Plato Republic by G.M.A. GrubeThis is a review of Plato, Republic, translated by Grube and revised by Reeve, published on Hackett.
I give this book five stars for its historical importance as well as the easy-to-read translation. Anyone interested in philosophy, political theory, or the history of ideas should read this work. That is not to say that everyone should agree with Socrates as presented by Plato. Some of the mans ideas are awful. Yet people should be aware of such an influential work.
Socrates is trying to answer the question of what makes a just person. He suggests that instead of thinking about an individual, it might be easier to imagine a just city first. He suggests that a just city is a well-ordered one. It will be ruled by philosopher-kings, protected by an auxiliary of guardians, and supported by a majority of laborers. (Im tempted to call them proles, as they are called in Orwells 1984.) Much of the book is devoted to how the philosopher-kings should be educated. Socrates/Plato thinks that this elite class of people should be protected from stories and music that might be destructive, should be physically and mentally prepared, and should put in many years of public service before ascending to the highest ranks. This race of philosopher-king should be carefully bred and raised. It seems that in order to create a just city, it must be a meticulously ordered society, and this requires a bit of totalitarian rule. Its a society in which everyone knows there place and does there job. Likewise, a just person is able to rule the various elements of his person (intellect, reason, and appetite).
The book has enough notes and a decent introduction, though Im sure other editions have more of such helps. The only downside is that at some points its difficult to tell who is speaking, Socrates or one of his interlocutors.
The other class had a single textbook with excerpts. So, the Republic rather, "On Society". Plato was born c. Pericles, famous ruler of Athens during its golden age, was Plato's stepfather. Plato was well educated and studied under Socrates, with whom he developed a close friendship. When Socrates was publically executed in B. Plato extended Socrates's inquiries to his students, one of the most famous being Aristotle.
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C.D.C. Reeve has taken the excellent Grube translation and, without sacrificing accuracy, rendered it into a vivid and contemporary style. It is intensity that is.
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