Plato's Critique of Impure Reason
On Goodness and Truth in the Republic
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: The Catholic University of America Press
Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication
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There are many people to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for this book. Eric Perl was the one who first opened up the riches of Plato to me, which have since seemed inexhaustible. Though he does not have responsibility for the fruits it bore in this particular case, what he taught me has continued to...
Note on Text and List of Abbreviations
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The Greek text of the Republic used is from Plato, Respublica, edited by S. R. Slings (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). All other Greek texts are cited from the volumes in the Loeb Classical Library. Unless otherwise indicated, citations of Plato in English are from translations contained in the...
Introduction. Misology and the Modern Academy
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When we debate an issue with someone, we spontaneously offer reasons for one position or another, and we expect that these have some claim on the other person’s assent. If our reasons are strong, we generally assume that some assent is required, unless the person can produce stronger reasons for...
1. A Logic of Violence
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The Republic begins (at least) twice; after the relatively independent and yet incomplete mini-dialogue of book I, book II starts with an explicit da capo. Even once the conversation is underway, restarts and revisions occur repeatedly. The dialogue, it seems, runs into difficulty finding the right...
2. With Good Reason
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The Republic stands out among all of Plato’s dialogues, not merely because it seems to be the apex and flower of his mature period, not merely because it gathers together into a single dialogue many of the issues that appear separately in other works, but also because it sets for itself the most...
3. Breaking In
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An image is volatile by nature. It is not simply a thing lying next to other things, because its own reality does not simply belong to it but lies in part elsewhere. We look through a photograph of a loved one as much as we look at it, in the sense that our attention moves to the person that we know...
4. On Being Invisible
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“So I turned around, and Socrates was nowhere to be seen.” Plato often refers to the realm of being, in contrast to the realm of becoming, as invisible, beyond manifestation to the physical senses. At the same time, however, Plato will affirm that the higher realm of being is the one that is the brightest...
5. The Truth Is Defenseless
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The Republic introduces the philosopher in the guise of a guardian. The beneficiary of this guardianship is, of course, the ideal city. But the philosopher’s task raises an immediate question: against whom does the philosopher guard the city? A “real” city must protect itself against its...
Coda: Restoring Appearances
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Raphael’s famous painting The School of Athens imaginatively illustrates a conventional belief regarding the two greatest Greek thinkers: Plato, the “idealist,” points upward to the heavens; Aristotle, the “realist,” gestures down toward the earth. Plato himself uses the directional metaphor to...
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Page Count: 373
Publication Year: 2011