Blindness and Reorientation: Problems in Plato's Republic

Blindness and Reorientation: Problems in Plato's Republic


By (author) C. D. C. Reeve


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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Hardback | 230 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 236mm x 28mm | 476g
  • Publication date: 15 March 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0199934436
  • ISBN 13: 9780199934430
  • Sales rank: 1,611,170

Product description

Are the just happier than the unjust? In Plato' s Republic, Thrasymachus argues that they aren't, that justice is simply the advantage of the stronger. Though Socrates apparently refutes him, Plato's brothers, Glaucon and Adeimantus, take up his argument anew, challenging Socrates to show them that justice really does better further happiness than injustice. The nature of this renewed challenge and the reason for it are hotly debated problems. Equally problematic is the question of whether Socrates succeeds in meeting the challenge in the crucial case of the philosopher-kings, whom he claims are happiest of all. Central to his attempt is a complex tripartite psychology and the yet more complex the metaphysics and epistemology of transcendent Platonic forms. But just how these are to be understood or how knowledge of such forms could help the philosopher-kings with the practical business of governing a city also remain deeply problematic issues. Beginning with a discussion of Socrates in the Apology, and his portrait by Alcibiades in the Symposium, and proceeding to topics more directly within the Republic itself, Blindness and Reorientation develops not just powerful new solutions to these problems, but a new understanding of Plato's conception of philosophy, its relationship to craft-knowledge, and the roles of dialectic and experience within it. Written in a clear and vivid style, C. D. C. Reeve's new book will be accessible to any committed reader of Plato.

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Author information

C. D. C. Reeve is Delta Kappa Epsilon Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He works primarily on Plato and Aristotle, but is interested in philosophy generally and has published on film and on the philosophy of sex and love.

Review quote

"Reeve's explorations of problems in the Republic illuminate familiar and unfamiliar places, and in Platonic fashion spark fresh thinking in us about knowledge, beauty and the good. Reeve's deep and easy familiarity with Plato's writing can be felt through this engaging study, which can be enjoyed by readers at several levels of knowledge of Plato."--Julia Annas, University of Arizona"David Reeve's fascinating and beautifully written book on Plato's Republic draws on a lifetime of engagement with the dialogue as both translator and interpreter. Full of insightful and novel ideas on a raft of topics--the cast of characters both on and off stage, the transformation of Socratic philosophy into mature Platonism, erotic love and beauty, moral education and the ascent to the Form of the Good, the Platonic conception of happiness, and much else--this book will appeal to novice and expert alike, both of whom will come away from this delightful read with a deeper knowledge of the Republic."--David Keyt, University of Washington"In his new book David Reeve returns to Plato's Republic, and offers the reader a characteristically provocative menu of fresh perspectives. These include a prefatory look at the Apology's presentation of Socratic wisdom and reconsiderations of eros and beauty (not forgetting sex) in the Symposium. Cephalus (at the start of the Republic) and Odysseus (at its end) are paired in an unusually rewarding treatment. The ultimate goal is illumination of Plato's conception of philosophy and the philosopher, but along the way highlights include masterly chapters on Thrasymachean Realpolitik and the theory of the tripartite soul."--Malcolm Schofield, Emeritus Professor of Ancient Philosophy, University of Cambridge

Table of contents

Introduction ; Acknowledgments ; Abbreviations ; Chapter 1: Human Wisdom ; Chapter 2: Alcibiades and the Socratic Craft of Love ; Chapter 3: Cephalus, Odysseus, and the Importance of Experience ; Chapter 4: Glaucon's Thrasymachean Challenge ; Chapter 5: Souls, Soul-Parts, and Persons ; Chapter 6: Beauty and Goodness, Politics and Genitals ; Chapter 7: Education and the Acquisition of Knowledge ; Chapter 8: Craft, Dialectic, and the Form of the Good ; Chapter 9: The Happiness of the Philosopher-Kings