THE REPUBLIC OF PLATO
The ‘Republic’ is the most famous and perhaps also the most important philosophical treatise to date, which Plato wrote almost 2,500 years ago. This work is the longest of Plato’s works with the exception of the ‘Laws‘. Plato wrote his masterpiece in the Socratic Dialogue genre around 380BC. Countless scholars have studied and debated this masterpiece of philosophy. And many translators provided their personal interpretation and translated the book from Greek.
” It is the earliest surviving systematic utopia in Europe’s history. It also contains the first theory of psychology, the first examination of the origins of government, the first proposals for educational reform, and the first theoretical aesthetics” – Nickolas, Pappas. The Routledge Guidebook to Plato’s Republic. New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Most scholars and translators have divided The Republic into ten books. The content of the writings is attributed to the knowledge Plato acquired from his teacher Socrates. Many scholars consider The Republic to be the first book on political science or government. The main character in Plato’s dialogue is Socrates.
The Republic deals with many important issues such as justice, the order, and character of the just city-state, and the just man. In the book, a group decides to create an imaginary city to define what justice would look like. They divide the imaginary city into three classes of people. The classes include the Rulers who have an understanding of right and wrong, the Guardians who protect the city and care for its people, and the Producers who provide goods and services for the people.
“…The dialogue explores two central questions. The first question is “what is justice?” Socrates addresses this question both in terms of political communities and in terms of the individual person or soul. He does this to address the second and driving question of the dialogue: “is the just person happier than the unjust person?” or “what is the relation of justice to happiness?…” excerpt from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
By reading Plato’s Republic, we get a glimpse of the first utopia, which came long before Thomas Moore‘s “Utopia“.
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The main translations of the Republic into the English language are:
The Republic of Plato: Second Edition by Alan Bloom 1991.
The Republic by Benjamin Jowett.
Also, read the related Blog posts as follows: Plato’s Academia, Plato and Justice, Plato’s Duality, Plato’s Imitation Theory, The Republic Lead subjects, Plato’s Regimes, Art as Imitation, Duality in Plato’s Republic, Plato and Art, Dystopia Connotations, Utopia Connotations, What is Utopia, Who was Plato, Plato’s Visual Utopia book
Featured image “Field of Dreams” illustration by the author and artist Daniel Heller.