So much like everyone else, reading this first half of Plato was quite challenging to say the least. I’d say that the first book was definitely harder to get through than the rest of it though. I have never read any of Plato’s work, but I now know that it will most likely be philosophical, or require quite a bit of detailed analysis (not saying there’s anything wrong with that). I also felt that I had to focus really hard to clearly understand what was going on. Basically, it was kind of a task to concentrate while reading this book.
But anyways, much like other people who have posted, I too, have heard about Socrates prior to reading the Republic, but I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of him yet. Speaking on the Republic as a whole, I realized that this book proposes many questions that people have yet to find the answers to. The Republic’s meaning is still undefined which further strikes people’s attention.
What particularly caught my interest was the heated conversation of what it means to be just and unjust with Socrates and Thrasymachus. Reading their continuous refutes of each other’s beliefs and statements was of great interest to me. However, I did find that for many aspects of their debate, there were oftentimes moments where I would need to re-read a certain argument a few times, just to fully understand and make sense of it. But asides from that, I found their different perspectives intriguing. For instance, like how Socrates argued that justice is a virtue and injustice is a vice, whereas Thrasymachus disagreed and stated that those who are unjust will prosper over those who are just. Another aspect that was of interest to me was the way Socrates argued. I’m not too sure about what everyone else though, but I found his questioning somewhat like a lawyer interrogating the accused. From what I read, Socrates had a very persuasive and intimidating approach, which clearly seemed to work, upon having Thrasymachus blush in the end. With that being said, I particularly agree with Socrates’ views on justice.
Another idea that was of interest to me was the concept of a perfect city and Socrates’ perspective regarding societal ways. According to Socrates, an idealistic state is restricted to censorship of religion, ideas, and stories, just to list a few. I do not necessarily agree with his views, though I enjoyed viewing this topic from a different perspective; to challenge my stance.
Although being a difficult read, the Republic so far is an interesting book that definitely needs to be further analyzed. See you all in the seminar!