Understanding Plato’s Republic is an accessible introduction to the concepts of justice that inform Plato’s Republic, elucidating the ancient philosopher's main argument that we would be better off leading just lives rather than unjust ones Provides a much needed up to date discussion of The Republic's fundamental ideas and Plato's main argument Discusses the unity and coherence of The Republic as a whole Written in a lively style, informed by over 50 years of teaching experience Reveals rich insights into a timeless classic that holds remarkable relevance to the modern world
Preface xi 1 Introduction: The Style, Main Argument, and Basic Ideas of the Republic 1 1 The Dialogue Style and the Characters 2 2 The Main Argument and Plot of the Republic 5 3 The Fundamental Ideas of the Republic 8 2 Is Justice the Interest of the Rulers? Is It Good for Us? The Challenge of Thrasymachus 15 1 Why does Thrasymachus Think that Justice is the Interest of the Rulers? 16 2 Socrates’ Refutations of Thrasymachus’ Premises 19 3 Is [the] Justice [of Thrasymachus] Good for Me? 24 4 Thrasymachus Unconvinced, Socrates Dissatisfied. What Has Gone Wrong? 31 3 Justice by Agreement. Is It Good Enough? The Challenge of Plato’s Brothers 36 1 What is Justice? Glaucon’s Theory of a Social Contract 36 2 Glaucon and Thrasymachus on what Justice is: Results and Methods 41 3 Why should I be Just? 44 4 What is a Just Society? Plato’s own Social Ideal 55 1 What is Justice? Socrates Divides the Question 55 2 What is a Just Society? The Problem of Justice, and How Socrates Tries to Solve It 59 3 The Functional Theory of Good and Virtue 63 4 Plato’s Defi nitions of Justice and the other Virtues of his Completely Good City 67 5 Return to Plato’s Methods for Discovering Justice 71 5 Plato’s Ideal of a Just and Good Person 76 1 The Analogy between a Just City and a Just Soul 77 2 Plato’s Analysis of the Human Psyche 79 3 Parts of the Human Psyche: Faculties or Agents? 81 4 Just, Temperate, Brave, and Wise Human Souls 89 5 Plato’s Ideal of Rationality 93 6 The Virtues and Vices of the City-soul Analogy 100 6 The Equality of Women: Plato’s Blindfold 107 1 The Blindfold of Justice 107 2 Does Plato’s Justice wear a Blindfold? 109 3 The Gender Blindfold of Plato’s Justice 110 4 Was Plato an Advocate of Women’s Rights? Was He a Feminist? 114 7 Knowledge and Governing Well: Opinions and Knowledge, Forms and the Good 120 1 Ideals as Standards and their Approximations 120 2 The Paradox of the Philosopher-king: Knowledge and Political Power 122 3 Knowledge and Opinions 124 4 Platonic Forms and Physical Particulars 127 5 Plato’s Theory of the Form of the Good 137 6 Knowledge of Good 143 7 How Elitist is Plato’s Completely Good City? 146 8 Plato’s Criticisms of Democracy and the Democratic Character 158 1 Political Equalities and Economic Inequalities 159 2 Platonic Knowledge and Democratic Ruling 165 3 Plato’s Criticisms of Democratic Freedoms 170 4 Plato’s Democratic Character: Freedom and Equality in the Human Psyche 174 5 Plato’s Criticisms of his Democratic Character 177 9 Plato’s Defense of his Social and Psychic Justice 187 1 Is Plato’s Social Justice Justice at all? 189 2 Is Plato’s Political Justice Better for me than the Justice of Thrasymachus or the Justice of Plato’s Brothers? 192 3 Is Plato’s Political Justice Good for All the Citizens? 194 4 Plato’s Defense of his Just Person: The Sachs Problem 202 5 The Defense of Justice as the Health of the Soul 208 6 The Defense of the Just Life as the Pleasantest 212 Bibliography 220 Index 227
"Santas's long career in philosophy and in the classroom has resulted in a wonderful new reading of Plato's Republic. The analysis is close, fresh, and revealing, and at the same time remarkably concise . . . Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty." (Choice, 1July 2011) Santas's critical engagement with the text and emphasis on getting the reader involved in its debates and arguments…is the real strength of this book. Someone who reads it will come away with an appreciation for the continued relevance and value of the arguments in the Republic, and that is, in my mind, something very good indeed. Michelle Jenkins, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, August 27 2011
Gerasimos Santas is Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, at the University of California, Irvine. He has taught courses in Ancient Greek Philosophy, Plato's Republic, and Ehics for fifty years in American Colleges and Universities. He is author of Socrates (1979), Plato and Freud (1988), Goodness and Justice (2001), and editor of The Blackwell Guide to Plato's Republic (2006).
Plato is one of the most influential authors in the history of ideas and his best known work, The Republic -- written in his familiar form of dialogue -- is widely regarded as a cornerstone of Western philosophy. Understanding Plato’s Republic provides readers with an accessible introduction to the concepts of justice that inform Plato’s masterwork, carefully explicating his main argument that we would be better off leading just lives rather than unjust ones. The book examines the basic ideas Plato uses to build up his theory of justice: his theories of forms, function and virtue; his psychology; his analogy between just society and a just person; and the knowledge of good that Plato deemed necessary for governing well. Also discussed are consequences of Plato's theory of justice, such as the equality of women and his criticisms of democracy. The book concludes with an insightful discussion of Plato’s passionate defense of his ideals of a good and just society and a just person. Informed by over 50 years of teaching experience, Santas’ lively and engaging writing style makes The Republic accessible to all while remaining faithful to dialogue’s philosophical complexity. Understanding Plato's Republic reveals rich insights into a timeless classic that holds remarkable relevance to the modern world.
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