Plato: The Statesman

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 23, 1995 - History - 89 pages
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The Statesman is Plato's neglected political work, but it is crucial for an understanding of the development of his political thinking. In some respects it continues themes from the Republic, particularly the importance of knowledge as entitlement to rule. But there are also changes: Plato has dropped the ambitious metaphysical synthesis of the Republic, changed his view of the moral psychology of the citizen, and revised his position on the role of law and institutions. In its presentation of the statesman's expertise, the Statesman modifies, as well as defending in original ways, this central theme of the Republic. This new translation is based on the revised Oxford Text of Plato and makes accessible the dialogue to students of political thought in clear and contemporary language. The introduction sets the argument in the context of the development of Plato's thought, and outlines the philosophical and historical background necessary for a full understanding of the text, particularly for a political theory readership.
 

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About the author (1995)

Plato was born c. 427 B.C. in Athens, Greece, to an aristocratic family very much involved in political government. Pericles, famous ruler of Athens during its golden age, was Plato's stepfather. Plato was well educated and studied under Socrates, with whom he developed a close friendship. When Socrates was publically executed in 399 B.C., Plato finally distanced himself from a career in Athenian politics, instead becoming one of the greatest philosophers of Western civilization. Plato extended Socrates's inquiries to his students, one of the most famous being Aristotle. Plato's The Republic is an enduring work, discussing justice, the importance of education, and the qualities needed for rulers to succeed. Plato felt governors must be philosophers so they may govern wisely and effectively. Plato founded the Academy, an educational institution dedicated to pursuing philosophic truth. The Academy lasted well into the 6th century A.D., and is the model for all western universities. Its formation is along the lines Plato laid out in The Republic. Many of Plato's essays and writings survive to this day. Plato died in 347 B.C. at the age of 80.

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