The Republic (book review) Plato,

(Platonis opera #6)

Reginald E. Allen(Translator/Introduction)


70417: this is the third translation i have read. i read jowett 1871 years ago [book:The Republic|34357363] (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 goes inward from society to self. plato’s concern is not specifically political- but these are the books continuing most interesting, relevant, provocative...


plato does seem to see only two roles for 'art'- or 'poets': censorship and propaganda. and this makes sense if you agree to certain questionable premises, ideas, causality. for who would truly risk damaging children through morally suspect art? which sounds like the current russian laws against 'homosexual propaganda' for children. and who would allow people to hear their betters as worse..? which sounds like where comedy comes from...


on the other, is plato arguing against poetry by using poetry? is the 'copying' of art truly no more than 'copying' copies (instances) of ideal 'forms'? plato uses socrates as ideal questioner, uses others primarily as those who can agree 'you're right socrates', i have not read any dialogues or studied plato for years (decades...), mostly i remember plato is much easier to read than aristotle as these are single-authored texts rather than student and lecturer notes. and here are those basic platonic concepts: the sun, the cave, the divided line. after heidegger i have a better sense of where plato went metaphysically after the pre-socratics, after a couple millennia we have an idea of where plato's politics were hopelessly naive, strenuously misinterpreted...


i suppose this text can be read as any scripture is often said to be: look hard enough and here you can find anything, any argument, any prejudice. this is philosophy. there is complete equality of sexes, communal property, anonymous meritocracy, immortal souls, arguments for philosopher kings. there is primitive eugenics, age prejudice, solid classism, usual racism, arguments for totalitarianism. this version is very fluid, very exact, very readable, such that i wonder why other translators chose different words, for this is clear contemporary english from ancient greek... i suppose also that my reading so much other philosophy, over the years, has greatly affect what i now take from this. if this is indeed product of those 'drinking parties' (translation of 'symposium') of plato and others: i want to go to parties like that...

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