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The Republic Of Plato: Second Edition [Paperback]

By Allan Bloom (Author)
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Item description for The Republic Of Plato: Second Edition by Allan Bloom...

A model for the ideal state includes discussions of the nature and application of justice, the role of the philosopher in society, the goals of education, and the effects of art upon character

Publishers Description
Long regarded as the most accurate rendering of "Plato's Republic" that has yet been published, this widely acclaimed work is the first strictly literal translation of a timeless classic. This second edition includes a new introduction by Professor Bloom, whose careful translation and interpretation of "The Republic" was first published in 1968. In addition to the corrected text itself there is also a rich and valuable essay--as well as indexes--which will better enable the reader to approach the heart of Plato's intention.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Republic Of Plato: Second Edition by Allan Bloom has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Public Library Catalog - 01/01/1998 page 674

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Basic Books
Pages   487
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.5" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 3, 1991
Publisher   Basic Books
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0465069347  
ISBN13  9780465069347  

Availability  0 units.

More About Allan Bloom

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Allan Bloom is professor of social thought at the University of Chicago. The author of many books, including The Closing of the American Mind, he is also the translator of Rousseau's Emile (Basic Books, 1979).

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Republic Of Plato: Second Edition?

Indispensable  Jun 7, 2008
Bloom's essay is possibly the best commentary on Plato I've read. An overly simple summary is that he suggests many of Socrates' proposals were intentionally preposterous, with the aim of leading his interlocutors to grasp that no truly legitimate political system is possible, and that the best course for individuals is to tend their souls, necessarily within a polity, going along with its requirements as necessary, but avoiding involvement in it as much as possible. He also suggests that much of what Socrates says is not a definite political program, but directed to the particular characters of his interlocutors (Glaucon and Adeimantus) to lead them towards philosophy and away from their particular weaknesses (as Socrates saw them).

Bloom makes a very good case for this interpretation, which I've grossly oversimplified (and left important parts out). There'll never be an end to the debate, but this essay is one to be reckoned with by anyone interested in the Republic. Regarding the translation, it's very precise; someone with a little knowledge of Greek can often see the Greek through the English. This makes for less flowing language; with a lesser dialogue such as the Euthyphro I prefer a more literary translation, but it seems appropriate for such an important work. As for the Republic itself:

In the West, at least, this is the touchstone of all political philosophy, and Plato pretty much covered all the issues people have been fighting and arguing about since people started wondering how societies should be organized and governed. It's easy to say that Plato's ideal state is nutty beyond imagination, but that misses the point. He asked the questions that really matter, and just about all of them, and considered them deeply and carefully, and then came up with his nutty system. (It's for us to ponder what he meant us to consider carefully, to accept, to reject, and what was humor).

We live in a largely unquestioning age - maybe virtually everyone has. But it's hard for, say, a modern American to read Plato's assessment of the relative merits and demerits of different political systems and come away with the kind of mindless idolization of "democracy" with which we're inundated by politicians and the media. It's easy to say Plato's system is goofy, but do you ever hear anyone in America publicly saying, "Democracy has a lot of serious weaknesses, one of them being its tendency to develop a pitifully dumbed-down culture." Or, "Elites provide some real benefits to society, as does an aristocratic element." Could these ideas have some merit? Well, we never even get that far since they're too blasphemous for our society (even though they're partially built into our Constitution).

It's funny how open-minded we consider our modern selves, but when's the last time you heard a serious, thoughtful critique of modern liberal democracy (as opposed to a silly neo-Marxist rant)? Plato had the courage, the detachment, and the brilliance to give his honest assessments of the various systems (honest but not straightforward, with much irony, overstatement, paradox, intentional contradiction and crucial matter between the lines), to compare them and then judge them. His purpose, at least apparently, had little to do with an agenda other than asking a question - what might constitute good government? And not only good, but the best? Those questions require asking and answering questions about human nature and the nature of social relationships.

Plato asks so well and considers so well, and so comprehensively, that his ideal system (regardless of whether he was even very serious about it) isn't the issue. What is good government? What is virtue? Was there genuine legitimacy in the founding of any existing states? Is truly legitimate government possible in this world? And, depending on the answers, how should we live? Plato doesn't provide the answers, at least not overtly. The significance, I think, is that he gets us to consider all the important questions he considers, many of which we otherwise probably wouldn't have considered, and among other things to then uncover our unexamined assumptions and prejudices and reassess them.
Correcting two reviewers  Jun 3, 2008
Just a note to correct two reviewers who praise Alan Bloom's translation of The Republic on this page. This edition was translated by Francis M. Cornford, a classics scholar at Cambridge University in the 20th century, not by Prof. Bloom. While I'm sure Alan Bloom's translation is deservedly praised by the two reviewers, their reviews should be removed and placed on the review page for the correct edition.
Nice Translation!  Apr 8, 2008
The translation is superb! The notes are outstanding! Get this book if you want the most out of the Republic!
Great Political Theory and Philosophy  Feb 6, 2008
The main arguments of The Republic are so well known that they hardly need restatement in this review. The central issues in this book are of great importance, but one should also take note of the side issues that Plato raises in political theory and philosophy.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this book is its coverage of issues in theoretical politics. The Republic covers so much ground in Political Theory and Political Philosophy that it is hard to see any other great thinker as completely original. Plato hinted at or mentioned ideas in politics later developed by Rousseau, Marx, Nietche, Hayek... All political theorists should cite Plato, because he thought of practically everything of importance in political theory.

Personally, I find Rousseau more interesting as a pure political philosopher, but that is not saying much. Rousseau was an absolute genius. Plato had brilliant insights in political philosophy, and he anticipated important elements of Rousseau's work anyway.

The Republic does have an Achilles heel: economics (or political economy). The problem here is not so much that he was wrong about economics, but rather than he passed over this subject. Much of what Plato wrote about his ideal Republic is hard to defend in light of economic theory. Some might think me unfair for criticizing Plato by modern standards, but general economic laws were neither different nor unintelligible in Plato's time. Furthermore, Aristotle had a few insights that fit with what we now know as economics. How could someone as brilliant as Plato not see the issues in his book from "the economic point of view"? After all, key elements of modern economics boil down to common sense. Furthermore, there are subtleties to modern economics that raise serious problems with his idea of rule by a philosopher-king.

The lack of economic reasoning in The Republic does not really detract much from its greatness. Given the situation in the ancient world, it was only natural that great thinkers would focus on politics, and pass over economics. Economic issues did not really become apparent until the first wave of Globalozation began, so Plato should have focused on politics instead. That being said, Plato's Republic stands as THE most important book of Political Theory ever written.

This edition of The Republic is important because it includes Alan Blooms interpretive essay. Bloom makes you think more deeply about Plato. This book is a must-have for anyone with serious interest in political or interdisciplinary academic interests.
Best Literal Translation  Dec 21, 2007
Thank you Dr. Bloom,
i'll simply say i've never enjoyed reading the Republic that much. It's indeed the best literal translation for such a great work, and i encourage everyone to have it.

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