I have an advanced degree in philosophy and ethics, so I feel compelled to correct a few things here. The Republic is not a dialogue between Plato and Socrates. It is, rather, Plato using Socrates as a character through which he expresses his own philosophies. The book is also not a record Plato kept of Socrates' dialogues. It's rather widely accepted that Plato's critiques of democracy found within The Republic were influenced, in part, by the death of his mentor, Socrates, at the hands of a democracy.
These things said, this book reveals a great many problems that can arise in attempting to build the best society, not the least of which is that it can only be done when the individual builds that society first within him or herself. It's a foundational piece of literature that should be read early and revisited often to fully grasp the weight of the work. In today's society, it may be more important than ever that we look to these critiques of democracy so that we may attempt avoid the pitfalls Plato described.
Plato's Republic is the classic of classics. Alfred North Whitehead wrote that the easiest characterization of the history of Western philosophy is that it consists in a series of footnotes to Plato. And that is completely true. Unless the student has mastered the arguments in the Republic they are not truly doing philosophy. The Republic may be the most important book ever written, second only to the Bible.
Being in conversation with this timeless classic is a journey that sustains the soul through the intellectual wastelands and deserts of modern life.
The central topic of the Republic is justice. One of the Socratic dialogues, the old philosopher divides the concept of justice into the justice of the individual and the justice of the society (in ancient Greek terms, the polis, or the city). Justice in the individual consists in the different components of the personality working together in harmonious unity, while justice in society consists in all classes and stratas fulfilling their functions and roles harmoniously and excellently.
Don't wait any longer. Read this now.
Plato and Socrates have been captured in debating about humankind and how we should live. This book if nothing else should stir questions in ones mind. The thoughts and teachings are only as good as you apply it.
The Republic is a series of debates that were recorded by Plato. Those debates are debates that include Socrates and Plato debating about Utopia (the perfect city), Socrates and a group of people discussing what is true justice, beauty, knowledge... It might not be a story or an adventure, but the knowledge and wisdom that this book holds is fantastic, it is a keystone and a treasure that has kept us moving forward and making us think in a different way. Reading the debates and discussions that two of the wisest had is something that doesn't happen often.
- @L of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
Read Marcus Aurelius.
If you absolutely must, then fine read Aristotle.
Don't bother with Plato.
better to drink Hemlock than read the intellectually dishonest trite sophistry.
"The 20th century philosopher A.N. Whitehead famously said that "the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato," and among Plato's works, the Republic stands out as the most all–encompassing: Plato addresses just about every area of philosophy. It's all here: justice, poetry and art, education, religion, the soul, pleasure, desire, love, sex, marriage, death, mathematics, truth, knowledge, appearance vs. reality, political and social systems, and more." Annotation by Professor Paul Hovda. (ca. 380 B.C.)
This book is a prescription for tyranny.
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