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Plato's Republic (Books That Shook the World)

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  784 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Plato is perhaps the most significant philosopher who has ever lived and The Republic, composed in Athens in about 375 BC, is widely regarded as his most famous dialogue. Its discussion of the perfect city—and the perfect mind—laid the foundations for Western culture and, for over two thousand years, has been the cornerstone of Western philosophy. As the distinguished Camb ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published June 10th 2007 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,444)
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Nov 16, 2010 Trevor rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
I bumped into a friend at Readings in Carlton a week or so ago and she was holding this – there was a stack of them on their cheap table and my mate George had read it when it came out and had recommended it, so I picked it up to read on the tram ride home. At the time I was planning to do my final English assignment on something to do with Plato’s Cave and so it made sense to grab this. The book was okay, but not as good as I had hoped.

I have mixed feelings about Plato, particularly the Plato w

Having just read the Republic I read this hoping to gain a clearer but deeper understanding of the it. I rarely read secondary texts and went in with fairly high expectations, thinking that clarifying and expanding was kind of the point of secondary texts.

But this book seemed to be aimed at doing two other things: it seemed to want to point out how wrong Plato's conception of just about everything is, and also to offer a lighter alternative for people that didn't want to read the R
While I have read and discussed many of the dialogues of Plato, some of them multiple times, I continue to explore differing presentations and critiques of his ideas. Simon Blackburn's short study of Plato's Republic is an excellent place to review one of Plato's most famous dialogues and learn from him. He presents The Republic in a topical manner with sixteen chapters that range from a discussion of custom and convention to a brief essay on "The Farewell Myth". The latter, the Myth of Er from ...more
Jun 17, 2011 Thomas rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Blackburn is up front about his distaste for The Republic, so the editors of this series are the ones to blame for asking him to write it. It isn't so much a "biography" as a collection of critical opinions, all of which are justified to some extent but leave the reader wondering what the point of such a collection can be. There are some interesting historical tidbits scattered throughout the book, but overall not much enlightenment. On the positive side, Blackburn is an amusing writer and doesn ...more
Apr 25, 2013 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick summary: Very approachable text explaining why we still read a book from 2,500 years ago.

Blackburn's book is meant to explain the importance of "Republic" to philosophy and is not meant to explain the arguments of "Republic" itself. Many, many thinkers have produced scholarship in response to "Republic" and Blackburn traces some of the most interesting supporters and detractors throughout history. His approach pointed me in the direction of several scholars I might never have found otherwi
Nikki Mcgee
Dec 16, 2012 Nikki Mcgee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most readable and accessible introductions to Plato I have read in a long time.Whilst Blackburn is a Plato critic I think that he is a fair one and he is open about his stance from the beginning of the book. Hs use of modern day examples makes Plato come alive and seem particularly relevant to today. I have found in the past that commentaries on Plato make you feel relieved that you do not have to read the original, in this case I feel inspired to return to the original texts.

I have
Jan 01, 2012 Gareth rated it really liked it
Blackburn is a very readable philosopher - not a common thing. This book is very enjoyable and Blackburn does a great job of picking out the main points of interest in Plato's masterpiece and discussing them in an intelligent and easy style. However, it seems fair to say, he isn't particularly sympathetic to Plato, and this occasionally leads him into uncharitable readings, I think (e.g. the accusation that Plato denied the possibility of social mobility in his ideal society). Also, the book is ...more
Divya Moudgil
Jan 05, 2016 Divya Moudgil rated it it was amazing
The Republic by Plato is an amazing novel. It is not only easy to read but also extremely thought-provoking and attempts to answer some very fundamental questions. The Republic was written in a dialectic style. Instead of some dry textbook, the novel presents its ideas and concepts as part of a living conversation. This makes it extremely readable. The Republic is also very thought-provoking because Plato asks broad questions that apply to many disciplines - epistemology, metaphysics, psychology ...more
Mar 07, 2011 Nick rated it really liked it
I found this work on Plato's most reknown dialogue a very good analysis of The Republic. Simon Blackburn, a Professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge, walked me through the 10 chapters, moving boldly, pointing out aspects of essence and succeeding to keep my interest fully alive. I am not terribly fond of intricate philosophy myself, so - aside from his analysis/insights - I appreciated his style (direct) and clarity.
Aug 26, 2010 David rated it it was ok
Meh. I have no idea why the Atlantic Monthly Press would publish this. He starts out by saying he wasn't really enthusiastic about the project, then over the next 150 pages he does nothing to convince me otherwise. I picked this up because the title followed Jack Miles' excellent God: A Biography, but aside from a few pages in Chapter 11, this didn't really deliver.

Oct 04, 2010 Molly rated it it was ok

So... I couldn't get through this. I don't know if it's because it wasn't actually The Republic, but a guy talking about Plato's Republic, or because it was just not a good driving book. Snooze-alert.

It's probably well-written- there are some good turns of phrase ("what is religion but fossilized philosophy?") and the makings of good analysis, but just not for me.
Feb 15, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing
took awhile but loved the concepts in this book - realizing that our abstract thinking is always going to be argued since it isn't concrete.

It goes to show that a simple question such as "what is good?" doesn't have an easy answer. It is those abstract concepts we will forever have our own subjective thought since these ideas are all based on one's own mind. It can never be easy to define since there is so much discrepancy which is why plato discusses these concepts in his republic.

Also, it see
Maughn Gregory
Dec 19, 2012 Maughn Gregory rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
The actual title of this book is "Plato's Republic: A Biography"; it's one in the Grove Press "books that changed the world" series. There surely are books that can be said to have lives or careers worthy of biography, and this one, in addition, surely did 'change the world.' (I also loved Hitchens on Paine.) Blackburn did a masterful job: laying out the grand argument-by-analogy that a well-ordered soul / life can be understood in comparison to a well-ordered society, showing where the analogy ...more
Jun 19, 2010 Kerry rated it really liked it
Plato's Republic is a book that might not be at the top of a person's summer reading list. And often when Plato is first encountered --at least in our high school educational system--students are more oriented to quickly checking off Plato like a trip to the dentist than the leisure of socratic pedagogical stroll. So a book about Plato's Republic might find it challenging to beguile and entertain. But this is still a good book to read. Here is what I learned. In 416 BC the Athenians invaded the ...more
May 18, 2013 Vahid rated it it was amazing
The philosophers are classified by the community. No financial perspective. Their opinion, the basis analysis society.
al-Farabi and Plato and Karl Marx are included. Plato to lead Society wise man accepts. al-Farabi , full human supernatural, and Karl Marx collective wisdom.
Plato imagines society as a pyramid board. Gold, silver, copper, characters and symbols in this scenario.
Wealth is not a the criterion.

The elements individuals than intellectual value, classification society.
Obviously, pure
Oct 05, 2015 Christie rated it liked it
It's hard for me to rate this because I have not actually read Plato's Republic but checked this out thinking it was a translation of Plato's Republic. From what I can tell though, Blackthorn does a good job of pointing out the flaws in reasoning as well as some of the important ideas we can take away from Republic. He definitely does a great job of tracing Platonism's influence throughout the millenia. Now I am more determined than ever that I need to read Republic.
Jul 30, 2015 Brennan rated it it was ok
I would give this 2.5 stars. I made a mistake thinking that this was actually Plato's Republic, but it was actually a commentary about it. There were times that I really loved it - the first half especially when he tied together the philosophies of Socrates, Aristotle, Plato and others. But the second half only mildly held my interest. Unless you are a serious student of philosophy, I think there are better books to fill your time.
Sarah Mansour
Jun 23, 2014 Sarah Mansour rated it liked it
The book is incorrectly labeled "Biography" when it should be clearly named "critique".
Before reading this book make sure you read The Republic first. While Blackburn is clearly criticizing almost every aspect of Plato's books, his actual opinion is only revealed in the last page.
Enjoyable read.
Jun 26, 2014 Joanna rated it it was ok
Light-read for those who don't want to bother with the actual text. I appreciate Blackburn's approachable take on the subject, but most of the time I had to grapple with remembering the point he was making. I asked myself countless of times why he had to bother writing about a subject he is not very interested in/ an expert of.
Apr 27, 2016 Abdullah rated it liked it
The book is sort of repetitive and gets boring after a while however the last parts of the book are mind opening and rewarding, especially the allegory of the cave and the different types of governments and their counterparts in human nature.
Jun 01, 2014 Bruce rated it really liked it
A good intro to the Socratic dialetic.
400 years before Christ, trying to figure out justice, art, government.
Aug 21, 2015 Amy rated it it was ok
2.5 stars.
Aug 04, 2015 Lynn rated it it was ok
2 stars.
Blackburn is a philistine.
I thought this was an interesting discussion on The Republic, but I did not agree with everything he said and I don't think any great insights were gained. It was one man's opinion, educated as he is, and I think there is no substitute for struggling with the text of The Republic itself. If there is one thing to be learned from Plato it is the value of thinking for yourself.
May 01, 2012 Joseph rated it really liked it
They did not actually have the copy I read on this site. I have heard that Simon has a decent interpretation so I am going with that copy. Like most philosophy books it encompasses a wide range of life views. I have currently lost it. :( I may end up reading Blackburn's version any way. If you like philosophy, odds are you will enjoy just about anything Plato has to offer.
Jun 17, 2008 Aaron rated it did not like it
I'm scanning my brain trying to remember interesting tidbits from this book. None of it seemed to relate to Republic of Plato in a way that helped me understand it better. I suppose that I should read a different book for that. Come to think of it, I can't really remember anything about this book that is of any use to me. Next time I'll just read Plato again.
Larry Koester
Dec 30, 2015 Larry Koester rated it did not like it
Feb 26, 2011 Yzobelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academic
Absolutely inspiring book! A must-read for every citizen. If only we live our life according to the letter of this book, the world would be close to utopia.
Jul 16, 2009 Matthew rated it it was ok
Was the author's summation and views on the book, which was rather...dull. (Audio book version btw, no time to read anymore)
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Simon Blackburn is Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy in the University of Cambridge.
More about Simon Blackburn...

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