THIS BOOK PROVIDES a clear, lively and highly readable introduction to the main themes of Plato's Republic. It covers Plato's social and political thought, his moral philosophy, his epistemology and metaphysics, and his philosophy of art and literature. Plato's theories in all these areas are presented in concise and straightforward terms. They are located in the context of the views of subsequent philosophers and critically assessed in the light of current debates. The contemporary significance of Plato's ideas is emphasized throughout.Lucid and thought-provoking, this book succeeds in making a broad range of fundamental philosophical ideas widely accessible. It provides an ideal introduction to the Republic for students in courses in philosophy, political and social thought, classical studies, religious studies, literary theory, etc., as well as for the general reader.
This book is designed for three classes of people: Beginners who want an introduction to philosophy; Those who have already had an introduction to philosophy and who would like to see it in action now applied to a great book written by a great philosophy, but who have never read Plato's Republic, the most famous and influential philosophy book ever written; Those who have read Plato's Republic before but did not understand its deepest significance. Why is Plato the best introduction to philosophy? Peter Kreeft has taught philosophy for over 50 years, including one section of a course for beginners every semester. He has tried just about everything possible, and a few new things that are impossible. He has experimented with every one of the many alternative methods available for teaching beginners. (He has A.D.D., so he easily gets bored and likes to try new things all the time.) But he has never found anything nearly as successful as Plato. Plato is the best writer in the history of philosophy. Most philosophers are dull, undramatic, abstract writers. (There are a few other exceptions besides Plato: Augustine, Pascal, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard.) But Plato wrote dramatic dialogues, in which Socrates, his famous teacher, interacts with a great variety of fools. These dialogues are like intellectual swordfights, and even though you know Socrates is going to win, they are exciting because you see his ideas come alive, like a sword in the handoff a master. Plato is a great dramatist, a great poet, and a great psychologist as well as a great philosopher. Nobody else who ever lived combined those four talents as well as Plato did. Apprenticeship to a great master is the best way to learn any art. The student will understand what philosophy is better by watching a master do it than by reading abstract definitions of it from a second-rate philosopher, or by a mere scholar. Concrete examples are always the easiest way to learn things. Plato's dialogues are the world's first, and still the best, concrete example of philosophizing. Kreeft introduces his students to this love affair through a great matchmaker, Plato, who is a better teacher than the student will ever meet in the land of the living. In fact, Plato still is in the land of the living. He's still alive and kicking in his dialogues. He rubs off on those who are wise and humble enough to become a student.
Reading the Republic without reference to the less familiar Laws can lead to a distorted view of Plato's political theory. In the Republic the philosopher describes his ideal city; in his last and longest work he deals with the more detailed considerations involved in setting up a second-best 'practical utopia.' The relative neglect of the Laws has stemmed largely from the obscurity of its style and the apparent chaos of its organization so that, although good translations now exist, students of philosophy and political science still find the text inaccessible. This first full-length philosophical introduction to the Laws will therefore prove invaluable. The opening chapters describe the general character of the dialogue and set it in the context of Plato's political philosophy as a whole. Each of the remaining chapters deals with a single topic, ranging over material scattered through the text and so drawing together the threads of the argument in a stimulating and readily comprehensible way. Those topics include education, punishment, responsibility, religion, virtue and pleasure as well as political matters and law itself. Throughout, the author encourages the reader to think critically about Plato's ideas and to see their relevance to present-day philosophical debate. No knowledge of Greek is required and only a limited background in philosophy. Although aimed primarily at students, the book will also be of interest to more advanced readers since it provides for the first time a philosophical, as opposed to linguistic or historical, commentary on the Laws in English.
Understanding Plato’s Republic is an accessible introduction to the concepts of justice that inform Plato’s Republic, elucidating the ancient philosopher's main argument that we would be better off leading just lives rather than unjust ones Provides a much needed up to date discussion of The Republic's fundamental ideas and Plato's main argument Discusses the unity and coherence of The Republic as a whole Written in a lively style, informed by over 50 years of teaching experience Reveals rich insights into a timeless classic that holds remarkable relevance to the modern world
An authoritative new translation of Plato's The Republic by Christopher Rowe, with notes and an introduction. 'We set about founding the best city we could, because we could be confident that if it was good we would find justice in it' The Republic, Plato's masterwork, was first enjoyed 2,400 years ago and remains one of the most widely-read books in the world: as a foundational work of Western philosophy, and for the richness of its ideas and virtuosity of its writing. Presented as a dialogue between Plato's teacher Socrates and various interlocutors, it is an exhortation to philosophy, inviting its readers to reflect on the choices to be made if we are to live the best life available to us. This complex, dynamic work creates a picture of an ideal society governed not by the desire for money, power or fame, but by philosophy, wisdom and justice. Christopher Rowe's accurate and enjoyable new translation remains faithful to the many variations of the Republic's tone, style and pace. This edition also contains a chronology, further reading, an outline of the work's main arguments and an introduction discussing Plato's relationship with Socrates, and the Republic's style, ideas and historical context.
Most commentaries on the Republic rush through Book I with embarrassment because the arguments of the participants, including Socrates, are specious. Beginning with Book II, the arguments are brilliant, so why did Plato write Book I? Lycos shows that the function of Book I is to attack the view that justice is external to the soul--external to the power humans have to render things good--and is merely instrumental to a good society. The dramatic situation in Book I presents justice as internal, requiring not laws, but discrimination and virtue. After this introduction, the rest of the Republic serves to sketch out what virtue is and how to practice discrimination. Plato on Justice and Power ends with some illuminating contrasts between this sense of virtue and that characteristic of our modern liberal politics which takes an external view of justice similar to the Athenians view at the time of Plato.
A step by step, passage by passage analysis of the complete Republic. White shows how the argument of the book is articulated, the important interconnections among its elements, and the coherent and carefully developed train of though which motivates its complex philosophical reasoning. In his extensive introduction, White describes Plato's aims, introduces the argument, and discusses the major philosophical and ethical theories embodied in the Republic. He then summarizes each of its ten books and provides substantial explanatory and interpretive notes.