HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Republic by Plato
Loading...

The Republic

by Plato

Other authors: Francis Macdonald Cornford (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
13,10770173 (3.85)187
  1. 80
    Politics by Aristotle (Voracious_Reader)
  2. 50
    Political Writings by John Locke (Voracious_Reader)
  3. 41
    The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli (caflores)
  4. 10
    Utopia by Thomas More (StevenTX)
  5. 215
    Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (original 1966 edition) by Ayn Rand (mcaution)
    mcaution: Tired of Philosopher-Kings? Think individual rights aren't practical? Find insights in Rand's essays, "Man's Rights" and "The Nature of Government" among many others.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 187 mentions

English (66)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
11
  OberlinSWAP | Aug 1, 2015 |
10
  OberlinSWAP | Aug 1, 2015 |
10
  OberlinSWAP | Jul 21, 2015 |
I think everybody had to read this book when I went to college---it was part of the required reading for many required courses. I'm being trite, but this is a really important book with philosophical concepts that lots of other people built on or disagreed with.
  raizel | Jun 26, 2015 |
After thinking through the collection of Plato's Dialogues and the overviews Socrates and Plato, I went after The Republic. I found it less entertaining and interesting than Dialogues but more thought-provoking.

Plato abhored democracy because people had wrong beliefs and would elect others with those wrong beliefs, leading the entire society astray. The Republic is the description of Plato's ideal city-state. Again, Socrates is the mouthpiece and scholars contend that Plato's later works reflect more of his ideas than his teacher's.

The first books deal with the concept of justice. What is justice? Is it simply the interest of the stronger party (ie: might makes right)? Are our ideas of justice simply put upon us by the laws our rulers create, or is there some universal definition? Thrasymachus contends that it does not pay to be just; the unjust get head in life. We may respect justice more, so perhaps it's best to seem just but actually be unjust (does Machiavelli echo this in The Prince?). While the argument ends in a stalemate, Socrates eventually circles around later in The Republic to make a case that it's better to be just.

Book III has interesting thoughts on God's character. Plato writes that God is unchangeable in nature, he cannot deceive or else that would mean he is not good. The Socratic/Platonic idea that the body is evil and troublesome (as seen in Plato's other dialogues) is elaborated on in this book. Socrates states that two lovers must not have sexual relations, because love is a pure feeling of truth whereas the body is base passions. While Socrates contends that the Greek cultural way of "love" between a man and a boy are vital to the boy's education, sexual intercourse must not enter into the relationship or it is not true love.

Socrates moves into discussing who the rulers should be in the ideal state. They should be made up of those containing "gold and silver," whose parents see them as born to rule. Bronze and iron children, on the other hand, will be the working class and these differences will be rigidly enforced. Rulers themselves must receive no wages or hold private property, lest they abuse power; they should depend on the working class for their food and edification.


Book IV elaborates on the lives of rulers. There can be physicians in the ideal state and these should work to kill off the weak and insane. Guardians should share wives and children in common.Socrates states that justice amounts to the health of the soul: a just soul is a soul with its parts arranged appropriately. Health is good, and it therefore pays to be just.

In Book V Plato writes that the interchanging of jobs among the classes is injustice, "the greatest of all evils." A free society of freely interacting agents with individual freedom is anathema to Plato.

In Book VI Plato writes that rulers/guardians' children should be separated and nursed away from the guardians from birth. Mothers should be brought in to nurse but never be allowed to know which child is theirs (sounds like Sparta?). This is because these children will engage in a life-long education and training to make them excellent rulers by their 50's.

Philosophers get corrupted by politics since there is much demand for their skills, and rulers are willing to pay a high price to have them. Philosophy is also useless where society disagrees with the "right" ideals as known only by phililosophers, therefore philosophers are useless.

Book VII is on education, the goal of which is to drag every man out of a "cave" of ignorance. The fact that a philosopher is reluctant to rule makes him the best ruler-- the best rulers rule out of duty and obligation instead of power and riches. Rulers should study mathematics from addition to geometry, not for commerce, but for making war and because learning about numbers upens up revelations to higher truth. Rulers will also study philosophical dialectic. Dialectic is powerful in the hands of those who misuse it, as many youths love to debate and stir up controversy rather than search out the truth.

Books VIII and IX deal with political economy. Socrates compares the various types of government: timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny. Timocracy is a society driven by honor and eventually the birth rate of the less-educated people outstrips that of the wise, so that civil war breaks out and leads to class divisions. Eventually, oligarchy arises where the right of rule is determined solely by wealth.Oligarchs fear the people and cannot make war because they dare not arm the masses to fight lest they be overthrown. The oligarchs' desire for more wealth leads to speculation, high-interest loans, and eventually greater concentration of power in the hands of a few. Those who lose their fortunes work with the masses to plot revenge.

Democracy, then, springs from oligarchy- eventually a revolution overthros the oligarchs and people are made equal. Plato writes that from the outside, democracy appears to be the most attractive society but it's flawed because so many people are pursuing their endless passions. Eventually, this insatiable appetite causes people to neglect proper governing (including breeding at the right times, so eventually the progeny become weaker and weaker). "Drones," which are beggars and criminals deceive both the rich and poor into class warfare. The rich respond by limiting the freedom of the poor, and revolt ensues in which the chief "drone" becomes the populist tyrant. He kills all the good, enslaves the others, constantly makes war, and lives a lavish lifestyle. He panders to the other drones and they become his bodyguards.

(Depressed yet?)

The tyrranical man is the least-happy of all the rulers, he is also the most unjust. Therefore, it pays to be just. Only philosophers can determine who is right among the truth-loving, honor-loving, and profit-loving types of people. The philosopher, of course, says seeking truth and denying the body and its various passions is the best life and leads to the best afterlife.

In Book X, Socrates regretfully bans potes from the ideal society. Poets imitate the worst part of people, appeal to the worst parts of men's souls.

Book XI deals with the immortality of the soul. Socrates' earlier dialogue with Phaedo summed up much of his beliefs, but here it is reiterated that bodily damage cannot harm the soul unless it can be proved that it makes the soul meaner, kinder, etc. In the afterlife, the just and unjust will be rewarded accordingly. Where good works outweigh the bad, there is reward. Sins must be long-punished according to severity. It's from this chapter that one might see how the Roman Catholic church eventually developed a doctrine of Purgatory, by incorporating the (erroneous) ideas of Plato.

This was a difficult book to work through but I'm glad I did it. It is one which I should probably read repeatedly, and really only in Greek if I want to get it. ( )
  justindtapp | Jun 3, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (114 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Platoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Waterfield, RobinTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cornford, Francis MacdonaldTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allan, D. J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Allen, Robert E.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baccou, RobertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blakewell, Charles M.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bloom, AllanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buchanan, ScottIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burnet, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Camarero, AntonioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, John LlewelynTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ferrari, G. R. F.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fraccaroli, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grayling, A. C.Forewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grou, Jean NicolasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grube, G.M.A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Itkonen-Kaila, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jowett, BenjaminTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Koolschijn, GerardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kredel, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Larson, RaymondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, DesmondIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, DesmondTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, Henry Desmond PritchardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindsay, Alexander D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Molegraaf, MarioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nehamas, AlexanderIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pabón, José ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reeve, Charles D. C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rouse, W. H. D.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott, William C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shorey, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spens, HarryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sterling, Richard W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vaughan, David J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warren, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whewell, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
I went down yesterday to the Piraeus with Glaucon, son of Ariston, that I might offer up my prayers to the goddess, and also because I wanted to see in what manner they would celebrate the festival, which was a new thing. (Benjamin Jowett's translation)
The main question to be answered in the Republic is: What does Justice mean, and how can it be realized in human society? [tr. Cornford]
Quotations
...justice is keeping what is properly one's own and doing one's own job. (Desmond Lee translation)
...the state whose prospective rulers come to their duties with least enthusiasm is bound to have the best and most tranquil government and the state whose rulers are eager to rule the worst. (Desmond Lee translation)
...no one who had not exceptional gifts could grow into a good man unless he were brought up from childhood in a good environment and trained in good habits. Democracy...sweeps all this away and doesn't mind what the habits and background of its politicians are; provided they profess themselves the people's friends, they are duly honored. (Desmond Lee translation)
...an excessive desire for liberty at the expense of everything else is what undermines democracy and leads to the demand for tyranny. (Desmond Lee translation)
...all the poets from Homer downwards have no grasp of truth but merely produce a superficial likeness of any subject they treat, including human excellence. (Desmond Lee translation)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
The original Ancient Greek title was 'Πολιτεία', though most editions in the original Classical Greek have the Latin title, 'Respublica'. Neither should be combined with this translated entry (Modern Greek editions should be here, however).
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0872201368, Paperback)

Since its publication in 1974, scholars throughout the humanities have adopted G M A Grube's masterful translation of the Republic as the edition of choice for their study and teaching of Plato's most influential work. In this brilliant revision, C D C Reeve furthers Grube's success both in preserving the subtlety of Plato's philosophical argument and in rendering the dialogue in lively, fluent English, that remains faithful to the original Greek. This revision includes a new introduction, index, and bibliography by Reeve.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:01 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A model for the ideal state includes discussions of the nature and application of justice, the role of the philosopher in society, the goals of education, and the effects of art upon character.

» see all 9 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.85)
0.5 4
1 31
1.5 6
2 94
2.5 21
3 350
3.5 57
4 509
4.5 47
5 454

Audible.com

4 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

» Publisher information page

Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300114516, 0300136374

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 99,039,098 books! | Top bar: Always visible