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The Republic


Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions & Essay Topics

full title  ·  The Republic

author  · Plato

philosophical movement  · Plato was his own philosophical movement, known as “Platonism.”

language  · Ancient Greek

time and place written  · Plato wrote The Republic in Athens around 380 B.C.

speaker  · As in nearly all of Plato’s works, Socrates acts as Plato’s mouthpiece.

areas of philosophy covered  · Though The Republic is primarily concerned with defining and defending justice, it is in no way limited to ethics and political philosophy. It also presents bold and fascinating theories in the fields of epistemology and metaphysics.

philosophical movements opposed  · Plato’s main opposition in The Republic is the Sophists.

other works by plato on similar topics  · For more on Plato’s political theory see the Laws. For more on his theory of Forms see the Meno, the Phaedo, and the Symposium.

More Help

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"Understanding" is Wrong Term

by JohnUebersax, August 28, 2014

The definitions on this list are mostly helpful, but the term "Understanding" is incorrect and misleading. The highest grade of cognitive activity in Plato's fourfold epistemological scheme is, in Greek, "noesis." In English this should be called Intellection, Higher Reason, or simply Noesis. To call it Understanding badly confuses things because of the myriad unrelated meanings and senses of "understanding" in English.


by JohnUebersax, August 29, 2014

Similarly, what the list above calls "Reason" would be better termed ratiocination, calculation, reasoning, or lower reason. To simply call this faculty Reason confounds two distinct faculties: ratiocination (dianoia) and Higher Reason (nous or Nous). Ratiocination is somewhat like the ability that animals have to think and plan. It is the Higher Reason that is associated with mans immortal soul, and on which basis, according to Plato, man may attain "likeness to God insofar as possible."


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Spouse Selection

by jhodder, October 25, 2015

Spouses in the republic are not drawn by lot, as is asserted in the summary for Book V. Rather, they are chosen so that 'bronze-souled' individuals will be paired off with other bronze-souled individuals, and gold-souled with other gold-souled. The idea of the lottery is a lie fabricated by the framers of the city to placate citizens.

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