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Plato's 'Republic': An Introduction

(1 review)

Sean McAleer, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Copyright Year: 2020

ISBN 13: 9781800640559

Publisher: Open Book Publishers

Language: English

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Reviewed by Jonathan Buttaci, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America on 2/26/21

The book is a comprehensive companion to the Republic, with a helpful introduction to the main questions and structure of Plato's masterpiece. It struck me that every argument of the Republic receives some consideration, and the most important... read more

Table of Contents

  • 1. Fathers and Sons 
  • 2. Taming the Beast: Socrates versus Thrasymachus 
  • 3. A Fresh Start 
  • 4. Blueprints for a Platonic Utopia: Education and Culture 
  • 5. Starting to Answer the First Question: The Political Virtues 
  • 6. The Republic’s First Question Answered at Last: Personal Justice
  • 7. Questions about the Idea Polis: The Three Waves 
  • 8. Surfing the Third Wave: Plato’s Metaphysical Elevator, the Powers Argument, and the Infallibility of Knowledge
  • 9. The Philosopher’s Virtues 
  • 10. Metaphors to Think by: The Sun and Divided Line Analogies
  • 11. The Allegory of the Cave 
  • 12. The Decline and Fall of the Ideal City-Soul
  • 13. The Republic’s Second Question Answered: Three and a Half Arguments that the Just Life is Happier
  • 14. Are We There Yet? Tying up Loose Ends in Book X

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About the Book

This book is a lucid and accessible companion to Plato’s Republic, throwing light upon the text’s arguments and main themes, placing them in the wider context of the text’s structure. In its illumination of the philosophical ideas underpinning the work, it provides readers with an understanding and appreciation of the complexity and literary artistry of Plato’s Republic. McAleer not only unpacks the key overarching questions of the text – What is justice? And Is a just life happier than an unjust life? – but also highlights some fascinating, overlooked passages which contribute to our understanding of Plato’s philosophical thought.

Plato’s 'Republic': An Introduction offers a rigorous and thought-provoking analysis of the text, helping readers navigate one of the world’s most influential works of philosophy and political theory. With its approachable tone and clear presentation, it constitutes a welcome contribution to the field, and will be an indispensable resource for philosophy students and teachers, as well as general readers new to, or returning to, the text.

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Sean McAleer, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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