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message 1: by grllopez (new) - added it

grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) | 139 comments Mod
FYI

I am planning to begin The Republic by Plato in June. No worries if you are still reading The Peloponnesian War (or you do not plan to read The Republic). You can still add to discussions or join in when I get to a book you want to read. I'm giving myself two months to read Plato, but we'll see.


message 2: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
Even though I haven't finished Thucydides, I'm planning to start The Republic in June.


message 3: by grllopez (new) - added it

grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) | 139 comments Mod
Yay!

How much more do you have w/ Thucydides?


Karin I just read The Republic in March, so would like to join in. I read the entire works of Plato for a reading challenge (I don't recommend it--better to stick with his "greatest hits".)


message 5: by Jean (new) - added it

Jean (dangermom) | 14 comments Ahaha, I think I'm on about page 30 of Thucydides, but I wasn't planning on reading the Republic anyway. I did a few years ago, it made me angry, and I still have to finish the Faerie Queene!


Beth | 46 comments I'll finish Thucydides pretty soon, I just have book 8 and the appendices (I've been dipping into these but I think I want to read them straight through when I'm done.

I'll read The Republic in June, but I also want to read Reason & Persuasion: Three Dialogues by Plato as an intro to Plato. It is a free ebook (pdf).


Christopher (Donut) | 24 comments I missed the recent discussion of THE REPUBLIC on the Classics and the Western Canon group, so I would actually like to try it in June.

I made very little progress on Herodotus or Thucydides, but Plato is a different kettle of fish... although if anyone remembers the story of Ganges in Herodotus, there is a variation of it in Rep.


message 8: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
A Great Book Study wrote: "Yay!

How much more do you have w/ Thucydides?"


I'm only about ⅓ of the way through but have plans to rush through as much as I can by the end of the month. Up to this point, I haven't been reading it very regularly.


message 9: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
Jean wrote: "Ahaha, I think I'm on about page 30 of Thucydides, but I wasn't planning on reading the Republic anyway. I did a few years ago, it made me angry, and I still have to finish the Faerie Queene!"

Go Jean, with The Faerie Queene! When we finish, you'll have to share with us what made you angry.


message 10: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
Beth wrote: "I also want to read Reason & Persuasion: Three Dialogues by Plato as an intro to Plato. It is a free ebook (pdf). ..."

Sounds intriguing. Please let us know what you think when you finish.


message 11: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
Christopher wrote: "if anyone remembers the story of Ganges in Herodotus, there is a variation of it in Rep. ..."

Thanks for the heads up. I need as many as I can get while reading these great minds! :-)


message 12: by grllopez (new) - added it

grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) | 139 comments Mod
Aww, I want Jean to tell [me] NOW what made her angry. But I guess I can wait, not to spoil it for anyone.


message 13: by Jean (last edited May 25, 2017 08:40AM) (new) - added it

Jean (dangermom) | 14 comments I'll give you the choice! I wrote about it at the time, not very well, and the last comment makes me think I should revisit it....but I'm still on page 30 of Thucydides. So that's a problem. http://howlingfrog.blogspot.com/2012/...

Now you can decide for yourself whether to read spoilers or not. :D


message 14: by grllopez (new) - added it

grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) | 139 comments Mod
Thanks, Jean. It was just enough to prepare me for some fun with Plato. (I really mean that, too!) I also see that the human mind has not changed very much.

Frankly, while reading Herodotus and now Thucydides, I found myself asking, "Why do I have to read these?" I feel no connection and need to go back to SWB's introduction and see what she wrote about each work. So if you want to keep chugging away in Thucydides, more power to you. I can't take it anymore, and I look forward to digging into Plato, even if I have to take him down.


message 15: by Kenia (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 11 comments Mod
Jean, thanks for sharing your views. I'm an active participate in a Philosophy Meetup and have had many conversations with people who have actually studies philosophy formally (I have not). It's funny because, while opinions of course differ, I was surprised to learn that, within the philosophy community, Plato is generally not considered to be a "good" philosopher at all. LoL I think we have to take him with a grain of salt, and I believe we study him for literary and historical purposes, more so than for his ideas being considered any good. Perhaps he's more of a study in how NOT to philosophize...


Karin I can totally understand that Jean would get angry with something in The Republic, although I'm not sure if it's one of the things that made me angry. Interestingly, some of the same things that angered me there showed up again in his Laws.

But, no spoilers :).


message 17: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 46 comments A Great Book Study wrote: Frankly, while reading Herodotus and now Thucydides, I found myself asking, "Why do I have to read these?" I feel no connection and need to go back to SWB's introduction and see what she wrote about each work

An article that might help with Thucydides is in The Stanford Ency. of Philosophy article on "Realism in International Relations" - here's the section that focuses on Thucydides:
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/re...


message 18: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
A Great Book Study wrote: "Frankly, while reading Herodotus and now Thucydides, I found myself asking, "Why do I have to read these?" I feel no connection and need to go back to SWB's introduction ..."

It's interesting the different reactions we have because I felt such a wonderful connection with Herodotus and so far (around page 200) none with Thucydides. I ask myself is this because there are more characters I recognize in Herodotus than Thucydides? Is Herodotus' writing deeper and not so stark and analytical? I'm not sure ....


message 19: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
Kenia wrote: ".... within the philosophy community, Plato is generally not considered to be a "good" philosopher at all. ."

Again very different from my experience because the philosophy discussions I've heard/read find Aristotle too rigid and legalistic whereas they say Plato understands more the ebb and flow of the human condition. It will be interesting to discover for ourselves.


message 20: by grllopez (new) - added it

grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) | 139 comments Mod
Cleo, Even though I didn't care for either work, my response to Herodotus is more like a kind grandfather retelling an old story, whereas Thucy is the priggish, know-it-all uncle, lacking in personality. Even my translator, time and again, attacked Thucy for his choice of words and expressions and charged him with bias or influencing a character or speech. I wonder if my translator just didn't like Thucy either.


message 21: by Kenia (new)

Kenia Sedler (keniasedler) | 11 comments Mod
Cleo wrote: "Again very different from my experience ..."

Yes, and I have to take back what I said above.

Basically what happened was a participated in an online discussion with some philosophy majors, as well as listened to a podcast hosted by 4 philosophy majors--and in both instances they all were of the same opinion that Plato isn't very good.

But just this minute I've arrived home from my in-person, monthly Philosophy Meetup where I broached the subject (this meeting is overseen by a philosophy professor, and there were others in the meeting who are also trained in philosophy who guide the discussions). We were discussing the analytical-continental divide in philosophy, and what I learned tonight is that, generally, it is analytic philosophers who think Plato is not a good philosopher (and most American and UK philosophers tend to be analytic vs continental). So it really is a matter of opinion...except I'm frustrated that, as an outsider who is not trained in philosophy, I was led to believe from my initial conversations that Plato not being a good philosopher was a general belief held by most of the philosophy community, when it is, in fact, not.

Cleo wrote: "the philosophy discussions I've heard/read find Aristotle too rigid and legalistic ..."

It's so funny you said this, because what the professor said tonight, precisely, was along the lines of, "Those philosophers who don't like Plato are probably Aristotelian." Aristotelians are Analytic (logical, rigid), and Platonists are Continental (humanistic, abstract).


message 22: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
Kenia wrote: "Cleo wrote: "Again very different from my experience ..."

Yes, and I have to take back what I said above.

Basically what happened was a participated in an online discussion with some philosophy m..."


Interesting Kenia. You can see the Plato vs. Aristotle conundrum between Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, so I'm told. The Orthodox are more Platonic, allowing for ebb and flow, but Catholics are more legalistic and rule-bound. I believe that stems from Augustine who held more rigid views. But again, not something I'm well-versed in, however it would be interesting to learn more about it.


Christopher (Donut) | 24 comments Cleo wrote: "Kenia wrote: "Cleo wrote: "Again very different from my experience ..."

Yes, and I have to take back what I said above.

Basically what happened was a participated in an online discussion with som..."


I think the Platonic-Aristotelian divide is within Roman Catholicism, with Augustine being a Platonist, and Thomas Aquinas an Aristotelian.
The Eastern Orthodox have always regarded Augustine as a martyr, but his philosophy, having been written in Latin, has had no influence.
On the other hand, Gregory of Nyssa was both a Platonist and an Aristotelian.

But it's good to hear there are some philosophers who still stick up for Plato.


message 24: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
Christopher wrote: "I think the Platonic-Aristotelian divide is within Roman Catholicism, with Augustine being a Platonist, and Thomas Aquinas an Aristotelian. .."

I've been attending an Eastern Orthodox book group led by a very knowledgeable priest and he is definitely defining Orthodoxy as Platonic compared with Augustine being Aristotelian. As I read more Orthodox work (although not alot yet), I can definitely understand the distinction. In fact, being very familiar with the Protestant faith, then studying Catholicism a little and then recently learning about Orthodoxy, I was extremely surprised to see how different Orthodoxy is from Catholicism, as I'd originally surmised that they were very similar.

As for Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, there is certainly a noticeable distinction between them as well. As I read The Republic, hopefully it will brings these distinctions into clearer focus. :-)


Karin Cleo wrote: "gain very different from my experience because the philosophy discussions I've heard/read find Aristotle too rigid and legalistic whereas they say Plato understands more the ebb and flow of the human condition. It will be interesting to discover for ourselves. .."

Actually, my irritation had nothing to do with the ebb and flow vs too rigid. I haven't read Aristotle in decades when I was stuying his views on cosmology and in other areas while in university.

Once we are discussing this, reasons will come out. I'll have to take this out of the library in a standalone edition since I returned all the volumes of the Complete Works (and The Republic didn't take up an entire volume).


message 26: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
Karin wrote: "Once we are discussing this, reasons will come out..."

I believe this will turn out to be a very lively and informative discussion! :-)


Karin Cleo wrote: "Karin wrote: "Once we are discussing this, reasons will come out..."

I believe this will turn out to be a very lively and informative discussion! :-)"


I agree. There's nothing like Greek philosophy to engender a rousing discussion.


Christopher (Donut) | 24 comments I'm in. I got the public domain Jowett translation for Kindle:
The Republic

Jowett manages in his introduction to be condescending toward Plato.. (but here I am being condescending toward Jowett, so...)

A quote:

We have no need therefore to discuss whether a State such as Plato has conceived is practicable or not, or whether the outward form or the inward life came first into the mind of the writer. For the practicability of his ideas has nothing to do with their truth; and the highest thoughts to which he attains may be truly said to bear the greatest 'marks of design'—justice more than the external frame-work of the State, the idea of good more than justice. The great science of dialectic or the organisation of ideas has no real content; but is only a type of the method or spirit in which the higher knowledge is to be pursued by the spectator of all time and all existence. It is in the fifth, sixth, and seventh books that Plato reaches the 'summit of speculation,' and these, although they fail to satisfy the requirements of a modern thinker, may therefore be regarded as the most important, as they are also the most original, portions of the work.


message 29: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
Christopher wrote: "I'm in. I got the public domain Jowett translation for Kindle:
The Republic

Jowett manages in his introduction to be condescending toward Plato.. (but here I am being condescending..."


Wow! A very pointed example of why I refrain from reading introductions until I've finished a book. ;-)


Karin I never bother with the introductions or commentary before reading the actual philosopher, so I can come to my own conclusions first. Whether or not I agree with Jowett or part of what he says here remains to be seen.


message 31: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 46 comments I thought I'd share this from the intro to Reason and Persuasion: Three Dialogues By Plato: Euthyphro, Meno, Republic Book I

"All of Western philosophy is just footnotes to Plato.’ The danger in a line like that is that it sounds like one of those things people say to be friendly, before they get started, get serious. You stand before the monument politely. In such a mood, we may not consider that it might be true.

A. N. Whitehead (author of the ‘footnotes’ quip) adds that one of the secrets of Plato’s success is he makes a point of ‘writing out all the heresies in advance.’ That’s very true! Plato writes about everything: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, art, science, religion, economics, culture, education, technology, mathematics, logic, psychology. More: he considers all these topics from a variety of angles. He gives us Socrates on trial, declaring the unexamined life is not worth living. He gives us two blueprints for Utopia, both authoritarian. Plato is the first spokesman of free speech and censorship. He writes movingly of the value of truth. He is a dutiful servant of logos. Then he tells myths and advocates ‘noble lies’. He is a rationalist yet a mystic. He strikes readers as crude. His arguments seem like toys. His characters are not quite life-like. Then he turns around and displays astonishing shrewdness and delicate verbal artistry. His feet are on the ground. He’s just lighter on them than he looks. He’s serious, yet a comedian. Perhaps one of his most impressive achievements of breadth is to be a complete generalist and also one of world’s worst narrow-minded academic specialists. (Think of the skill it takes to pull that contradiction off.) I don’t think there is any point denying that many of Plato’s arguments are plain bad. As his pupil Aristotle says: Plato is dear, but truth is dearer. (They fought, those two.) But some of Plato’s arguments really are as subtle and sophisticated as his interpreters obviously want them to be (hence keep finding them to be.)

If, like Mill, you think the truth about ‘the business of life’ will always be a balance of conflicting reasons, not some pure, simple, final thing, be aware that Plato is keenly aware of your reasons. But he thinks the opposite…"


message 32: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
Thanks, Beth. Absolutely fascinating. I'm looking forward to diving into Plato's acrobatic mental astuteness. ;-)


message 33: by Karin (last edited Jun 05, 2017 06:59AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karin All of Western philosophy is just footnotes to Plato.’

While this is interesting, I disagree. That said, there is much from Plato that has seeped into quite a bit of Western Philosophy and even creeps in today. And it's Aristotle's science and Cosmology that was inculcated into Roman Catholicism via Thomas Aquinas that had a large influence on science for some time. The law of inertia was one of the proofs against Aristotle's reasoning, which wasn't scientific by today's standards.

I don’t think there is any point denying that many of Plato’s arguments are plain bad. As his pupil Aristotle says: Plato is dear, but truth is dearer.

YES!!! Even though Aristotle has his weakness, he was far more logical than was Plato! That said, I do think that Plato had his great moments, just not nearly enough, IMO.

While some of Plato's arguments are subtle, he uses some erroneous techniques to trip people up so that they think they are wrong, due in part to some of the assumptions he or society made at that time. As I said, I slogged through his entire works this spring, so the problem with that is I might mix things up between The Republic and The Laws (which cover a number of the same things, but using different main people; The Republic with Socrates and The Laws with the Athenian Stranger. And, in a surprising twist, of all his works where the love of man for male youths is virtuous, the Athenian Stranger believes that only heterosexual love is correct, which didn't actually change much as far as most of the major conclusions about developing a better society were concerned (and those involved so much fallacious reasoning it's going to be fun to discuss!!!


message 34: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
Karen, I took Beth's quote to mean that Plato was the foundation of Western Philosophy and that most everything else was built upon him not that what was built from his initial philosophy had no or little value.

While I have only skimmed both Plato and Aristotle, while Aristotle is very logical, I like Plato because he seems to get at the heart of man, which is often illogical and capricious. In any case, that is my initial "feeling". I'm looking forward to expanding my opinion as I read both! :-)


message 35: by Karin (last edited Jun 06, 2017 02:30PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karin Cleo wrote: "Karen, I took Beth's quote to mean that Plato was the foundation of Western Philosophy and that most everything else was built upon him not that what was built from his initial philosophy had no or..."

My mistake. I should NEVER discuss serious books when I have a migraine, which is what I did!


message 36: by Cleo (last edited Jun 06, 2017 03:32PM) (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
LOL! And I should never have a best friend with a -en spelling because it's what I naturally revert to. ;-) I hope you're feeling better, Karin! :-)


Karin Cleo wrote: "LOL! And I should never have a best friend with a -en spelling because it's what I naturally revert to. ;-) I hope you're feeling better, Karin! :-)"

:). Yes, I understand. I had a childhood friend named Kristin and have a hard time typing Kristen for those with that spelling.


message 38: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 46 comments This link has various free translations of Plato, including The Republic (scroll down), if anyone's interested
https://www.reddit.com/r/Plato/commen...

I'll start The Republic as soon as I finish a group read for another group I'm in, so probably by the end of June.


message 39: by grllopez (new) - added it

grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) | 139 comments Mod
I haven't even started The Republic, yet. : (


message 40: by Karin (last edited Jun 19, 2017 08:10AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karin How is everyone doing with this so far? Just out of curiosity, because I read it before this started, in the spring, and hope I don't forget too much before we start discussing it (as time goes on it and The Laws of Plato are getting more and more melded together in my mind) as there is quite a bit of overlap in topics, etc.


message 41: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
I've just begun and I'm trying not to go too fast. I have lots going on until mid-July but I'll do my best to keep up and post. Can you jot down what struck you from your reading of Plato for reminders because I would love to hear your thoughts?


message 42: by grllopez (new) - added it

grllopez ~ with freedom and books (with_freedom_and_books) | 139 comments Mod
Karin wrote: "How is everyone doing with this so far? Just out of curiosity, because I read it before this started, in the spring, and hope I don't forget too much before we start discussing it (as time goes on ..."

I started and didn't get far when kids got sick, I got sick, and stuff happened. I took about a week and a half off; but hope to get back into it in next few nights.


message 43: by Karin (last edited Jun 21, 2017 07:45AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Karin Cleo wrote: "I've just begun and I'm trying not to go too fast. I have lots going on until mid-July but I'll do my best to keep up and post. Can you jot down what struck you from your reading of Plato for remin..."

Sure, but I'm not going to be popular!

First off, Plato is an arguer, not a master logician.In fact, he is frequently illogical. I am a very logical thinker, so when he has Socrates win arguments with inane points and coercing, it tends to tick me off. That said, I love The Death of Socrates (or whatever it's called) and another of his writings.

First off, I focused a LOT on how Plato thought children should be raised to form a good society. Despite is obvious intellectual intelligence, that alone was so inane it took me a long time to recover myself. This comes up in The Laws as well. Do you want to hear the details of this, or read it yourself?

Another thing, and this wasn't quite as bad in The Laws, is his ideas about women overall, outside of a few wise ones. He recognized that physical training (but I think it should be more varied and playful plus with kids wearing clothes) was important to children's education, which is so lost in public school today with lack of recess and playtime, etc! He did have a few ridiculous thought about how girls and women would look ridiculous being naked and doing this, but then I don't agree with the concept of nude sports which was the only way the competed back then.

Naturally there is a LOT more about structure of government, defining wisdom and so on, but that will come back to me as people discuss this. However, if there are variations between this and The Laws, I may get some points mixed up. Really, neither of those is nearly as good as my favourite writings by him, either in logic or many other things.

Also, I don't care for that sort of arguing style where Socrates reminds me of a very annoying cousin of mine who just likes to bait people (actually, that cousin is technically young enough for me to have a child that age, so I was annoyed by this beforehand) in some rather unlogical ways. You see this a lot in the media in our day, where people try and coerce issues into only two choices, as if that is all there are, when so many times that's erroneous.

After reading The Entire Works of Plato I am oversatiated with him :).


message 44: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
Karin wrote: "Cleo wrote: "I've just begun and I'm trying not to go too fast. I have lots going on until mid-July but I'll do my best to keep up and post. Can you jot down what struck you from your reading of Pl..."

Thanks for your comments, Karin; they give me some points to look out for.

Karin wrote: "First off, Plato is an arguer, not a master logician.In fact, he is frequently illogical. I am a very logical thinker, so when he has Socrates win arguments with inane points and coercing, it tends to tick me off...."

I can say the same for Augustine in his City of God which I'm reading now. His logic on some points is like Swiss cheese and it's rather annoying. He is urging people not to commit suicide for a number of reasons, then when he addresses why some saints committed it, he becomes vague and says they must have had direct communication from God that it was acceptable in their particular case. What?!!! :-Z I didn't see this "freeform" logic in his Confessions so I was rather surprised.

I do see in the beginning that Socrates brings the discussion from the differences of how you view things when young vs. old to beginning a discussion of justice; you can see how he steers the topic to suit his purposes yet so far it's not bothering me. We'll see how it ends up.


message 45: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 46 comments Here's my overview of the introductory Plato book I mentioned above:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I've just started The Republic (Allan Bloom translation).


message 46: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
I think I'm in Book III but my book is numbered differently, so it's hard to tell.

I found it interesting, as Socrates begins to build his Republic that although the primary focus of his society is going to be Justice he takes no account of the character of any of the people in the initial building of it and just focuses on practicalities to make his Republic function well from its outer workings. Everyone is included regardless of their character. Again, this is extremely wise of him. Because he is so fixed on Justice as a crucial component, one might expect him to get a "brave new world" mentality and pick and choose who would fit his perfect society. Yet he doesn't, or at least not yet. I'm quite impressed.


Christopher (Donut) | 24 comments Cleo wrote: "I think I'm in Book III but my book is numbered differently, so it's hard to tell.

I found it interesting, as Socrates begins to build his Republic that although the primary focus of his society i..."


I re-downloaded The Republic, but so far I am only reading Jowett's paraphrase and commentary, and he is on book two.

Glaucon and Admetus want to know, if the unjust man could seem perfectly just, and the just man would do no injustice, but only suffer injustice, who then would be just for justice's sake?

Why does Socrates say that justice may be seen more clearly in the just city than in the just individual?

I have cleared the deck of a few other things, so I will try to chug along in this.


message 48: by Cleo (new) - added it

Cleo (cleopatra18) | 56 comments Mod
Christopher wrote: "Glaucon and Admetus want to know, if the unjust man could seem perfectly just, and the just man would do no injustice, but only suffer injustice, who then would be just for justice's sake? ... Why does Socrates say that justice may be seen more clearly in the just city than in the just individual?"

To me, Socrates appears to be trying to steer the focus away from a personal benefit, that benefits only one person (or a few people) to a more global benefit that, yes, will benefit that one person but also be a benefit to all. I imagine he begins with the city for a macroscopic examination, as the benefits and problems may be easier to see and then is going to move to the microscopic, man.

I have a full plate but I need to get back to this, so I'll do my best. I'm posting book-by-book reviews on my blog, which also will slow me down.


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