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La república by Plató

La república (edition 1966)

by Plató, Juan A. Bergua (Translator), Juan A. Bergua (Introduction)

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12,69062187 (3.84)167
Title:La república
Other authors:Juan A. Bergua (Translator), Juan A. Bergua (Introduction)
Info:Madrid : Clásicos Bergua, 1966
Collections:Your library, Llibres en castellà
Tags:Ciències polítiques, Ensenyament, Filosofia

Work details

The Republic by Plato (Author)

  1. 70
    Politics by Aristotle (Voracious_Reader)
  2. 50
    Political Writings by John Locke (Voracious_Reader)
  3. 40
    The Analects of Confucius by Confucius (sturlington)
    sturlington: Both are great works of ancient philosophy.
  4. 41
    The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli (caflores)
  5. 10
    Utopia by Thomas More (StevenTX)
  6. 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.

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Plato's Republic is one of the world's most famous thought experiments. It is usually described as a treatise on justice in an ideal State, and while that is not incorrect, it is not the whole story. While the work is certainly of interest to students of philosophy and political science, it might also appeal to anyone interested in psychology and literature in general.

The first thing one notices right off the bat is what a great writer Plato is. This great work of philosophy is presented as a conversation — seemingly without end! — which like other dialogues of Plato, engages the reader and draws him or her in with a surprising degree of wit and flare. We who are not philosophers per se might tend to think of philosophy as a dry and lifeless subject, but in Plato's hands, it can be quite fascinating and certainly never dull.

The Republic is not an easy place to begin with Plato because of its sheer length and the scope of ideas it covers, but with some patience it is not an entirely bad place to begin, either.

For whatever reason, reading ancient Greek literature in English translation seems to be fraught with difficulties. It may be because of the limited vocabulary available within the ancient language as compared to a polyglot language such as English with its agglomeration of words from literally everywhere. But word choice can make a huge difference in the tone and feel of the material.

For example, as mentioned above, most modern translations of the Republic are concerned with "justice" in an ideal "state," which sounds rather remote, abstract and high-minded, leaving a perception of difficulty. Robin Waterfield has tried to be more precise in his translation. The Greek word dikaiosunē is usually translated as "justice," but Waterfield says the word "refers to something which encompasses all the various virtues and is almost synonymous with 'virtue' in general." In his translation the Republic is about "morality — what it is and how it fulfils one's life as a human being." Also, instead of "state," Waterfield has substituted the word "community." In combination, the idea of morality in the community brings the whole discussion down to a more personal level. I appreciated the change and the more personal tone of the entire work.

At any rate, philosophy aside because I am singularly unqualified to utter even platitudes on the subject, I enjoyed reading Plato's Republic. It was a much different book than I was expecting. Of course, having recently read Eric Havelock's [Preface to Plato], I was reading with an agenda — namely, to see whether his assessment of the Republic was correct, and while I appreciate his perspective, I feel his agenda got in the way of presenting a complete picture.

I also came away from this reading believing that many critics and commentators attribute more dogmatism to Plato than was really intended. The notion that he, through his mouthpiece Socrates, was setting up an ideal state, a sort of communist utopia, is an overstatement. While he did conclude that in his so-called ideal state the rulers would have no personal property and that they would be philosopher kings (and by implication queens), he also admitted many times throughout the discussion that "the community we've just been founding and describing can't be accommodated anywhere in the world, and therefore it rests at the level of ideas." Thus my initial suggestion that the Republic is a thought experiment, and the ideal state or community is a notion to be thought about and discussed but never to be realized. Something called "human nature" will prevent anything like it ever working in the real world. The ideal was created as a paradigm within which to explore the subject of whether a just or moral person is happier than an injust or immoral person, and incidentally, to try to define the nature of goodness. Socrates was only able to come up with various allegories to illustrate his points about what constitutes goodness, but he never delivered a definition as such.

But that is in the nature of Plato's dialogues, which consist of many questions and few definitive answers. The pleasure in reading comes from the plethora of ideas that arise out of the conversations between Socrates and his interlocutors.

In addition to the political level, Plato constantly reminds us that "We should bear in mind the equivalence of the community and the individual," and that a just society reflects the just or moral character of the individuals of whom it consists. What works at the community level he also tries to apply to the individual, not always successfully. The success of the community is dependent upon the education of its people and adherence to its customs. Education as discussed in the Republic applies to the rulers or "guardians," but in an open democratic society it must apply to everyone.

The Republic is not by any means a quick read, and the more time spent, the more one will get out of it. Robin Waterfield's translation in the Oxford World Classics series is excellent in addition for its introduction and extensive notes which help to guide one through the many digressions and to pinpoint the salient ideas. ( )
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» Add other authors (114 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
PlatoAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cornford, Francis MacdonaldTranslatormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Platomain authorall editionsconfirmed
Clarendon PressPublishersecondary 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
Waterfield, RobinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whewell, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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]
...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)
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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).
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:47:00 -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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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