After start reading Plato’s Republic, the realization that Arts One is probably the most demanding first-year program at UBC became acute. Over the course of 12 days, I had to overcome a strong headache and an impulse to go to sleep in order to maintain my focus on the book. The philosophical and political theories included in the book are extremely complex that I don not expect to get a good grasp of them in a period of two weeks. In comparison, I am more interested in the ways in which Plato explains his ideas to his reader. In other words, I am interested in Plato’s use of Philosophical discussions or dialectics.
Through the use of Dialectics, Plato surely made the book more appealing to his reader in more ways than one. Thought the book, Plato never existed as a character. Instead, he hides behind every character in his book. To me, it’s unclear why Plato would use the identity of his Mentor Socrates as well as his brother Glaucon and Adeimantus. But there is no doubt that he did this intentionally and purposefully. In the first 4 books, it looks as though the conversations in the book are records of actual conversation that happened in ancient Greek.The characters seem incredibly real to me mainly because of the tone of the language. For instance, in the beginning of book 2, Glaucon says
” Do you want to seem to have persuaded us , Socrates, that is better in every way to be just than unjust, or do you want to really persuade us of this……Well, then, you certainly are not doing what you want” (36)
From this quote, it’s pretty clear that Glaucon is not convinced by Socrates’s argument. On top of that, he is challenging Socrates to provide a better explaining in order to truly persuade him. The tone of his language seems disrespectful and a little rude. But this is possibly exactly what Plato want us to feel. He depicts Glaucon as a challenger to Socrates’s argument. later, as the conversation continues, Glaucon becomes uncertain of his own opinion of what justice is. The same thing happened to Adeimantus. But through these discussions which I am going to quote because I don’t have the time, Plato gradually explains how he arrived at his conclusion. For readers, this use of philosophical discussion/ dialectics made the text a lot easier and interesting to read.