Individual Fulfillment (Not Social Engineering) In Plato’s Republic

Idealistic Studies 13 (3):240-248 (1983)
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Anyone even vaguely familiar with Plato’s Republic “knows” that it embodies Plato’s vision of the ideal society, a vision remarkably like the Brave New World. A vast tradition of scholarship reinforces this view of Plato. In what follows I will offer an alternative reading of the Republic. Rather than criticizing proponents of the more traditional view, objections to the tradition will be made by implication from defending what I take to be a most reasonable interpretation of the Republic: far from trying to show an ideal society which is the means to the good life, Plato’s point in the Republic is to establish that the good life rests on our intrinsic nature. In other words, the dialogue is not Plato’s blueprint for the perfect government. Quite to the contrary, it is a masterfully cohesive argument establishing the intrinsic goodness of individual self-rule guided by the love of wisdom.



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