Plato's Republic


The Republic is a book about justice. It is also a book about money, about wisdom, about virtue, politics, the good, and being. But we do not read the Republic in order to learn from it what justice is, or wisdom, or the good, or the city, etc. Nor do we read it primarily to find out what Plato thought of these matters (although this can be useful when comparing Plato to modern philosophers).

We read Plato's Republic to learn from Plato about dialectic. This means, not that Plato has an opinion about dialectic that we want to appropriate, but that if we read his book successfully, we will become dialectical.

(image by Tomi Tapio K)
"Okay, Mr. KTL, 
but I'm really just 
here to find out
what Plato thought
about stuff."

Oh, hi there, little nut-hoarder. You're enrolled in an introductory philosophy class, aren't you? I'm sorry to hear that. Well, come back when you want to read Plato's Republic! (If it's a decent class you might.)

Posts on the Republic
  1. Dialog
    1. Does it really matter that Plato wrote in the dialog form?
  2. Characters
    1. Cephalus
      1. Is Cephalus a depraved weenie who had to leave the kitchen because he couldn't take the dialectical heat?
  3. Dialectic
    1. What is Dialectic?
    2. Why should I care?
    3. So dialectic is just the art of pissing people off by proving them wrong, right?
      1. And that's what Socrates is doing when he shuts Cephalus down in Book I?
    4. Okay then, what is Socrates doing in his conversation with Cephalus?
  4. The Good
    1. Why can't I find a definition of the good in the Republic?
under construction:

What is Dialectic? (A Study of Socratic Refutation in the Republic)

Here's what I've argued so far:
  1. "Dialectic" generally refers to an approach to truth which brings about a transition from one dimension of things to another. This transition reframes or reorients things so that what was many is now one and what was one is now many.