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The Republic

(Platonis opera #6)

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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  170,572 ratings  ·  3,574 reviews
Presented in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and three different interlocutors, this classic text is an enquiry into the notion of a perfect community and the ideal individual within it. During the conversation, other questions are raised: what is goodness?; what is reality?; and what is knowledge? The Republic also addresses the purpose of education and the role o ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 25th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published -380)
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John I put the book down for a couple of times for precisely that reason. The advocacy of censorship, including even form, sounded too much like Socialist …moreI put the book down for a couple of times for precisely that reason. The advocacy of censorship, including even form, sounded too much like Socialist Realism and USSR propaganda while sharing children and wives sounded alternately like the Khmer Rouge or some kind of Mormon commune. I stuck it out though and am happy I did.

Honestly, as sick as such thoughts seems, I really don't know how one can genuinely hope to build a utopia without such measures. It's the main reason I don't think it can be done. Could we naturally "evolve" to it without these measures? Perhaps. But that wouldn't be an answer to "How?", but just "If".

I'm not a huge scholar on Plato, but it doesn't seem to fit the definition of satire at all. Satire is supposed to use "humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule". I see no humor nor irony. It's far too one-sided of a "conversation" to be ridicule and, if it's exaggeration, it certainly missed the mark on me. Pages and pages of exaggeration?

On Wikipedia anyway, Plato is said to have mentioned Aristophanes when asked about satire. And he's famous for his comedy. I don't think I laughed at any passage in the book except for some of his stupid analogies. (less)

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Brendan
Sep 25, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: everyone
Let me explain why I'd recommend this book to everyone: Plato is stupid.

Seriously.

And it's important that you all understand that Western society is based on the fallacy-ridden ramblings of an idiot. Read this, understand that he is not joking, and understand that Plato is well and truly fucked in the head.

Every single one of his works goes like this:

SOCRATES: "Hello, I will now prove this theory!"
STRAWMAN: "Surely you are wrong!"
SOCRATES: "Nonsense. Listen, Strawman: can we agree to the follow
...more
Everyman
May 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
All the criticisms of Plato are valid. He raises straw arguments. He manipulates discussions unfairly. He doesn't offer realistic solutions. And so on.

But he is still, and for very good reason, the most influential philosopher in Western civilization. He makes people think. Most authors we read today are trying to persuade us to agree with their point of view. Plato, not so. He wants you to disagree with him. He wants you to argue with him. He wants you to identify the fallacies in his arguments
...more
Henry Avila
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Plato's "The Republic", is a great but flawed masterpiece of western literature, yes it makes sense, mostly, some of it. "I am the wisest man in the world because I know one thing, that I know nothing", said the smart man ... Socrates. Plato is writing for Socrates, his friend and teacher. Late teacher, since being forced to commit suicide by the uncomfortable citizens of Athens ( the famous poisoned cup of hemlock), for corrupting the minds of youth. Socrates didn't believe books were as effect ...more
Riku Sayuj

Is the attempt to determine the way of man’s life so small a matter in your eyes—to determine how life may be passed by each one of us to the greatest advantage? (1.344d)


I propose therefore that we inquire into the nature of justice and injustice, first as they appear in the State, and secondly in the individual, proceeding from the greater to the lesser and comparing them. (2.368e—369a)


The Republic: An Apology

“The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition i
...more
Emily May
Mar 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, classics
My re-reading of this for my university course has led me to the same conclusions I found when I first read it a couple of years back, except this time I am fortunate enough to have understood it better than last time. My conclusions being that Plato, and through him Socrates, was very intelligent, believed he was more intelligent than everyone else (no matter how many times he declared himself unwise) and very much loved to talk. Socrates, in particular, must have been very fond of the sound of ...more
Roy Lotz
I’ve gotten into the habit of dividing up the books I’ve read by whether I read them before or after Plato’s Republic. Before The Republic, reading was a disorganized activity—much the same as wading through a sea of jumbled thoughts and opinions. I had no basis from which to select books, except by how much they appealed to my naïve tastes. But after reading The Republic, it was as if the entire intellectual landscape was put into perspective. Reading became a focused activity, meant to engage ...more
WILLIAM2
Halfway through now and the ability to see the book as a metaphor for civic and personal moral development becomes difficult. The book is only useful if you are tracking the history of ideas, which I am not. The state Plato describes here is one that is highly prohibitive in almost every aspect. Arts and culture are severely controlled for propaganda purposes. There is a complete inability to view open, transparent government as an option. The guardians must be lied to and deceived constantly if ...more
Piyangie
The Republic is where Plato lays down his ideas of an ideal state and its rulers. Plato's Utopian state is one which is just and his ideal rulers are philosophers. Presented as a series of dialogue between Socrates and Plato's brothers Adeimantus and Glaucon, in eleven parts Plato step by step forms his ideal state (Part I and II), its rulers (Part IV and Part VII), their education, women's position (Part VI) and the position of art and poetry (Part X) in the new state. Although some of his view ...more
Trevor
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read this right through a couple of times now – three, or there about, I think. And bits of it many, many times. This is one of the key books of ‘the western canon’, you really do need to be aware of it. And you might be surprised at how frequently it is referenced, particularly in science fiction – everything from The Giver to Brave New World to The Matrix. And while the world Plato is presenting is meant to be a utopia, it is generally used as the basis for the most terrifying of dystopia ...more
Mackey
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
It's been far too long ago since I read this to write a critical review, however, it should be required reading for all students in America at the very least. Oh how far we have strayed.
elena
Sep 16, 2020 marked it as to-read
my political theory class brought me here
Michael
70417: this is the third translation i have read. i read jowett 1871 years ago (decades...). you can get his version free on the net. read another but do not recall by whom. this is allen 2008. i think what riku sayuj says above is the best in-depth review i mostly agree with. i read it yes as a way of arguing around to 'what is justice/just man', by portraying an entire city as if it can then be seen allegorically as one person. rather as nietzsche proceeds outward from self to society, plato g ...more
Bettie
Strange days indeed, when we are sent back to re-visit the very roots of philosophy within the ancient world.

Audio book 4:49:25
...more
Tristan
A man, tired from a long day of drudgery at work, walks towards his favourite haunt, an old-fashioned British working class pub in Essex called 'The Griffon'. Drenched from a heavy fall of rain, he enters the building and is greeted by its familiar smells and sounds.

Man: “Evening, all.” (The patrons demurely acknowledge his presence, and return to their drinks. The face of Roger, a much older man, lights up as he joyously steps towards the newcomer)

Roger: “Nate, ye bastard! Where have ye been
...more
Justin Evans
May 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Just to be clear, my rating is for the edition of the Republic I read- the Oxford World's Classics text translated by Robin Waterfield. Giving stars to the Republic is so flagrantly stupid that I can't even come up with a suitably stupid analogy. Giving stars to the Mona Lisa? Not even close. Giving stars to Dante? Not the same, because that deserves five stars. The Republic simultaneously deserves five stars, for kick-starting Western philosophy, social science, aesthetics, theology, and politi ...more
Jason Pettus
Apr 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read a hundred so-called "classic" books for the first time, then write reports on whether or not I think they deserve the label

Essay #11: The Republic, by Plato (~360 BC)

The story in a nutshell:
For those who don't know, the last 2,500 years of Western civilization can be rou
...more
David Sarkies
Oct 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophers & Political Scientists
Recommended to David by: Some Christian Girl at uni.
Shelves: philosophy
Theorising the Perfect State
21 October 2013

Sometimes I wonder if people give this book five stars because it is either a) written by Plato, or b) if you don't give it five stars then you are afraid that people will think that you are some semi-literate mindless cretin whose reading capacity tends to extend little beyond the Harry Potter and Twilight Series. Yes, I realise that I have given it five stars, but I have given it five stars because I actually enjoyed the argument that this book outli
...more
Gary Inbinder
This is my first GR review without a star rating. Here’s the reason why.

I don’t like Plato’s Republic, but I think it ought to be read more than once. I didn’t like it when I first read it almost 50 years ago, and my opinion hasn’t changed over the years. Nevertheless, I think it’s an important book that should be read, analyzed and debated. In that regard, it’s much like Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Both books are, in my opinion, prescriptions for tyranny, the two sides of the same counterfeit coin. H
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
I almost categorised this as a dystopian novel because while Plato finds his Republic to be ideal, it sounded too much like what Trump intends for Amerikkka. It is an essential read in terms of western philosophy particularly because of the cave analogy and its opposition to the Aristotelian manner of thinking that created the major division in Greek philosophy and continues to underpin politics ever since. In his taking the ideal to be more critical than the real world, Plato creates a model an ...more
Amit Mishra
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book is a dialogue among the students. Where some serious questions have been asked. Like, what is a reality? What is good and bad? The book tries t capture all the forces of earth and translate them into a constructive idea. It talks about almost all thing. How should be an idle society look like, how should be an individual.
The book is a must-read for everyone who wants to understand the depth of life.
Jessaka
Let me tell you about this book. Well, I don't recall it much; I only recall the angst it caused me for in my first year of college there were only two classes left that looked somewhat interesting. First time; last served. I took Philosophy 101 and Child Psychology.

I walked into my philosophy class and thought it was really going to be interesting. The teacher, Mr. Flores, spoke in broken English. No one told me that I could drop out of a class, so I sat there. I couldn't take notes because I
...more
Mark
Jun 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those with a philosophical bent
I finished reading The Republic on my birthday and now am both older and wiser. The Republic is in essence one long argument why a person should lead a just life verses choosing a life of pleasure, riches, ambition, or power. It is deeply concerned with the nature of the human soul and how to prepare one's soul for eternity. Socrates/Plato uses a plethora of logical examples for this argument, although it is the logic of 400 B.C. Greek culture, which seems somewhat fractured to us today. The Rep ...more
Trish
There is in every one of us, even those who seem to be most moderate, a type of desire that is terrible, wild, and lawless.

So, it should be noted that I did not find this book at a bookstore and voluntarily buy it for my leisurely reading... It was on the syllabus for my political theory class. That being said, I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would.

Would I recommend it for a vacation? Absolutely not. Unless you like pondering about justice and censorship and the creations of rulers and c
...more
Covert.adrian
Jun 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those seeking answers, or at least the means to help you find your own.
No book has influenced my life more than Plato's Republic. It admittedly can be a difficult read: it is almost entirely a back and forth conversation between two people, Socrates and Glaucon, discussing the nature of man, the soul, justice, and what the most just society, or Republic, would look like. In this highly utopian account, Socrates expresses little hope in the common man, and instead suggests authoritarian rule, by philosophers, would lead to the most just state. His contempt for democ ...more
Stephen
4.0 stars. I read this book back in college (20+ years ago) so I have put this on my list of books to re-read in the not too distant future. This is one of those books that I believe everyone should read as it is one of those foundational books on which Western civilization is based.
Jonathan Terrington

Plato's The Republic is one of the more widely read works of philosophy of all time. It is a complex work, one that rambles due to the nature of it being a dialogue rather than a pure expository piece, but one with some interesting and applicable ideas within it nonetheless.

The core argument that Plato makes, through using Socrates as the voice of reason, seems to link up to the idea of the creation of a better Republic - hence the title - or a kind of Utopia. He argues that in the end the thing
...more
Saadia B. || CritiConscience
Plato is one of those writers/philosophers who is very hard to comprehend if you haven’t read him before or not interested in Philosophy.

Socrates, his master is a bit mellow in his way of teaching. In this book, Socrates is having a discussion with four others about State. They discuss in length about different variants that comprise of a state. Justice is also one of the main themes in the book because justice provides a parameter of guidance among the people living in the state and how they w
...more
Dan
Feb 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
I'm not sure why people read this. For those interested in the history of philosophy it's undoubtedly important. For everyone else... meh. A lot of people comment that Plato deals seriously with all the big issues. Well, he brings them up, but never seriously engages with them.
Maybe the problem is that I'm reading this at 25 after spending a couple years seriously reading philosophy. Maybe Popper inoculated me. I might have felt differently if I started reading The Republic with a less critical
...more
William
Plato's Republic was neither the most structurally excellent, nor philosophically potentiating contribution to a theory of utopia of its time. It isn't the most rigorous examination of what need be instated for a perfect society to be born, it isn't the most primitive or silly, granted, but it also isn't really a fulfilling answer to our longing for a noble political infrastructure. It's an often very repetitive dialogue being retold by Socrates in a dry and pompous recitation. Oftentimes Socrat ...more
Michael Kress
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is widely believed that The Republic by Plato is essential reading for anybody who takes philosophy seriously, and now I understand why. Its dialogues set the tone for all subsequent Western philosophy and made an honest search for the truth seem cool (at least for me). As in many of Plato’s works, Socrates is the protagonist. He’s the one who goes up to everybody and starts arguments, asking many questions and pointing out inconsistencies. Some people give him a hard time, but I have a huge ...more
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(Greek: Πλάτων) (Arabic: أفلاطون) (Alternate Spelling: Platon, Platón, Platone)
Plato is a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western p
...more

Other books in the series

Platonis opera (6 books)
  • Euthyphro, Apologia Socratis, Crito, Phaedo, Cratylus, Sophista, Politicus, Theaetetus
  • Parmenides, Philebus, Symposium, Phaedrus, Alcibiades I and II, Hipparchus, Amatores
  • Theages, Charmides, Laches, Lysis, Euthydemus, Protagoras, Gorgias, Meno, Hippias Maior, Hippias Minor, Io, Menexenus
  • Clitopho, Respublica, Timaeus, Critias
  • Minos, Leges, Epinomis, Epistulae, Definitiones

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