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Monday, November 30, 2015

Republic by Plato (380 BC)

I have been reading Ancient Philosophers with my youngest son this semester, and I have discovered that there is a very good reason that I have not read any of them prior to now.  I have absolutely no idea what they are saying, for the most part.
Luckily for my son, he is in a class and has a wonderful professor who has boundless enthusiasm for her subject matter and for teaching, but I am largely not benefiting from any of that.  So foe me, I am left to struggle with the material and hope that I can glean a thing or two from it.
The Republic is one of Plato's great works, one where his own philosophy and world view emerge from behind Socrates, the philosopher he is often writing about.  Plato has some very good ideas in The Republic, whereby he thinks that great differences in wealth are not good for society, and that everyone should have an education and a role to play.  The bad news is that he is pretty much a complete fascist about who can do what, structuring a strict class system, eliminating the role of the family, and instituting  a book ban that is more strict than any I have ever heard--and sacrilegious to boot.  Quite a shocking book, all in all. 

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