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1 Burnside Philosophy- General

The Republic (Dover Thrift Editions)

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The Republic (Dover Thrift Editions) Cover

ISBN13: 9780486411217
ISBN10: 0486411214
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Often ranked as the greatest of Plato's many remarkable writings, this celebrated philosophical work of the fourth century BC contemplates the elements of an ideal state, serving as the forerunner for such other classics of political thought as Cicero's De Republica, St. Augustine's City of God, and Thomas More's Utopia.

Written in the form of a dialog in which Socrates questions his students and fellow citizens, The Republic concerns itself chiefly with the question, "What is justice?" as well as Plato's theory of ideas and his conception of the philosopher's role in society. To explore the latter, he invents the allegory of the cave to illustrate his notion that ordinary men are like prisoners in a cave, observing only the shadows of things, while philosophers are those who venture outside the cave and see things as they really are, and whose task it is to return to the cave and tell the truth about what they have seen. This dynamic metaphor expresses at once the eternal conflict between the world of the senses (the cave) and the world of ideas (the world outside the cave), and the philosopher's role as mediator between the two.

High school and college students, as well as lovers of classical literature and philosophy, will welcome this handsome and inexpensive edition of an immortal work. It appears here in the fine translation by the English classicist Benjamin Jowett.

Synopsis:

Influential philosophical treatise of 4th century BC chiefly concerns the idea of justice, plus Platonic theories of ideas, criticism of poetry, philosopher's role. Source of the cave myth. Jowett translation.

Synopsis:

Influential philosophical treatise of fourth century b.c. chiefly concerns the idea of justice, plus Platonic theories of ideas, criticism of poetry, philosopher's role. Source of the cave myth. Jowett translation.

Synopsis:

Famous philosophical treatise of the fourth century b.c. concerns itself chiefly with the idea of justice, as well as such Platonic theories as that of ideas, the criticism of poetry, and the philosopher’s role. Source of the famous cave myth and prototype for other imaginary commonwealths, in

About the Author

Plato ranks among the most familiar ancient philosophers, along with his teacher, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle. In addition to writing philosophical dialogues — used to teach logic, ethics, rhetoric, religion, and mathematics as well as philosophy — he founded Athens' Academy, the Western world's first institution of higher learning.

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Rick Vigorous, November 6, 2014 (view all comments by Rick Vigorous)
This book probably has as much claim as any other to being the foundational text of Western philosophy. At its broadest level, it is an attempt to answer two main questions, which turn out to be related: (i) How should a person live? And (ii) how should an ideal state function? Once these have been settled, we get some discussion about ideal forms and Plato's thoughts on the nature of reality.

Like most of Plato's works, the format is a dialogue between Socrates and some other Athenians. Much of the dialogue is a search for a definition of justice. The main part is between Socrates and two very bright and promising young men. These young men will be the future leaders of Athens, so Socrates has an interest in educating them well. The young men challenge Socrates to convince them that it is worthwhile to pursue a just life even under the most challenging of circumstances. Suppose that you’re a just man who is persecuted by others for his just character (as Socrates actually was). Why would this possibly be better than being an unjust man who could lie and steal to get whatever he wants, even while maintaining the reputation of a just man (a scenario that Machiavelli might have favored)? Socrates proceeds by talking about politics and the ideal state, saying that if they can understand what justice means for the state, then they should be able to understand what justice means for an individual. This construction of the ideal state is what I mostly remember the Republic being about from having read the book a decade ago, and I was surprised to be reminded that all of this is somewhat secondary and incidental, and that it’s the individual that Plato and Socrates are really trying to address.

Plato’s Republic is a far cry from many modern and liberal ideas of how a state should be run. He wants elites to rule rather than having a democracy. (It was a democratic mob, after all, that would later put Socrates to death.) He wants fix the social order with a “noble lie,” by telling everyone that the gods chose them at birth to be bronze (working class), silver (warrior class), or gold (a philosopher king), and that it is their duty to accept this fate without trying to change it. He thinks that reading Homer teaches the youth bad morals, and wants to censor what they’re allowed to read. There are also some welcome surprises, though, from a modern viewpoint. For example, Plato turns out to be a feminist, reasoning that since women are equipped with the same sorts of minds as men, they should be able to take on the same roles in society.

Surprisingly, considering the tendency of many of Plato's earlier dialogues to end at an impasse, we eventually get an answer to the question of what justice is--both for the Republic and for the man--around the middle of the dialogue: courage, moderation, and wisdom are its three components. Justice is to the soul what health is to the body.

The latter part of the book focuses on the stratification of reality as Plato saw it. At the lowest level are images such as shadows and sculptures, which are just a reflection of something existing in the real world. At the next highest level are the objects that we see around us. For the most part they could be taken as really existing, but don’t necessarily comprise the ultimate reality. (This is something that we take for granted given modern science, but Socrates didn’t have modern science to explain phenomena like mirages in the desert or pencils appearing to bend in water, so what was real and what was not seems to have been treated with more skepticism back in his day.) At the highest level of reality is the realm of Platonic ideals (or “forms”). This is the realm of pure thought, where the philosopher can conceive of pure ideas such as Square or Justice, to which all similarly-named things in the physical world are merely approximations. This is all illustrated memorably in the allegory of the cave.

Between providing theories about how the individual should live, how the state should be run, and the ultimate nature of reality, Plato's Republic gives the reader much to think about. In short, if you're only going to read one book of ancient Greek philosophy, then the Republic should probably be it.
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panagiota-petra0, November 28, 2009 (view all comments by panagiota-petra0)
one of the best books not only of plato but also of all philosophers in 4 century B.C. very pleasant to read with plenty of myths, the most important myths of plato's philosophy, like the myth of the cave e.t.c. in this book plato express a lot of his thoughts about the right gonverment and the philosophers-kings/ gonverners.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780486411217
Other:
Plato
Author:
Jowett, Benjamin
Author:
Plato
Author:
Dover Thrift Editions
Publisher:
Dover Publications
Location:
Mineola, N.Y.
Subject:
General
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Political science
Subject:
Utopias
Subject:
History & Surveys - Ancient & Classical
Subject:
History & Theory - General
Subject:
Justice
Subject:
Philosophy : General
Subject:
Ancient, Classical & Medieval
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Dover Thrift Editions
Publication Date:
20000431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.19 in 0.5 lb
Age Level:
from 14

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Classics » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Leftist Studies
Humanities » Philosophy » General

The Republic (Dover Thrift Editions) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Dover Publications - English 9780486411217 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Influential philosophical treatise of 4th century BC chiefly concerns the idea of justice, plus Platonic theories of ideas, criticism of poetry, philosopher's role. Source of the cave myth. Jowett translation.
"Synopsis" by , Influential philosophical treatise of fourth century b.c. chiefly concerns the idea of justice, plus Platonic theories of ideas, criticism of poetry, philosopher's role. Source of the cave myth. Jowett translation.

"Synopsis" by , Famous philosophical treatise of the fourth century b.c. concerns itself chiefly with the idea of justice, as well as such Platonic theories as that of ideas, the criticism of poetry, and the philosopher’s role. Source of the famous cave myth and prototype for other imaginary commonwealths, in
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