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A Guide to Plato's Republic

Daryl H. Rice

Publication Date - September 1997

ISBN: 9780195112849

160 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock


A Guide to Plato's Republic provides an integral interpretation of the Republic which is accessible even to readers approaching Plato's masterwork for the first time. Written at a level understandable to undergraduates, it is ideal for students and other readers who have little or no background in philosophy or political theory. Rice anticipates their inevitable reactions to the Republic and treats them seriously, opening the way to an appreciation of the complexities of the text without oversimplifying it.
While many books on the Republic never stray far from explicating Plato's text, this work contrasts Plato's responses to perennial issues in philosophy and political theory with those of several key subsequent thinkers. It uses engaging examples to show the continuing relevance of Plato's arguments and introduces some basic vocabulary of philosophy and political theory, going beyond terse dictionary definitions by illustrating what technical terms mean in the context of Plato's work.
The author's interpretative posture is appreciative but respectfully critical of Plato's vision. Stressing the relationship between Plato's politics and metaphysics, Rice argues that Plato's reluctance to accept the reality and consequences of finitude accounts for much of what many readers find objectionable in his politics.
Lively, relatively brief, and designed to provoke discussion in the classroom, A Guide to Plato's Republic is ideal for political theory and introduction to philosophy courses as well as other courses that assign the Republic as a primary text.

About the Author(s)

Daryl Rice is Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he teaches political theory and the history of ideas. He has published numerous articles on philosophers ranging from Plato to Rousseau, Whitehead, and Sartre.

Table of Contents

    Guide to Pronunciation
    1. Philosophy and Ordinary Life (Reading in the Republic: Book I)
    Plato's Dialogical Style
    The Sociology of Knowledge and Questioning Authority
    Appearance and Reality and Questioning Common Sense
    Normative Philosophy Versus Empirical Enquiry
    Absolute Philosophy Versus Relative Convention
    The Normative/Empirical Distinction in a Moralized Cosmos
    Plato's Diaglogical Style Reconsidered
    Some Initial Reservations
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    2. Politics and the Ideal City (Reading in the Republic: Books II-V)
    Plato Versus Hobbes on Justice and Happiness
    The Construction and Rationale of the Ideal City
    Art and Censorship
    The Living Conditions of the Guardians
    Useful Falsehoods
    Force in the City and Soul
    Plato Versus Hobbes on Substantive and Instrumental Reason
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    3. Plato's Metaphysics (Reading in the Republic: Books VI-VII)
    Metaphysics, Ontology, and Epistemology
    The Divided Line as an Overview of Plato's Metaphysics
    Explaining Plato's Metaphysics on its Own Terms
    The Doctrine of the Forms--Realism Versus Nominalism
    Dialectic and the Form of God
    Problems in Plato's Metaphysics Interpreted on its Own Terms
    Interpreting Plato's Metaphysics from Other Points of View--Acknowledging Finitude
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    4. Plato's Metaphysics and Imperfect Justice (Reading in the Republic : Books VIII-X)
    The Types of Imperfect Justice
    Ranking the Types
    Proofs that Most Just Person is Happiest
    Critique of the Proofs
    The Genesis of Imperfection
    Accounts of Imperfection in Subsequent Philosophy and Political Theory
    Art Versus Philosophy Revisited and the Myth of Er
    Suggestions for Furhter Reading
    5. Politics in the Face of Finitude (Reading in the Republic: Review of Book VIII)
    Aristocracy, Timocracy, Oligarchy, and Tyranny Rejected
    Democracy by Default
    Another View--Interpreting Plato as a Proponent of Democracy
    Appropriating Plato's Criticism of Democracy
    Democracy and Philosophy
    Suggestions for Further Reading
    Selecting Bibliography