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The Republic by Plato
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Translated by Benjamin Jowett


The Republic of Plato is the longest of his works with the exception of the
Laws, and is certainly the greatest of them. There are nearer approaches
to modern metaphysics in the Philebus and in the Sophist; the Politicus or
Statesman is more ideal; the form and institutions of the State are more
clearly drawn out in the Laws; as works of art, the Symposium and the
Protagoras are of higher excellence. But no other Dialogue of Plato has
the same largeness of view and the same perfection of style; no other shows
an equal knowledge of the world, or contains more of those thoughts which
are new as well as old, and not of one age only but of all. Nowhere in
Plato is there a deeper irony or a greater wealth of humour or imagery, or
more dramatic power. Nor in any other of his writings is the attempt made
to interweave life and speculation, or to connect politics with philosophy.
The Republic is the centre around which the other Dialogues may be grouped;
here philosophy reaches the highest point (cp, especially in Books V, VI,
VII) to which ancient thinkers ever attained. Plato among the Greeks, like
Bacon among the moderns, was the first who conceived a method of knowledge,
although neither of them always distinguished the bare outline or form from
the substance of truth; and both of them had to be content with an
abstraction of science which was not yet realized. He was the greatest