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Publisher's Summary

The Republic poses questions that endure: What is justice? What form of community fosters the best possible life for human beings? What is the nature and destiny of the soul? What form of education provides the best leaders for a good republic? What are the various forms of poetry and the other arts, and which ones should be fostered and which ones should be discouraged? How does knowing differ from believing?

Several characters in the dialogue present a variety of tempting answers to those questions. Cephalus, Polemarchus, Thrasymachus, and Glaucon all offer definitions of justice. Socrates, Glaucon, and Adeimantus explore five different forms of republic and evaluate the merits of each from the standpoint of goodness.

Two contrasting models of education are proposed and examined. Three different forms of poetry are identified and analyzed. The difference between knowing and believing is discussed in relation to the objects of each kind of thinking.

© Agora Publications

Public Domain (P)2015 Agora, New Internet Technologies

Featured Article: 20 Best Philosophy Audiobooks for Getting Lost in Thought


Philosophy asks and analyzes the questions that have pressed on humankind for centuries: What does it mean to be human? Why are we here? How should we relate to each other? From ancient to contemporary times, these questions have been answered with varying, and sometimes contradictory, schools of thought. Draw parallels across time to dive deep into questions about the fundamental nature of our reality on macro and micro levels alike.

What listeners say about Plato's Republic

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Benjamin Jowett Translation, Ray Childs Narration

If you could sum up Plato's Republic in three words, what would they be?
Know Thy Self

What other book might you compare Plato's Republic to and why?
The Republic is probably an amalgam of all the Socratic dialogues rolled into one. The goal here, as in other Socratic dialogues, is not to establish a dogmatic system, but to take the reader/listener on a philosophical journey to consider classic questions in a fully human sort of way. Humanist and other terms like this become more clear when you consider what it is to be fully human.

Socrates was certainly trying to explore what it is to be more fully human, and the natural role of virtue and philosophy in the quest to become more fully achieved as a human being. In this particular dialogue, that takes the form of considering the ideal human being and comparing that to the ideal state ("the Republic"), and seeing the ways in which these are not really different things, as each is evident in the other. The state is evident in each individual citizen and each individual citizen is evident in some way within the manifestations of the state.

In the Republic, however, the ideal may be less a static ideal than a journey toward questioning and public discourse. I think that can be the only real "goal" of this text if read carefully enough. Many arguments which Socrates seems to be making are quickly and casually cast aside. This should be taken as a clue that Socrates is not pre-determined on a set destination but rather a discourse that is rather open-ended. I do believe that the end goal is simply to allow us the readers/listeners to become more thoughtful and considerate beings, to acknowledge the importance of balance and harmony as the ancients reportedly did.

It is noteworthy here, as elsewhere that Plato's Socrates often refers to Homer as a corrupting force, interested in telling exciting, juicy tales rather than improving the soul of Man, which Socrates claims is of the utmost importance for a great storyteller. It is only in this vein that he sometimes explores the possibility of creating "noble lies" that could help to create better human beings who steer clear of vices and toward virtue.

Have you listened to any of Ray Childs’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
There are more difficult patches early on where it proved to me the value of sitting in a quiet comfortable place to concentrate fully on this seminal text concerning Public Discourse which becomes important throughout all later Continental (and especially German Idealist) philosophy.

In general, Childs is a rather loving narrator. He doesn't rush except when he is trying to fully bring to the surface the passion of his understanding of the dialogue in play.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I know I always tend to become more reflective when I engage a Socratic dialogue. No laughing or crying so much as an appreciation of the ancient Greeks after Socrates. They thought so sanely and deeply about the true nature and impulses at work in the manifestations of virtue and vice. All Socratic-influenced schools seem to me to be the core of what philosophy is supposed to be, an activity that makes one better, stronger, more focused, more alive. Tonic for the spirit, soother of the soul.

Any additional comments?
TRANSLATION INFO:

A Plato scholar has informed me that this is the
Benjamin Jowett translation, revised by Albert A. Anderson.

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BEWARE: shortened version

It was read well, but beware this is not a full reading of the Republic. It gets the main arguments across, but it leaves out lines including some of the more historically famous lines.

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Spectacular

What a wonderful performance - infused by the excitement, energy, and wit of real conversation. The actors do a wonderful job of bringing the book, and its subtle interlocking chains of argument, to life. A first-rate performance of one of the world's greatest books. I'll be listening to this one again.

24 people found this helpful

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A great way to enjoy The Republic

I've read Plato's Republic about a half dozen times over the course of my life. This audible version brought out many great things I never noticed before. Fantastic.

28 people found this helpful

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Timeless wisdom

To understand the present sometimes you have to seek out the wisdom of the past. While this may have been written 2500 years ago it shows that the human condition truly is cyclical and that human nature doesn't evolve as much as it revolves around a few core precepts. If we are to protect our way of life we need more people who will seek wisdom for the love of wisdom. It is only through these true philosophers that our societies can reach there fullest potential.

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best translation ever

I'm really enjoying this translation and the way it's been presented here with a cast of characters. It really helps to hear this as a dialogue.

I'm wondering if anyone might know who the translator was for this edition? I've checked out a few and so far, no luck. Allan Bloom seems to be the most recent as far as I've found, but that one's not it either.

anyone?

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Timeless

It's amazing how relevant the discussion is to the issues of today. I found myself constantly being able to relate to the arguments and apply the resolutions to my own personal questions of justice and the rule of man. The performance was captivating! It was more of a discussion than a story and each of the men had a different actor which made me feel as if I was sitting in the room with them. Overall I feel much wiser after listening and know these conclusions will strengthen my soul.

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Great Book and great narration

Really enjoyed the narration. I especially like the background cheers and laughters, it made listening to this book more enjoyable for me.

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  • M
  • 12-16-18

not what I expected.

I was disappointed by how much nonsense is in this book. There are some impressive nuggets but overall it's only impressive because it's so ancient.

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The best way to experience it

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have friends who are avid readers that had issues getting through reading the first parts of this book so I opted for audio and I was really glad that I did. The whole book keeps building upon itself and the voice actors are great and make everything more intriguing. If you know about certain things before hand you get to hear them in practice and how effective they can be at swaying people's opinions, for example the Socratic method. Along with other ancient books you can really see that nothing is new under the sun and great minds were able to accurately summarize what would happen if governments took certain paths and if certain types of people held power. Well, social norms are being broken down and "progress" is being forced for no other reason than "moving somewhere" or "It's [insert current year]". There is so much to learn from this book and if you read other philosophical books such as Marcus Aurelius Memoirs, books that explain control and power, and even some psychology books you will hopefully begin to see how those in power are destroying that which is "just" in our society by manipulating feelings and other sophisms. Remember that next time you read a clickbait headline or see something strange in a movie or tv show. This should almost be required reading, or listening, in school but since it showcases some commonplace lies I don't think that will happen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lu Han
  • 03-01-20

Wonderful performance

This audiobook is like listening to a drama performance, very engaging and enjoyable. Thank you for making this.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Jim Wang
  • 03-02-20

Exceptional Narration

Many have struggled with how Republic is written, since it's mostly dialogues.
Thus the audio book version, where different characters are narrated by different actors excellently, is the most pleasant way to enjoy the content of Plato's Republic.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Yahyaa Chishti
  • 07-07-21

Great first listen

This is my first audible book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was a sceptic of this method of reading but was converted by this listen. Always interested in reading Plato and I was not disappointed. The dialogue worked well and the voice actors did a good job.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-20-21

Essential classic.

A must for the person who wants to understand the fundaments of society and politics.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-07-21

A compelling performance of the work.

Easy to listen to and well performed. Some of these ideas are very hard to get your head around so it's necessary to have them read aloud with correct emphasis.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-03-20

yeah I thought it was pretty cool

not found of how it ends, the story of seeing the afterlife feels out of place with the description of the republic. maybe I missed something, overall, Dope :)

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  • Anthony W.
  • 10-07-20

A philosophy must read

This book lays the foundations for moral ethics and gives guidance of how to live just and why you should do so. Great book

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  • Matthew Sutcliffe
  • 09-13-20

Exactly what I hoped it would be

Even 2,400 years on, the wisdom of Socrates, as expressed by Plato, provides plenty of food for thought on the nature of justice, good & evil, and the ideal society. While some of the views expressed may be rather outdated today (surprise surprise), the logical reasoning and debating skills of Socrates is captivating, and much of the questions of society still resonate today.

Since the book plays as a dialogue between several Athenians, it lends itself perfectly to the audiobook format and the superb narration makes it feel like you're listening to a very natural conversation rather than people reading from a script. You can almost visualise these toga-wearing gentlemen sitting beneath a tree somewhere in 4th century BCE Athens.

Very easy to listen to and very gripping for anyone interested in logical reasoning, debating, philosophy, or society.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-02-20

EXCEPTIONAL!

If you ever forget that we owe it all to the Greeks this book and Socrates are a great reminder.

A glimpse into the distance Greeks have pushed their thought into what we have the luxury of taking for granted today.

Special note to the narration which as mentioned in the title is EXCEPTIONAL. easily the best narration i have come across.

highly recomend.

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  • Robert Burns
  • 05-26-20

Excellent performance

Having different actors playing different roles greatly increases the sense that you are listening to a
dialogue.It also shows the humour that is often missed by a plodding delivery.

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  • Rowan
  • 04-24-17

A classic, be mindful of translation bias.

This performance brings this old masterpiece to life. The translator was a devout catholic and unfortunately some dogma and religious ideology has been woven into some of the spiritual concepts. It doesn't ruin the message but it does distract from it, it's well to be aware at all times that this text is translated from Ancient Greek, and the original meaning may be somewhat masked, think loosely on concepts and not too fixed on specific vocabulary.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Stuart Morgan
  • 01-10-21

pretty boring to be honest

just 2 people talking, some interesting opinions and intellectual arguments but there is little resistance for the protagonist.