1st Edition

An Engagement with Plato's Republic A Companion to the Republic

By Basil Mitchell, J.R. Lucas Copyright 2003
    190 Pages
    by Routledge

    Outrageous, unfashionable, politically incorrect though many of Plato's opinions undoubtedly are, we should not just dismiss them as thoughts now unthinkable, but think through them, recognising the force of the arguments that led Plato to enunciate them and consider the counter-arguments he might have marshalled to meet contemporary objections. This book encourages today's students to engage in Plato's thought, grapple with Plato's arguments, and explore the relevance of his arguments in contemporary terms. A text only comes alive if we make it our own; Plato's great work The Republic, often reads as though it were addressing the problems of the day rather than those of ancient Athens. Treating The Republic as a whole and offering a comprehensive introduction to Plato's arguments, Mitchell and Lucas draw students into an exploration of the relevance of Plato's thought to our present ideas about politics, society and education, as well as the philosophy of mathematics, science and religion. The authors bring The Republic to life. The first chapters help the reader to make sense of the text, either in translation or the original Greek. Later chapters deal with the themes that Plato raises, treating Plato as a contemporary. Plato is inexhaustible: he speaks to many different people of different generations and from different backgrounds. The Republic is not just an ancient text: it never ceases to be relevant to contemporary concerns, and it demands fresh discussion in every age.

    Contents: Introduction; Questions asked; Morality as mental health; Return of the self; Knowledge and opinion; Theories of forms; Plato's theory of argument; The search for the good; Morality and happiness; Plato and pluralism; Sex, self and power; Plato and education; The quarrel with the poets; Envoi; Index.


    Basil Mitchell, J.R. Lucas

    'The authors, distinguished Oxford teachers and scholars, have succeeded admirably in their goal, to help readers "feel the force" of Plato's arguments. Their humane and patient book encourages us to engage with Socrates and Plato, still the founding teachers in the western tradition of political and moral philosophy, whether or not Plato infuriates or persuades his modern readers. It is refreshing to be invited to "grapple with the text" and to be guided by the authors to a place where we can think on the great issues of politics, justice and morality with clarity and confidence.' Mark Morford, Professor of Classics Emeritus, University of Virginia, USA 'A truly engaging study. Anyone who teaches the Republic as living philosophy should have this book at hand. It is the essence of two careers spent teaching the Republic, lively, contentious, and delightful to read. The style is as fresh as that of the best recent philosophy, and the issues addressed are of contemporary interest. There is no stale air here; all is fresh and invigorating. Lucas and Mitchell waste no time with Plato's arguments when they are bad, and spare no effort in support of his arguments when they are good, especially when Platonic arguments rightly undermine contemporary fashions such as pluralism.' Paul Woodruff , Department of Philosophy, The University of Texas at Austin, USA 'The authors succeed in a number of ways to facilitate a modern reading of the Republic.' Prudentia