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Ancient Philosophy


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Agoraz An Audio Approach to Philosophy

See Why Dialogue?

Plato's Republic, Books One & Two (Audiotape; audio CD; booklet)
Plato's Republic, Books Seven & Eight Two (Audiotape; audio CD)
Plato's Republic, Books Nine & Ten (Audiotape; audio CD)

The advantages of these recordings is that one can absorb the rhythm of the dialogue as it is discussed in the streets and as it might have been lived in Athens. It helps the auditory learner grasp the essential flow of these masterpieces of western civilization.

 Book One presents a discussion of the nature of justice by Socrates, the aging Cephalus, his son Polemarchus, and the sophist Thrasymachus.

In Book Two, Plato's brothers challenge Socrates to convince them that a just life is preferable to an unjust life with power, fame, and riches.

They imagine different ways of creating the best possible human life. First they consider a republic based on health and simplicity, then one based on wealth and luxury.

Their analysis of economic and political reality introduces the division of labor, the origin of war, a common currency, and basic principles for educating the young. The goal of this quest is to reveal the foundations of justice and injustice and evaluate their merits.

 Book Seven begins with the Allegory of the Cave, an exploration of the natural process of being educated. Socrates and Glaucon probe the meaning of this story both as it relates to the discussion of knowledge and reality developed earlier and to the concept of dialectic, the overall method of Plato's dialogues.

Throughout Plato's Republic we confront the ways in which the republic and the individual mirror and create each other. In Book Eight Socrates and Plato's brothers explore five different kinds of republic and five different kinds of individual, showing how aristocracy becomes timocracy and how oligarchy spawns democracy, ending with the evolution of tyranny.

Books 9 & 10 The concluding books of Plato's Republic reveal the entire dialogue in a new perspective. In Book Nine the nature and goodness of the soul and its true relationship to public life are considered. Socrates returns to Glaucon's earlier challenge to justify the claim that a just life is superior to an unjust life. He does that by showing the life of tyrants compared to a life devoted to the love of wisdom.

In Book Ten the role of poetry and the other arts are examined and placed in the overall context of the best human life. The dialogue concludes with the Myth of Er, a story about a warrior who is killed in battle, travels to another world, and returns to tell a wonderful tale about life and death.

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