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A Guide to Plato's Republic [Paperback]

Daryl H. Rice
1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 11, 1997 0195112849 978-0195112849 1St Edition
A Guide to Plato's Republic provides an integral interpretation of the Republic which is accessible even to readers approaching Plato's masterwork for the first time. Written at a level understandable to undergraduates, it is ideal for students and other readers who have little or no background in philosophy or political theory. Rice anticipates their inevitable reactions to the Republic and treats them seriously, opening the way to an appreciation of the complexities of the text without oversimplifying it.
While many books on the Republic never stray far from explicating Plato's text, this work contrasts Plato's responses to perennial issues in philosophy and political theory with those of several key subsequent thinkers. It uses engaging examples to show the continuing relevance of Plato's arguments and introduces some basic vocabulary of philosophy and political theory, going beyond terse dictionary definitions by illustrating what technical terms mean in the context of Plato's work.
The author's interpretative posture is appreciative but respectfully critical of Plato's vision. Stressing the relationship between Plato's politics and metaphysics, Rice argues that Plato's reluctance to accept the reality and consequences of finitude accounts for much of what many readers find objectionable in his politics.
Lively, relatively brief, and designed to provoke discussion in the classroom, A Guide to Plato's Republic is ideal for political theory and introduction to philosophy courses as well as other courses that assign the Republic as a primary text.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An excellent text for beginning students in philosophy, written in a lively, clear, and engaging style."--Gregory F. Weis, University of South Carolina Aiken

"Very useful to undergraduates. Conversational style. Solid interpretations presented."--Verna V. Gehring, Hood College

"Compact, well-integrated basic introduction to the Republic. It should prove an excellent supplementary volume for students working on the Republic in introductory philosophy courses."--Dan O'Bryan, Sierra Nevada College

"This will surely be a helpful guide to a generation of beginning students in philosophy."--Robert L. Perkins, Stetson University

About the Author


Daryl Rice is Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where he teaches political theory and the history of ideas. He has published numerous articles on philosophers ranging from Plato to Rousseau, Whitehead, and Sartre.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1St Edition edition (September 11, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195112849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195112849
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.3 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,769,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A too concise introduction to the Republic July 31, 2002
By Thomas
Format:Paperback
This book is clearly written, and broadens the debate towards later philosophers who were inspired by the Republic. As to the fact/value distinction (see the previous review of this book), it was indeed not used by Plato (as Rice correctly explains) since it is Hume who is credited with creating these concepts.
Rice writes on p. 22:
"Plato does not divide the cosmos into a world of facts, which we can know through the senses disciplined through the methods of the sciences, and a world of values, which we can know through normative inquiry. Rather, the whole cosmos is a moral one through and through; NATURE (the Greek word is Physis) includes not only facts such as those regarding water, but also facts about values, and sure knowledge of nature only comes through philosophy."
But this book is to short to be of any real use for an in-depth reading of the Republic. For example the crucial allegory of the Cave is only discussed in 1 & 1/2 pages. The best guides for a serious study of the Republic remain, in my opinion, Julia Annas' and Nicholas White's.
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14 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Is this a Just Book? February 11, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is a horrible book. Rice claims on page 22 that Plato did not understand the fact/value distinction. This is absurb; moreover, it is Rice who is baffled by the fact/value distinction as is evidenced in the example he gives. He says water has two hydrogen molecules for every one oxygen molecule. He calls this a fact. He says a chemistry professor who stated that this was unjust, would be making a 'value' statement, an absurb normative arguement since tha 'fact' is so obvious. But is it? In truth, the 'fact' of H2O is a product of a 'value'; the scientific or philosophical 'value' that originated in Greece before Socrates and was made possible for human beings through the life and work of Thales, Socrates, Plato et al. The 'value' to look at water in a scientific way- to discover it's molecular composition, as opposed to simply drinking it or worshipping it, as is still done today by Priests who sprinkle drops on the head of newborns in front of church congregations, is the philsophic 'value'. Plato understood the fact/value distinction and rejected it. He tried to define philosophy as a search for truth, a serch for what is, this 'value' precedes any 'fact'. Again, on page 22, ice moronically states that Plato thought values were facts. Garbage! Plato articulated the exact opposite opinion, he struggled to show 'facts' were 'values'. This is what is radical about philosophy and why Socrates had to die at the hands of the state, he undermined common beliefs, religious myths and laws. Rice has inherited this endevour without fully understanding t's origins. He has no right to interpret 'The Republic', if right is understood as being correct or accurate. He impairs direct access to Plato's texts by skewing the words with his own unexamined prejudices. Read more ›
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