The Republic by Plato


The Republic is the first and arguably the greatest work on political philosophy.  (Alfred North Whitehead famously stated that all Western philosophy was a footnote to Plato.)  In it Socrates, Plato’s teacher, presents the case for the good life and the perfectly administered society.  (Albeit, some writers, like Karl Popper, have called it a blueprint for a closed or authoritarian society.)  Plato’s writing is poetical, and the book is replete with timeless images:  the allegory of the cave, philosopher kings, and the ring of Gyges (the inspiration for Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings), among others.  We will use the translation by C. D. C. Reeve (Hackett paperback).

Weekly Topics

Week 1:  Book I: Theories of Justice

Week 2:  Book II:  Justice in the city; guardians and their education

Week 3:  Book III:  More on education

Week 4:  Book IV:  City-soul analogy

Week 5:  Book V:  More on the city

Week 6:  Book VI:  Philosopher kings

Week 7:  Book VII:  Allegory of the cave and role of education

Week 8:  Book VIII:  Four unjust constitutions

Week 9:  Book IX:  Tyranny

Week 10:  Book X:  Rejection of imitative arts


The Republic, C. D. C. Reeve, translator (Hackett paperback)