The Republic of Plato: Volume 1, Books I-V Plato Plato Author
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Description

The Republic of Plato touches on so many problems of human life and thought, and appeals to so many diverse types of mind and character, that an editor cannot pretend to have exhausted its significance by means of a commentary. In one sense of the term, indeed, there can never be a definitive or final interpretation of the Republic: for the Republic is one of those few works of genius which have a perennial interest and value for the human race; and in every successive generation those in whom man's inborn passion for ideals is not quenched, will claim the right to interpret the fountain-head of idealism for themselves, in the light of their own experience and needs. But in another sense of the word, every commentator on the Republic believes in the possibility of a final and assured interpretation,- and it is this belief which is at once the justification and the solace of his labours. Without desiring in any way to supersede that personal apprehension of Platonism through which alone it has power to cleanse and reanimate the individual soul, we cannot too strongly insist that certain particular images and conceptions, to the exclusion of others, were present in the mind of Plato as he wrote. These images, and these conceptions, it is the duty and province of an editor to elucidate, in the first instance, by a patient and laborious study of Plato's style and diction, divesting himself, as far as may be, of every personal prejudice and predilection. The sentiment should then be expounded and explained, wherever possible, by reference to other passages in the Republic and the rest of Plato's writings, and afterwards from other Greek authors, particularly those who wrote before or during the lifetime of Plato.

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