Plato: Republic – Book Report/Review Example

The paper "Plato: The Republic" is a worthy example of a philosophy book review.
Plato in his Republic shares his ideas on an ideal state and purports that philosopher-kings are better entitled to govern his ideal state. Learning, for Plato, is of utmost importance; he makes it clear that “the form of good is the most important thing to learn about” (Plato 179, 505a) and for his knowledge is the greatest good that one can possess. Therefore, it is necessary that one should have the discretion to discern what is really good and what is merely thought to be good in his/her pursuit for the good. In this respect, the opinions of the people who do not have knowledge of the good are blind, shameful and ugly (Plato 180, 506c). Plato goes on to add that “the being” is the right offspring of good; one need to grasp what is intelligible and what is visible in each form of the being. The soul should have the power to know whether something is either illuminated by truth or dimmed by obscurity; however, the form of good is superior to both truth and knowledge as they are caused by the form of good. Plato goes on to point out the distinction between images and hypothesis and arranges the process of perception into four subsections: “understanding for the highest, thought for the second, belief for the third, and imaging for the last” (Plato 185, 511d). Belief and imaging contribute to opinion whereas knowledge and thought to contribute to intellect; similarly, “opinion is concerned with becoming, intellect with being” (Plato 206, 534a).
In Book VII the author continues to argue that it is the form of good that offers the visible and the knowable realm beauty, light, truth, and understanding. Plato then moves on to the goal, need, and significance of education in the lives of individuals. For him, the potential to learn is inherent in every individual and the laws of the land should be conducive enough to bring “the citizens into harmony with each other through persuasion or compulsion” (Plato 191-192, 519e). Plato, at this juncture, entrusts the philosopher kings to govern the state as they have “seen the truth about fine, just, and good things” and are able to “know each image for what it is and also that of which it is the image” (Plato 192, 520c). The author then goes on to describe the training of philosopher kings. The philosopher kings at first need to be educated in music, poetry and physical training. Besides, they should have sound knowledge in number and calculation, geometry, astronomy, and dialectic. Plato holds that calculation, geometry and other preliminary education to develop dialectic should be offered in the childhood itself. In short, Plato wants his rulers to be both warriors and philosophers; having undergone training in all the above-mentioned disciplines and having known the form of good, such leaders need to govern other people in his ideal republic.