The Cambridge Companion to Plato's "Republic" provides a fresh and comprehensive account of this outstanding work, which remains among the most frequently read works of Greek philosophy, indeed of Classical antiquity in general. The sixteen essays, by authors who represent various academic disciplines, bring a spectrum of interpretive approaches to bear in order to aid the understanding of a wide-ranging audience, from first-time readers of The Republic who require guidance to more experienced readers who wish to explore contemporary currents in the work's interpretation. The three initial chapters address aspects of the work as a whole. They are followed by essays that match closely the sequence in which topics are presented in the ten books of The Republic. As The Republic returns frequently to the same topics by different routes, so do the authors of this volume, who provide the readers with divergent yet complementary perspectives by which to appreciate The Republic's principal concerns.
His interests include contemporary moral and political philosophy, as well as the ethics and political thought of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. He is the author of Against Absolute Goodness (Oxford: 2011) and What is Good and Why: The Ethics of Well-Being (Harvard, 2007). His historical studies include Socrates and the State (Princeton: 1984), Aristotle on the Human Good (Princeton: 1989), Aristotle Politics Books VII and VIII , translation with commentary (Clarendon: 1997), Aristotle: Political Philosophy (Oxford: 2002), and How to Read Plato (Granta: 2008). He is the editor of the Cambridge Companion to Plato (1992), Plato's Republic: Critical Essays(Rowman & Littlefield, 1997), and the Blackwell Guide to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (2006). He served as President of the Central Division of the American Philosophical Association in 1993-4, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Center for Hellenic Studies. He served from 2002 to 2004 as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association. In 2006 he became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the Starr Fellowship of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, for 2008-09.
The Cambridge Companion to Plato
Limited preview - 1992
With regard to these issues, the dominant view in "A Cambridge Companion to Plato" is something I would call Platonic Fundamentalism: "Socrates says what Plato means, and he means what he says" (this is after the Christian Fundamentalist credo: "The Bible says what it means and it means what it says").
Like any philosophy textbook, The Cambridge Companion to Plato can, at times, be dense. I won't recommend it for everbody; a hearty interest in learning philosophy is definately required. However, I've found it to be one of the finest introductions to Plato in his philosophy. It provides a good foundation for actual reading of Plato's texts, which is the next logical step beyond this book. It is also perfect for those who wish to gain a working understanding of Plato's view of the world but, like me, simply do not have the patience to garner it from Plato's own work.