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The Republic of Plato: Second Edition Paperback – Oct 3 1991

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 2 edition (Oct. 3 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465069347
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465069347
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 640 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Allan Bloom is professor of social thought at the University of Chicago. The author of many books, including The Closing of the American Mind, he is also the translator of Rousseau's Emile (Basic Books, 1979).

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
Plato's Republic is really beyond reviews, and it would be presumptuous do anything other than encourage potential readers to study it for themselves. As the overt political slants of some of the other reviews suggest, his ideas resonate in the modern world as much as they did in his own. Whether a reader approaches Republic with positive or negative prejudices, the actual text of the argument forces constant reevaluation and refinement of those preexisting opinions.
Allan Bloom has created a literal translation that is ideal for those who truly wish to engage with Plato. Most other translators have used non-literal methods that attempt to convey in a more contemporary form what Plato "meant" by his arguments. However, in this process the translator's own interpretation of Plato's argument inevitably influences the language in which he renders his translation. Bloom has attempted, with a great degree of success, to separate the processes of translation and interpretation. Rather than imposing his reading on the text itself, he express it in a thought-provoking interpretive essay that follows the text
This is probably not the easiest translation of Plato to read, because Bloom does not attempt to serve as a baby-sitter for his readers. However, the extra time spent in reading this version will be well rewarded by a deeper understanding of Plato's argument.
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Format: Paperback
Plato's 'Republic' is one of the most important works of ancient Greek philosophy, and one of the foundation pieces of political science and political philosophy of that and subsequent ages. It was one of the first pieces I read when undertaking a political science degree. This translation by Allan Bloom is perhaps the most recent 'Republic' I have read.
Plato was not only a great philosopher, but also a great writer. While few master the classical Greek language sufficient to undertake its study in the original language, the text appears in countless translated forms of varying degrees of integrity. This translation by Bloom is one of the best literal translations - it stays very closely to the original, explaining things that do not translate easily, but avoiding many interpretation issues that often show more of the philosophy and/or politics of the translator than of Plato.
The text is traditionally divided into ten sections, although some scholars see this as being a function of the papyrus and scrolls of original composition more than being integral to the structure of the text itself. One of the interesting features of the Republic is that it was not originally intended for scholars and philosophers primarily, but for the common (albeit educated) reader, and remains one of the more accessible texts of ancient Greek philosophy.
In typical fashion, this is done in a dialogue fashion, with the lead character Socrates (fashioned after Plato's teacher, the great philosopher Socrates, although the words Socrates utters in this and many other Platonic dialogues are undoubtedly Plato's own).
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Format: Paperback
The famous French philosopher, Rene Descartes, once said that the reading of good books "is like a conversation with the finest men of past centuries." I agree with Descartes; and there are probably few better groups of people to have an intelligent conversation with than Socrates and his friends.
Allan Bloom's translation is a breath of much needed fresh air. We have here a very literal translation of The Republic. Bloom doesn't try to spoon feed Plato to us, and I for one am very glad about that. In the introduction Bloom makes, in my opinion, a very powerful case for the literal translation of The Republic. When I first picked this translation up I wasn't sure that a strictly literal translation was really need, so I'm greatful for this introduction. Bloom tells us precisely why he thinks that it is a good idea to have a literal translation and he's darn convincing, I say.
Give this a shot. Lord knows you'll get more out of it than that dreadful Penguin translation. :)
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Format: Paperback
Plato's 'Republic' is one of the most influential works in Western philosophy--one critic once said how all of Western thought is a footnote to Plato. While I don't agree exactly with that statement, I do believe that Plato helped articulate some of the key questions that humans ponder over when it comes to philosophy and life.

In the 'Republic', Socrates works with Glaucon and Adeimantus in order to define what the ideal city would be. The book begins with a discussion of what the "just" is, and then proceeds to construct an argument for this city as Socrates believes it should be. Issues of class, gender, morality, and the intellectual life are weaved into this dialogue as well. The figure central to the city is the "Philosopher-King", who Socrates believes should rule. Basically, the book thinks about what a city would be like if it were ruled by reason, and it does a good job of laying out different ways for it to be structured, though these plans amount to nothing concrete.

My problem with Plato is his treatment of poets. Socrates banishes them early on in the book because they aren't to be trusted. Aristotle would later say that poetry can be instructive, contrary to Plato's belief that they represent the indulgence of the passions. I believe that the passions, whether or not they are indulgent, are a key part of what it means to be human. Being in touch with them is what makes a human whole. Plato also offers an image of the soul: he believes that the part called reason should guide the passionate part, which is helped by the use of will. I love this image because it represents an ideal we all strive for in every aspect of life. That is, how to guide your passion for something into something productive. I think that being in touch with an emotion helps this even more.
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