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Lesson 5 Part 2: Plato's Republic

We move on to Plato's "Republic". The subject is justice. Socrates investigates the nature of justice by envisioning a kind of Utopia, an ideal society, in which justice shall be evident because it is writ large – in the fabric of the City – and small – in the interstices of our very Souls. But we don’t get to that in our actual Plato reading, which is only Book I of "Republic". That’s like Chapter 1. There are 10 Books in all. In Book I Socrates debates three figures – the father, son and the sophist – each of whom has rather inadequate notions of justice, so it seems. Why read Book I by itself (apart from the fact that we obviously don’t have time to read the whole thing?) It works pretty well as a stand-alone text. It’s self-contained, even though Book 2 cracks it open to start over again. (Maybe originally it was written to stand alone, and only later Plato wrote the rest as a sequel? That’s just guessing.) In my commentary, and in the video lectures, I try to tell you what you need to know about "Republic", as a whole, to help frame this first bit of it.

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