such people — Plato believes they would be unlikely to really give a stuff about most things that others find very rewarding. For instance, wealth, power, prestige and so on.
This is all for the good — because the sorts of people who want to rule are generally not the sort of people who should ever be allowed to rule. This is one of the things in which me and Plato are very much on the same page — although, for me, rather than breeding a special class of philosopher kings to rule over us, I am increasingly becoming an anarchist as I struggle to think of a single person in my life who has been a worthwhile leader. These philosopher kings are expected to structure pretty well all aspects of life to make sure that the dumb or rather we differently-abled with all too much base metal in our veins are kept content in our ignorance.
A large part of religion will need to go — particularly the bits where the gods were seen fighting with each other or doing immoral things to women dressed up as bulls and such. The allegory of the cave is the most famous part of this dialogue. It concerns the nature of education. What always strikes me about it is the pain that is associated with learning the truth and how once one has learnt the truth one appears to be foolish to all those around them.
But that the point of learning is to return to those who are ignorant and to be forced to attempt to explain the truth of existence to them. This is almost always a near fatal enterprise. In fact, Plato says that people really only have one thing that they are likely to be good at and that they must stick to that. His discussion of the different types of government in book viii is a bit of a highlight to this, I think.
I found his discussion of democracy particularly interesting. A man, tired from a long day of drudgery at work, walks towards his favourite haunt, an old-fashioned British working class pub in Essex called 'The Griffon'. Drenched from a heavy fall of rain, he enters the building and is greeted by its familiar smells and sounds.
Where have ye been A man, tired from a long day of drudgery at work, walks towards his favourite haunt, an old-fashioned British working class pub in Essex called 'The Griffon'. Where have ye been all this time? Oh no, nothing as queer like that. Had some family business to attend to. I also have been busy reading, as a matter of fact.. Let me explain. You know about that particularly nasty storm a forthnight ago? Already a legend in these parts. Turned out it was the bloody library! Quite a shock, let me tell you.
What the hell else did we elect her for? Well, for some reason I ended up in the philosophy section, and found this book titled the Republic by this fella named Plato. Does that ring a bell with anyone? Famous bloke, innit?
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In it he sort of details how society should be run by so-called philosopher kings. Rather strict in his way of approaching it, methinks. Not a lot of freedom, or much fun at all really. Got you to keep flippin' the pages though, no? The missus always said I was a right philistine, and should get some more culture in my system.
I read for an hour or so, and then took it home. First time I applied for a library card, funnily enough. Finished the whole thing in two weeks. I felt real smart for an instance there. A fine feat of self-improvement, if I do say so myself. Let me tell you something, lad. Among other things, he also viewed alcohol as a possible hindrance to that. Well, I am a working man with a wife and the fruit of my overactive loins to provide for. After eight hours of breaking my back in the factory, I just want to go to me pub, unwind and drink my scotch.
Anything other than that is a damned luxury. Ya see my meaning here? More than likely, reading these things is a waste of time anyway for folk like us. Trust me, I have seen it all. Best enjoy what we have and hope for the best. Damn proud to be a nobody at the bottom. At least there is honour in that. He pauzes for a moment, immersed in thought Bah, enough of this. Barman, a round of drinks for all! View 1 comment. Jan 27, Bettie rated it really liked it Shelves: publishedbc , classic , philosophy , whats-it-all-about-alfie , politics , society , winter , utopian , precedent1 , re-visit Strange days indeed, when we are sent back to re-visit the very roots of philosophy within the ancient world.
Audio book Just to be clear, my rating is for the edition of the Republic I read- the Oxford World's Classics text translated by Robin Waterfield. Giving stars to the Republic is so flagrantly stupid that I can't even come up with a suitably stupid analogy. Giving stars to the Mona Lisa? Not even close. Giving stars to Dante? Not the same, because that deserves five stars. The Republic simultaneously deserves five stars, for kick-starting Western philosophy, social science, aesthetics, theology, and politi Just to be clear, my rating is for the edition of the Republic I read- the Oxford World's Classics text translated by Robin Waterfield.
The Republic simultaneously deserves five stars, for kick-starting Western philosophy, social science, aesthetics, theology, and political thought. It poses a bunch of difficult questions in a way that no book before it does. That said, the arguments it uses and the answers it reaches are ridiculous and ridiculously flawed. That's okay. If you're smart enough to ask questions that keep people talking for over two millennia, you're allowed to airball the answers.
You can tear the arguments of this book apart in more ways than any other work of respectable philosophy: Aristotle is way more internally coherent, even the most moronic contemporary popular 'scientist' has less absurd assumptions. Anyway, really I wanted to review the edition. It's great. Waterfield jettisons the random 'book' divisions of the Republic. Ideally, I guess, you'd just publish the thing as one long rant, but in the interests of user-friendliness Waterfield's split the text up into chapters, each one of which more or less features one argument.
This makes the flow of the dialogue much easier to follow. He also breaks up steps in the arguments of the longer chapters, so you don't get lost even if you're kind of half-arsing your reading. Philosophically engaged, historically aware, never willing to play cheerleader to Socrates' more obvious gaffs, but willing to go out on a limb to defend something that initially seems implausible. Waterfield's guiding thread is that you really should read the book as what it says it is: an investigation into morality often translated as justice elsewhere , which proceeds by way of analogy.
The political stuff is secondary; the real goal is to defend the idea that the moral person is happier and better in the long run. I say all this despite disagreeing with Waterfield's argument that the forms aren't metaphysical. I know why philosophers say that; the idea that Plato thought there were real Divine Bedframes floating somewhere in the fifth dimension is ridiculous.
But he pretty clearly thought that ridiculous thing. Good for him.
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View all 6 comments. Apr 04, Jason Pettus rated it really liked it. Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally. The era of those societies, then, is known as the "Classical Age;" the years between these two eras is known as the "Middle Age" or "Dark Age," in that these were the years such information was lost and forgotten in the first place.
The Republic , for example, which would be better translated in our modern language to Society , is one of the more important of the dozens of Plato's books to still exist; it is one of the first books in Western culture, in fact, to tackle the very question of what a society is, of how to best organize one, and how to lay the long-term plans to make such a "republic" stable and violence-free.
For example, the whole first part of the book tackles nothing else but what Socrates saw as the fundamental question behind all societies, that of "justice;" of how we as an organized group of people determine what exactly is "fair," what exactly is "right" and "wrong," and how we go about not only formally defining that but also enforcing it on a society-wide basis. That then gets the group talking about the creation of laws, which gets into the subject of who in a society is best qualified to write and determine such laws; this gets the reader into what most consider part 2 of the book, an examination of what we today would call not only lawyers but also politicians, philosophers and educators.
Plato and his peers, in fact, believed that the enlightened citizen should be all of these things at once; it's only in our modern times that we split them into four different professions. This then gets us into part 3 of The Republic , a detailed examination of four popular types of society that were around at the time; this is what gets us our modern definitions of timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and tyranny, and of course the dozens of other government types that have since been invented by later philosophers.
And then finally, the way Socrates and his students actually discuss and arrive at these conclusions is through what is now known as the "Socratic Method," a fancy term for something most people will immediately understand; it's simply the process of teaching through talking and asking questions, guiding a student through a series of answers into discovering the wisdom of that topic on their own. Anytime a public school teacher discusses a subject out loud in a classroom, for example, then calls on a student to answer a question about the subject, that technically is the Socratic Method.
The argument for it being a classic: Dude, it's a 2,year-old book that's still being read on a daily basis; if that's not the definition of a classic, fans say, then what is? Much more importantly than this, though, The Republic and other Classical books of philosophy virtually defined how nearly the entire western half of the planet currently conducts its business; all modern free-market representational democracies, after all, are fundamentally based on the ideas of the "Enlightenment" philosophers of the s, and their ideas originally came from the ideas of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and others.
There's nothing like reading the actual source material, fans of Classical literature will tell you, if you want a deep understanding of the principles guiding all of Western culture; this one single book, for example, laid the groundwork for how over half the world's governments now operate, making it the very definition of a book you should read before you die. The argument against: Of course, let's not forget the price of reading a 2,year-old book of philosophy, which is that much of it is out-of-date by now; in fact, there's an entire litany of terms in The Republic that a reader must put air quotes around each time they come across, with "democracy" for example not meaning nearly the same thing to Plato that it means to us, nor "republic," nor "equality," nor "freedom.
Because of all this, critics say, a book like The Republic is certainly historically important, certainly a must-read for anyone devoting their life or career to philosophy or government or education, but not necessarily a book that the general populace should feel a need to read themselves.
My verdict: So let me admit right off the bat what a p-ssy I am, and that in actuality I only read something like the first hundred pages of this book; because let's face it, we live in a much more sophisticated age than Plato did, with most of us for example deeply comfortable with the Socratic Method even by the time we're done with elementary school. The Republic itself is written in the same pace one would use when explaining something to a five-year-old child, which of course Plato and his co-horts had to do back then; it was a society that was barely literate, that had never tackled these subjects before, who hadn't even invented such words as "philosophy" yet or such concepts as universities.
To tell you the truth, the most interesting thing about the book was in fact the modern page introduction by Desmond Lee I read the Penguin Classics version ; like many other synopses that now exist, it does a much better job than the manuscript itself at explaining the historical context that informed these ideas, as well as the outdated terminology and the words that would be better used today. Although it was definitely a fascinating book to explore and learn more about, I can't say in all honesty that I would recommend tackling the actual manuscript; much better I think to read one of the modern analyses instead, and learn more about how the book has shaped society in the two thousand years since.
Is it a classic? Bitter irony, I know, considering the way the majority of Middle East states have been treated by the majority of Western nations over the last couple of hundred years. View all 5 comments. Shelves: philosophy. Theorising the Perfect State 21 October Sometimes I wonder if people give this book five stars because it is either a written by Plato, or b if you don't give it five stars then you are afraid that people will think that you are some semi-literate mindless cretin whose reading capacity tends to extend little beyond the Harry Potter and Twilight Series.
Yes, I realise that I have given it five stars, but I have given it five stars because I actually enjoyed the argument that this book outli Theorising the Perfect State 21 October Sometimes I wonder if people give this book five stars because it is either a written by Plato, or b if you don't give it five stars then you are afraid that people will think that you are some semi-literate mindless cretin whose reading capacity tends to extend little beyond the Harry Potter and Twilight Series.
Yes, I realise that I have given it five stars, but I have given it five stars because I actually enjoyed the argument that this book outlines. Basically it is a very logical argument that examines the nature of the human soul and of justice and the structure of the argument is of the sort that you could only expect to see from a master.
Mind you, some of the points that Plato makes, such as physicians role being only to maintain the health of society and not to heal or care for the sick or injured thus simply letting them die would be repugnant not only to us to an extent but also to the people of his day. However it is the way that the argument flows, and the way that Plato explores concepts that are relevant even to us today that makes me think highly of this work of literature.
First of all, let us consider the context of the book. This was written after the death of Socrates which meant that the democratic model that Athens had been based upon had failed, and this it was quite clear to Plato and his contemporaries that democracy had failed. As such, when writing about the perfect society, one could not write about a democracy, and if one did, one needed to outline how the previous experiment failed and how it could be improved.
This is the case today with socialists examining how the Russian experiment failed, but seeking to build upon its ideals to create a government that will avoid those mistakes. However, in Plato's mind, this could not happen simply because he knew that the basic foundations of the democratic state could not support a functioning ideal government. The main reason for that is that, like our democratic system, the power brokers not only tended to be rich, but also very well spoken, meaning that the populace could easily be swayed and end up supporting the power-brokers flawed, and in many cases self-centered, policies.
However, while many consider that the Republic is about an idea of how to construct a perfect state, the treatise itself goes far beyond that because what it is actually looking at is the idea of perfect justice.
A three-part deductive argument is called
Near the end of the treatise Plato once again outlines his theory of forms, which is that everything in this world his a pale reflection of the object's perfect form. For instance, all tables that we see are a reflection of a perfect table, and as tables can only be created by people who make tables, and because all table makers are different, it is thus impossible to create the perfect form of a table.
However to help us understand this concept further, Plato brings out the idea of art. A painting of a table is a mere reflection of the table that is painted, and every painting of that table will be different and no painter is able to paint that table as it truly is — the painter is basically restrained by the medium of which the painter creates the table. The same goes with poetry, because the poet is only able to create a pale reflection of the event that the poet is writing the poem about, and no poet, through the medium of poetry, is able to create a perfect reflection of that event.
Thus, what Plato is doing is he is applying his theory to that of government. Thus every government is a reflection of the perfect government, and no government can replicate the perfect form of government. Further still, being a philosopher, Plato is restrained from being able to describe exactly what that perfect government is because he is restrained by the medium of which is uses to outline what he believes the perfect form of government is.
That, by the way, is very important - what he believes the perfect form of government to be. The major restraint that Plato faces in outlining the perfect form is that it is his opinion, and his opinion is quite possibly wrong. However, let us consider what this government is. First of all, it is not a democracy, and has no democratic institutions. The government is a oligarchic state which is ruled by philosophers, with the philosopher king at the top of the chain. It is also a very stratified form of government, with three castes, namely the ruling caste, the warrior caste known as the Guardians , and the working caste.
We must remember also that there is no room for anybody who cannot fit into any of these castes, thus the sick, injured, or disabled, have no part in this society because they are not able to fulfil any meaningful role within the state. However your caste his not determined by your birth, which means that just because you are born to working class parents does not mean you are automatically a part of the working class, and as such, just because you are born among the ruling class does not mean you are automatically members of the ruling class.
A few further points that I note is that Plato endorses religion in his state, but this is not surprising considering the Greeks were very religious people. However, Plato does not see a need to comment on religion, and while it is the case that there were philosophers who were atheists, Plato, nor his teacher Socrates, were one of them.
Plato also does not support the idea of family, and actually believes that it should be abolished though he does support monogamous marriage. I suspect that is this because the family unit tends to be a very tight unit, and if allowed in such a stratified society, having a family unit would mean that the idea of a person being a member of a specific class based on skill would fall apart as the members of a family in a specific class would not allow their children to fall down to a lower class. Plato also believes in the abolition of wealth and property, which means that his state is a socialist state.
Once again this is not surprising considering that most dictatorships tend to have the wealth concentrated at the top, with the rulers effectively being the progenitors of a kelptocracy. However, it is also the case in the democracies where wealth creates privilege, and privilege creates power. Just as it is today, the wealthy of fifth century Athens were able to buy the best minds to write their arguments and promote their policies to the detriment of the poorer classes.
A democracy could quite well also be considered a form of kleptocracy. Finally, Plato advocates censorship, particularly in education. He indicates that there are some things that should not be taught to our young for fear that our young may not understand what is being taught. This is very much the case today because there is a form of censorship that is basically accepted, and that is the rating systems for our movies, and now for our computer games. One cannot release a movie in an advanced democracy without getting the approval of the ratings agency.
Further, studios will purposely self censor a movie so that it will receive a certain rating so that more people will go and see it and will be willing to see it. View all 4 comments. May 18, Gary Inbinder added it Shelves: political-science , ancient-lit , philosophy.
This is my first GR review without a star rating. Both books are, in my opinion, prescriptions for tyranny, the two sides of the same counterfeit coin. H This is my first GR review without a star rating. However, I won't compare Plato to Hitler. I believe Plato meant well, but more of that later. Plato argued for a Republic governed by those most fit to rule, the Men and Women of Gold, the philosopher kings and queens.
The justification for this peculiar form of injustice was that the naturally superior were "experts" who would rule the naturally inferior for their own good. Hitler was the rattler who gives a warning before he bites. Plato was subtler. He used the Cave metaphor, an example of his idealistic epistemology, to show how some people have the special insight to see things as they really are, whereas the masses only see things as they appear to be. Therefore, the ignorant masses are always subject to the popular opinion of the moment.
Voices of reason
On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. Plato was writing about Athenian politics, their ancient democracy, and other systems of government 2, years ago.
I haven't a clue what he'd think of the 21st century. Things change yet much remains the same. Governments are instituted by human beings, and all humans are subject to the same flaws and weaknesses as our ancestors. Imperfect beings will never develop a perfect form of government. I recommend reading Robespierre's speech The Republic of Virtue and considering it in light of Plato's Republic, a good test of thought experiment as applied to reality.
May 19, Amit Mishra rated it really liked it. The book is a dialogue among the students. Where some serious questions have been asked. Like, what is a reality? What is good and bad? The book tries t capture all the forces of earth and translate them into a constructive idea. It talks about almost all thing.
How should be an idle society look like, how should be an individual. The book is a must-read for everyone who wants to understand the depth of life. Jun 10, Jessaka rated it liked it Shelves: philosophy , books-i-had-to-read-in-college. Let me tell you about this book. Well, I don't recall it much; I only recall the angst it caused me for in my first year of college there were only two classes left that looked somewhat interesting.
First time; last served. I took Philosophy and Child Psychology. I walked into my philosophy class and thought it was really going to be interesting. The teacher, Mr. Flores, spoke in broken English. No one told me that I could drop out of a class, so I sat there. I couldn't take notes because I Let me tell you about this book.
I couldn't take notes because I didn't know what he was saying. I read this book, and I was still struggling. A student suggested Cliffs Notes. They helped. The test didn't include anything in the book, what it included was his lectures. But with the help of the Notes, I got a C in the class. I didn't even know then that I could take the class over and change that grade. And one other thing happened in the class. I was always afraid to speak in public, but Mr. Flores said that we had to give a speech. It didn't matter how short or how long it was.
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If we gave it we would pass. I found a cartoon, and I got up in front of the class. This is what happened: "This is a theological question. Is there life after death? I don't know if there is life before death. And I smiled. But maybe taking the class helped me in other ways, for I knew then that I needed to get a lot of As in order to get rid of that C, and when I quit going to college 12 years later, I had a 3. I still needed more As. I never graduated because I didn't want to take some required classes. So I spent those years changing majors and taking whatever sounded good. I considered myself a college bum and just quit when I was burned out.
Now I just read books I like. Jun 20, Mark rated it really liked it Recommends it for: those with a philosophical bent. Shelves: ancient-world , classics. I finished reading The Republic on my birthday and now am both older and wiser. The Republic is in essence one long argument why a person should lead a just life verses choosing a life of pleasure, riches, ambition, or power. It is deeply concerned with the nature of the human soul and how to prepare one's soul for eternity.
Greek culture, which seems somewhat fractured to us today. The Rep I finished reading The Republic on my birthday and now am both older and wiser. All in all The Republic is a strange but excellent little book that is well worth the read. View all 3 comments. Oct 09, Michael Finocchiaro rated it it was amazing Shelves: greek-classic , philosophy , political-theory. I almost categorised this as a dystopian novel because while Plato finds his Republic to be ideal, it sounded too much like what Trump intends for Amerikkka.
The Republic by Plato
It is an essential read in terms of western philosophy particularly because of the cave analogy and its opposition to the Aristotelian manner of thinking that created the major division in Greek philosophy and continues to underpin politics ever since. In his taking the ideal to be more critical than the real world, Plato creates a model an I almost categorised this as a dystopian novel because while Plato finds his Republic to be ideal, it sounded too much like what Trump intends for Amerikkka.
In his taking the ideal to be more critical than the real world, Plato creates a model and expects everyone to adhere to it which is how I see the current american political right where their measuring stick is the Bible whereas Aristotle was looking at empirical data to derive conclusions and draw up policy how I see the current american political left but of the Sanders variety rather than the HRC variety. Unfortunately, few have been able to bridge this divide - Kant perhaps, Nietzsche embracing chaos and absolutism A critical read in any case for understanding once again how we got to where we are although not necessarily a roadmap to change things - that will have to come out of your critical reading and optimist imagination afterwards.
View 2 comments. There is in every one of us, even those who seem to be most moderate, a type of desire that is terrible, wild, and lawless. So, it should be noted that I did not find this book at a bookstore and voluntarily buy it for my leisurely reading It was on the syllabus for my political theory class. That being said, I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would.
Would I recommend it for a vacation? Absolutely not. Unless you like pondering about justice and censorship and the creations of rulers and c There is in every one of us, even those who seem to be most moderate, a type of desire that is terrible, wild, and lawless.
Unless you like pondering about justice and censorship and the creations of rulers and cities Maybe if I tried to read it by myself, I'd get bored or uninspired. But our class discussions and syllabus really kept me engrossed in the subject matter. I guess I'd recommend this book to a philosophy book club, if those exist. Plato begins The Republic showing what justice is not. In this sense, he points out that it is not fair to give each one what is due to him, it is not fair to give to the friend what is not suited to him and to harm enemies, it is not fair, also, to emphasize, only the interest of the stronger.
From there, Socrates seems to begin to present the aspects that involve the problem of justice. After this, then, Socrates asks, "Well," I continued, "but since it seems that justice and righteousness wer Plato begins The Republic showing what justice is not. After this, then, Socrates asks, "Well," I continued, "but since it seems that justice and righteousness were nothing of this, what else can you say they are? I think that in the most beautiful thing to be esteemed by itself and by the consequences, whoever wants to be happy Well, then," said I, "if we considered in imagination the formation of a city, we would also see justice and injustice arising in it?
It's that it seems to me that it's not small work. See then. Or do you think a city is founded for any other reason? Acting in this way, there is no opposition between individuals and the State, they complement each other and owe mutual assistance, where everything revolves around justice. Because of her chasing task, she is the cardinal virtue. It responds by social order and soul. In this way, Justice as a cardinal virtue, concerns the very life of the soul. In these circumstances, the Republic is a rational theory of the State. Thus, Plato wants to know and form the perfect state in order to know and form the perfect man.
Jun 27, Covert. No book has influenced my life more than Plato's Republic. It admittedly can be a difficult read: it is almost entirely a back and forth conversation between two people, Socrates and Glaucon, discussing the nature of man, the soul, justice, and what the most just society, or Republic, would look like.
In this highly utopian account, Socrates expresses little hope in the common man, and instead suggests authoritarian rule, by philosophers, would lead to the most just state. His contempt for democ No book has influenced my life more than Plato's Republic. His contempt for democracy can be disturbing to those who have faith in the said system, however, it behooves all to read.
Forget trying to become enlightened by some eastern religion, the morals, lessons and philosophy of this cornerstone of Westernism will strike you as remarkably fresh and increasingly relevant today, some 2, years after it was written. Aug 20, Stephen rated it really liked it Shelves: philosophy , non-fiction , classics , easton-press , to-re-read , polly-sighs-and-pubic-policy , on-deck-next , and-before , classics-european.
This is one of those books that I believe everyone should read as it is one of those foundational books on which Western civilization is based. Plato's The Republic is one of the more widely read works of philosophy of all time. It is a complex work, one that rambles due to the nature of it being a dialogue rather than a pure expository piece, but one with some interesting and applicable ideas within it nonetheless. The core argument that Plato makes, through using Socrates as the voice of reason, seems to link up to the idea of the creation of a better Republic - hence the title - or a kind of Utopia.
He argues that in the end the thing Plato's The Republic is one of the more widely read works of philosophy of all time. He argues that in the end the things that most people pursue in life - wealth, fame, power etc. He, therefore, upholds justice and rationality over such things. One of Plato's biggest claims is that a true king should be a Philosopher or if I remember I think he even mention poet, given that he seems to argue that philosophy and poetry are not dissimilar King.
A King who does not crave leadership for its own merit, but for the good that he can do for others. But it wasn't the big claims that stuck with me as much as a pointed little side-comment that attacking smaller issues is like attacking a hydra. The reason this comment stuck with me is because of my friends. I have plenty of friends who like to think that they are doing some good myself included by attacking every little small issue that comes along to do with injustice or animal cruelty or whatever.
I'm not disagreeing that these are important issues, I merely agree with Plato that concentrating on one smaller issue is like cutting the head from a hydra - another related head grows back alongside the same head. The point is not to attack the smaller head, but to attack the bigger issue - the core issue if it is a negative issue and see what can be done to change things truly.
As for who should read a work like this? I believe that everyone should read at least snippets or a summary in the course of their lifetime. It may not agree with your own worldview, but there are ideas that you can take away nonetheless. I for one agree with his points about what is truly important is not the physical things, but the merits and uses of such physical things. Feb 04, Dan rated it did not like it. I'm not sure why people read this. For those interested in the history of philosophy it's undoubtedly important.
For everyone else A lot of people comment that Plato deals seriously with all the big issues. Well, he brings them up, but never seriously engages with them. During the conversation other questions are raised: what is goodness; what is reality; what is knowledge? The Republic also addresses the purpose of education and the role of both women and men as 'guardians' of the people.
With remarkable lucidity and deft use of allegory, Plato arrives at a depiction of a state bound by harmony and ruled by 'philosopher kings'. Desmond Lee's translation of The Republic has come to be regarded as a classic in its own right. His introduction discusses contextual themes such as Plato's disillusionment with Athenian politics and the trial of Socrates. The new introduction by Melissa Lane discusses Plato's aims in writing The Republic , its major arguments and its perspective on politics in ancient Greece, and its significance through the ages and today.
Plato c. He founded in Athens the Academy, the first permanent institution devoted to philosophical research and teaching, and the prototype of all Western universities. Plato Plato. Our Lists. View all online retailers Find local retailers. About the Authors Plato Plato Plato c.
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