The Republic

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Overview

The Republic (Plato)

The Republic (Latin: De Republica) is a Socratic dialogue, written by Plato around 380 BC, concerning the definition of justice , the order and character of the just city-state and the just man, reason by which ancient readers used the name On Justice as an alternative title (not to be confused with the spurious dialogue also titled On Justice). The dramatic date of the dialogue has been much debated and though it must take place some time during the ...

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The Republic

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Overview

The Republic (Plato)

The Republic (Latin: De Republica) is a Socratic dialogue, written by Plato around 380 BC, concerning the definition of justice , the order and character of the just city-state and the just man, reason by which ancient readers used the name On Justice as an alternative title (not to be confused with the spurious dialogue also titled On Justice). The dramatic date of the dialogue has been much debated and though it must take place some time during the Peloponnesian War, "there would be jarring anachronisms if any of the candidate specific dates between 432 and 404 were assigned". It is Plato's best-known work and has proven to be one of the most intellectually and historically influential works of philosophy and political theory. In it, Socrates along with various Athenians and foreigners discuss the meaning of justice and examine whether or not the just man is happier than the unjust man by considering a series of different cities coming into existence "in speech", culminating in a city (Kallipolis) ruled by philosopher-kings; and by examining the nature of existing regimes. The participants also discuss the theory of forms, the immortality of the soul, and the roles of the philosopher and of poetry in society.

21st century

One of Plato's recurring, and seemingly logical techniques in the Republic is to refine the concept of justice with reference to various examples of greater or lesser injustice. However, in The Concept of Injustice, Eric Heinze challenges the assumption that 'justice' and 'injustice' form a mutually exclusive pair. Heinze argues that such an assumption traces not from strict deductive logic, but from the arbitrary etymology of the word 'injustice'. Heinze critiques what he calls 'classical' Western justice theory for having perpetuated that logical error, which first appears in Plato's Republic, but manifests throughout traditional political philosophy, in thinkers otherwise as different as Aristotle, Aquinas, Locke, Rousseau, Hegel and Marx.

Place in Plato's corpus

The Republic is generally placed in the middle period of Plato's dialogues-that is, it is believed to be written after the early period dialogues but before the late period dialogues. However, the distinction of this group from the early dialogues is not as clear as the distinction of the late dialogues from all the others. Nonetheless, Ritter, Arnim, and Baron-with their separate methodologies-all agreed that the Republic was well distinguished, along with Parmenides, Phaedrus and Theaetetus.

However, the first book of the Republic, which shares many features with earlier dialogues, is thought to have originally been written as a separate work, and then the remaining books were conjoined to it, perhaps with modifications to the original of the first book.

The most important of the Socratic dialogues, The Republic is concerned with the construction of an ideal commonwealth and thus is the earliest of utopias.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

C.D.C. Reeve has taken the excellent Grube translation and, without sacrificing accuracy, rendered it into a vivid and contemporary style. It is intensity that is often lost in translation, but not here. This is not just a matter of style. The Republic is full of brilliant thoughts, and one needs to preserve brilliance to capture them. In the cave of translations, Reeve’s revision of Grube's Republic is closest to the sun. --Jonathan Lear, University of Chicago

Reeve has reworked the Grube translation thoroughly, raising the level of philosophical accuracy and updating the language, all the while retaining--and indeed enhancing--the celebrated readability of the Grube original. For a long time to come, Grube-Reeve will deservedly be the first choice of scholars and students alike. --John Cooper, Princeton University

P.C. Kemeny
This superior translation has an engaging, constructive tone. For introductory students with little or no historical background with which to appreciate the nuances of Plato's Republic, Tschemplik clearly sets the historical context and identifies the characters.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781500711306
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/1/2014
  • Pages: 356
  • Sales rank: 653,852
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Plato ( 428/427 BC - 348/347 BC) was a philosopher in Classical Greece. He was also a mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science. In the words of A. N. Whitehead:

The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. I do not mean the systematic scheme of thought which scholars have doubtfully extracted from his writings. I allude to the wealth of general ideas scattered through them.

Plato's sophistication as a writer is evident in his Socratic dialogues; thirty-six dialogues and thirteen letters have been ascribed to him. Plato's writings have been published in several fashions; this has led to several conventions regarding the naming and referencing of Plato's texts. Plato's dialogues have been used to teach a range of subjects, including philosophy, logic, ethics, rhetoric, religion and mathematics. Plato is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy.

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Read an Excerpt


Socrates: I went down yesterday to Piraeus with Glaucon, Ariston’s son, to pray to the goddess, wanting at the same time also to see the way they were going to hold the festival, since they were now conducting it for the first time. The parade of the local residents seemed to me to be beautiful, while the one that the Thracians put on looked no less appropriate. And having prayed and having seen, we went off toward the city. Spotting us from a distance then as we headed home, Polemarchus, Cephalus’s son, ordered his slave to run and order us to wait for him. And grabbing me from behind by my cloak, the slave said “Polemarchus orders you to wait.” And I turned around and asked him where the man himself was. “He’s coming along from behind,” he said. “Just wait.” “Certainly we’ll wait” said Glaucon.
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Table of Contents

Preface and background to the Republic xiii

Introduction xxiii

Principal Dates xlvii

Current Opinions of Justice Refuted (Book 1) 1

Introductory Dialogue (Socrates and Cephalus, 328c-331d) 2

First Definition (Cephalus, 331a-d) 5

Refutation (332c-335d) 6

Third Definition (Thrasymachus, 338c-343a) 13

Refutation (339b-e) 14

Redefinition of Ruler (340d-341a) 15

Refutation (341c-343a) 16

New Argument (343a-348a) 18

Refutations of (a): i) 345b-348a) 20

Refutation of (b), 352d-354a 28

Conclusion (354a-c) 30

Justice Reexamined, in the State and in the Individual (Books 2-4) 31

Adeimantus (362d-367e) 35

The Problem Examined and Solved (368c-445e) 40

Second State of the State (372d-427c) 44

Elementary Education of the guardians (376c-415d) 48

Gymnastics (physical education), 403c-412b 73

Instilling and testing patriotism and leadership, 412c-415d 81

Living arrangements of guardians and auxiliaries (415d-427c) 85

Conclusion (427c-434d) 94

Wisdom = the knowledge of the guardians (428a-429a) 95

Courage = the auxiliaries’ opinion of “what is and is not to be feared” (429a-30c) 96

Temperance = agreement of all three classes about who should rule and be ruled (430d-432b) 97

Justice = each of the three classes “tending its own business” and not preempting the work of another (432b-434d) 99

Composition of the Soul (434d-441c) 101

Conclusion (441d-444e) 109

Degeneration Regimes and Souls, Interrupted (445b-449a) 113

Digression: The Best Regime and Men (Books 5-7) 114

Organization of the Best Regime (451c-461e) 116

Women and children will not be private possessions but common to all of the men. Marriage arrangements, eugenics (457c-461e) 122

The Superiority and Possibility of Such a City (462a-473e) 126

Excursus: regulations for warfare (466e-471c) 131

Such a city is not impossible (471e-473c) 136

Reminder that the best state is only a model, not completely realizable in practice (472b-473b). It is possible only if philosophers become kings or kings philosophers (473c-3), 138

The Best Men: Philosopher Kings (Guardians), Book 5, 474b-Book 7 139

The Philosophic Nature (485a-503e) 147

Higher Education of the Guardians (504a-535a) 165

The Simple of the Sun (506e-509b) 168

The Simile of the Divided Line (509d-511e) 171

The Simile of the Cave (514a-521b) 174

Curriculum (521c-535a) 181

Plane geometry, 526c-527c 186

Harmonics, 530d-531c 190

Selection of the Guardians (535a-540c) 195

Brief Excursus (540d-541b) 200

Degenerate Regimes and Souls, Resumed From Book 5 (Books 8 and 9) 201

Cause of Change or Decline in a State: Civil War (545c-547c) 203

Degenerate Regimes and Men, Described and Compared (547c-592b) 205

Oilgarchy (rule of the wealthy few) and the oligarchic man (550c-555b) 208

Democracy (rule of the people) and the democratic man (555b-562a) 213

Tyranny (dictatorship) and the tyrannical man (562a-580a) 220

The five types are judged for their goodness and happiness and ranked in the order in which they were presented: Aristocracy and the aristocratic man are the best and happiness; tyranny and the tyrant are the worst and most miserable (580a-588a) 237

Conclusion: The aristocrat is just, the tyrant unjust. Therefore justice makes a man happy, injustice makes him unhappy (588b-592b) 247

Denunciation of Imitative Poetry (Book 10, 595a-608b) 251

Imitative poetry appeals to the emotions rather than to the mind (602c-605c) 259

Imitative poetry deforms character (605c-608b) 263

Immortality and the Rewards of Justice (608b-End) 265

Rewards of Justice and Punishments of Injustice in This Life (612b-614a) 269

Rewards and Punishments After Death (614a-621d) 271

Appendix: The Spindle of Necessity 279

Bibliography 283

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2000

    Embarassment, anyone?

    Despite those outstandingly ignorant individuals who are so willingly embarass themselves, Plato's Republic is one of the most significant works produced in our human exsitence. What's even more unique about it is its broad scope and truth that can be revealed even in our lives today. Eveyone should read it. And for those who refuse to be embarassed again, read it one more time.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    Hi

    Test

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2014

    Hi

    Test

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 11, 2013

    The Republic was written by a philosopher named Plato in a Socra

    The Republic was written by a philosopher named Plato in a Socratic method around 380 BC. Plato starts off by discussing the definition of justice and the order and character of the just man in the city-state where he is from. He challenges what people think of Justice. He summarizes that Justice is the interest of the stronger when other people in the time period; and additionally onto today the majority of persons would argue that Justice is the equivalent to equalizing powers of the many social classes when in reality it drives a greater wedge into these classes. Plato writes down what Socrates deducts from multiple sources to answer questions to make the question more reasonable than what it started off to be. The argument/ debate is done in a dialogue. It is Plato's best-known work is proven to be one of the basis for philosophy and political theory.

    Additionally, Socrates and other Athenian and Greek philosophers discuss the meaning of justice and examine just man and unjust man by examining different societies in this time period and other places around the world. Plato along with all the other philosophers spread a theory of a perfect governing body/ administration that includes a city and an oligharchial (this is the term I have decided to use to suggest for Plato's Ideal Governing Administration) ruled the few intellectual philosophers and everything in the city should be revolved around intellect. He examined the techniques used in the existing regimes and discussed the advantages and disadvantages to each of them. The extensive list of philosophers included immortality of the soul and the roles of philosophers and other occupations in the societies mentioned. I would recommend this book to any philosphy major/ government officiates and intend that if regarded in close possession should intend to make the world a better place.

    Number of Remaining Characters:1587

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2009

    Good, but perhaps spend a bit more on a better version

    The book itself is good and this particular version is competitively priced, but just be aware that if you're buying this for a class, it has no becker numbers in the margins which make it a pain in the butt when the whole class isn't using the same book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2003

    Good Luck.

    First Off, Plato is the Greek Moses. To all us Goyim, or heathens, (i.e.) anything other then Jew:) This be our prophet. Some body on this short list said, '..this book is thought provoking', O.K. .... This whole book is THOUGHT provoking. The Whole Book is about thought or IDEAS!!! That other guy who said 'every university sudent should read'; That quote applies to you. For those who never read anything about Plato, or know nothing, about his Philosophy, or what Philosophy means. This is where it starts. This is where you awake, and see a brief flicker of light. What I mean is, your present conceptions or Justice, or the Good, will be shattered. If I am stronger then my brother, I can rule over him, and that is right and just! wrong. It is good to be rich so that I may bang every women that still breathes air. wrong. and much more. Much, much more awaits you in this book:)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2002

    the gratest book ever

    see headline

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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