Posted 6 years ago on Dec. 3, 2011, 3:30 p.m. EST by sallyc
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The Republic, is the supreme product of Plato's most mature years, thought, and style. It contains virtually the entire universe of Plato's philosophy.
The word "republic" is from Latin: Res publica means "public matters" or "the state." In Greek, the title was the Politeia, which means the Constitution. But the Republic does not start out about politics. It is initially a familiar kind of Socratic dialogue about justice, just as the Euthyphro is about piety and the Meno is about virtue. The Republic is divided into ten Books. Each of these was originally what would fit onto one papyrus scroll. [By late Roman times, the scrolls were cut up and sewn together into codices, or the kind of bound books that we continue to use.] The entire first Book of the Republic may originally have been one of the standard early dialogues that Plato wrote about Socrates. Later it was expanded. Unusual features of the dialogue, however, are (1) that Socrates [note well that Plato continues to use Socrates to speak Plato's ideas in all his mature works] actually narrates the entire thing, (2) that he speaks with a large number of people, not just one, (3) that these include two brothers of Plato himself (Glaucon and Adeimantus), and (4) that, after the dialogue about justice proceeds in the fashion that we expect of Socrates, things take an unexpected turn: One of the characters, the sophist Thrasymachus, begins to object that he knows quite well what justice is, and that the kinds of definitions the others have been giving are nonsense. +++training web page http://tinyurl.com/7rvpv43