Summaries & Quotations by Lecture
What follows is an Introduction to Political Philosophy. It is not a usual kind of introduction, but purports to read through some ten books on the general topic. The Introductory talk gives something of the overall purpose of these readings and explains the overall design.
2. Ethics Books 1 & 2
We begin by considering the ten books of Aristotle on ethics. We expect each one who follows this program to read each of the material indicated. We will have five talks on the Ethics and one on the Politics. The first chapter is on the end of man and the second chapter is on virtue.
3. Ethics Books 3 & 4
Books 3 & 4 of Aristotle’s Ethics are about what makes us responsible. Then Aristotle treats of the virtues of courage and temperance, and in book four of the minor virtues, those that deal with wealth, anger, truth, wit, and social graces.
4. Ethics Books 5 & 6
Books 5 and 6 deal with the virtues of justice and prudence. These are wide-ranging books. Book six is about the intellectual virtues. Ethics is itself a practical virtue.
5. Ethics Books 7 & 8
Books 7 & 8 deal with how we stand to our own virtue. Aristotle explains how we do something right or wrong, the intellectual processes, such that we can be held responsible for our actions. Aristotle also deals with pleasure at the end of book 7 and the beginning of book 10. Books 8 and 9 are Aristotle’s great considerations of friendship.
6. Ethics Books 9 & 10
Chapters Nine and Ten of the Ethics complete our reading of this great book. Book nine is the second part of Aristotle's discussion on friendship where he looks at the loss of friends and the various kinds of friendship and problems connected with it. Chapter 10 has three parts. The first is a completion of the discussion on pleasure that was at the end of Chapter 7. The middle chapters of the Ethics return to and complete Aristotle's discussion of friendship. Here he gives his final definition of happiness and explains how it transcends politics itself. These middle paragraphs of Book 10 are among the most beautiful and important in all of Aristotle. Finally, Aristotle takes his transition to the economics and politics, which are taken up more fully in the Politics. Aristotle makes this transition through a discussion of lack of virtue and the need of coercion.
Aristotle’s Politics is briefly discussed to give some sense of the relation between the Ethics and the Politics as well as a discussion of Aristotle’s basic nomenclature about political regimes.
"All good regimes are ruled for the good of the whole, that is, all other members of the polity according to principles of distributive and commutative justice."
8. Cicero (Part 1)
We next treat the Roman orator and philosopher Cicero. We want to know the difference and relation of the Greeks and Romans. We first take Cicero's speech "Against Verres" and his famous essay "On Old Age." The first is the classical attack on tyranny and the second shows both the nature of old age and how it fits into the polity.
"[The speech and essay of Cicero] show the eloquence so to speak, the power of speech, the power of rhetoric, that cicero has. And that power of rhetoric is something that we ourselves can still be affected by."
9. Cicero (Part 2)
The second consideration of Cicero is his famous treatise On Duties. This is Cicero's great moral treatise, one of the great essays in intellectual history. Cicero explains by examples how we ought to prefer what is right to what is advantageous. He shows that the natural requires us to deal with others as we want them to deal with us.
10. Simon A General Theory of Authority
We will begin to read the small but insightful book of Yves Simon, A General Theory of Authority. I suggest reading it in three sessions. The first part of the book explains why authority can be necessary, the second part why it is helpful. The book is full of all sorts of insights. It is a demanding book, but well worth a careful read.
"Simon's basic insight is that the more intelligent we are, the freer we are and therefore the more, not less, we need authority."
11. Simon on Authority in Polis
The second consideration of A General Theory of Authority will review the arguments for the necessity of authority in practical matters. They are called the argument from unity of action and the argument from the material willing of the common good. The purpose of this book is to explain why man is by nature a political animal, as Aristotle said. That is, we want to understand the reason why this makes sense.
"Authority in intellectual matters is something that can enable us to come to books, ideas, truths sooner and easier than if we were left by ourselves."
12. Simon on Truth and Good
The end of A General Theory of Authority discusses the nature of authority in the pursuit of truth and the acquisition of the good. It has a very fine explanation of natural parental authority, as well as a discussion of truth and freedom from the self.
13. Old and New Testament Political Philosophy
Following the Simon's A General Theory of Authority, we will take a look at the political significance of the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament is the longer and more "political" document. The issue is what it teaches about political regimes and public morality. For Christians, the Old and New Testaments belong together in a coherent whole. The New Testament is not about politics but about the nature of salvation. However, it does have certain points like rendering to Caesar and obeying the Emperor which have come to be politically significant.
14. Dean on Augustine (Part 1)
We next consider the book of Herbert Deane, The Political and Social Ideas of St. Augustine. This books looks at the darker side of political life and its potential, a view that is very often not seen or seen only from a negative side. Deane is very good on the understanding of politics in the early Church. We first read the Introduction and first two chapters of the book, the first on "The Theology of the Fall," and the second "The Psychology of the Fall."
15. Dean on Augustine (Part 2)
The two middle chapters of Deane's book on Augustine bring up specifically what is meant by Augustinian political realism and how it differs from other sorts of realism. This is also the best statement of Augustine's view of the state not as by nature but the result of the Fall. How to reconcile this view with that of Aristotle and Aquinas is important to know.
16. Deane on Augustine on War
The last two chapters and conclusion of Deane's book are most insightful. Here Augustine treats the question of war and its abiding presence among men. Augustine is not an utopian. He is called rightly a "political realist," someone who knows that one must be prepared for war. The chapter on heresy brings up the delicate question that is more pertinent today, namely, just what do we do with those who insist on using violence either for religious or philosophical purposes. Augustine is honest in trying to deal with the Donatists, but they insist in violence. One cannot deal with them as if their ideas are not at the cause of the problem.
“For Augustine, wars do not cause internal disorder, but internal disorders in men cause wars...therefore our main effort needs to be internal or self attention to what is disordered in ourselves, in our own souls.”
17. Aquinas on Law (Introduction)
Thomas Aquinas' treatise on law can be found in several paper editions. It is part of a much larger work called the Summa Theologiae. Everything in Aquinas fits into a logical and reasonable order that explains why the subject is treated and what it means. Law has a certain specific definition and purpose. It is an "external" principle of human action, but it is to be understood as something reasonable and therefore to be acted on
18. Aquinas on Law (Part 2)
Here we will briefly go through the questions I-II, 90-97 where St. Thomas discusses law and its various kinds, along with a more complete explanation of each aspect of law.
“ ...the essence of the law is reason, not coercion.”
“The law doesn't want us just to be blindly following the law, it wants us to be observing the law because we understand it...”
19. Machiavelli (Part 1)
The reading of The Prince is usually considered the beginning of modern political philosophy. What makes it modern is its rejection of the classic distinction between good and evil. This frees the prince to use both good and evil means to stay in power. This undermines all virtue and translates it into power.
20. Machiavelli (Part 2)
The understanding of The Prince is largely understanding chapter 15 where Machiavelli indirectly attacks Plato. The purpose of The Prince is to replace Socrates and Christ, their principle that it is never right to do wrong, with and freedom to do wrong to achieve political success.
"His uniqueness is not in denying the difference between good and evil or saying that neither category is valid but in saying that it is alright to use what is recognized as evil in order to achieve our ends.”
21. Bloom on Shakespeare's Political Philosophy (Part 1)
The Bloom/Jaffa book on Shakespeare's Politics is a very good treatment of why Shakespeare, who follows Machiavelli in the following century has significant political insights. Bloom and Jaffa point out the broader range of Shakespeare's interests in the characters of kings and citizens.
"The spectators live at a more truly higher level when watching a Shakesperean play because they are going over the meanings of life and virtue by watching it..."
22. Bloom on Shakespeare's Political Philosolphy (Part 2)
The four plays discussed in the Bloom/Jaffa book relate human virtue and dignity to political office. They also serve to limit or show the limits of political office. When a politician claims to be a god, he transcends the limits of the human. Lear himself did this by confusing human love with the demands of his kingly office.
"The basic theme is that intelligence and passions are related to each other and reinforce each other in the right order.”
23. Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau
The three modern 'social contract' political philosophers need to be seen in their similarities and diversities. They are founders, with Machiavelli, of modern political philosophy. Each shows a logical deviation from the groundings of political things in Aristotle and Aquinas. The Leviathan the Second Treatise on Civil Government, and the Social Contract are the basic texts.
"Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau begin with states of nature. That is, they begin with the individualist premise which denies that man is by nature a political animal. Whether in this state of nature he is good, bad, or indifferent are starting points of...Hobbes who says it is evil and Locke who says the state of nature is indifferent, and Rousseau says it is good."
24. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 1) Initial Comments
At the beginning of the text of At the Limits of Political Philosophy are four classic statements, one from Aristotle, one from Leo Strauss, one from Samuel Johnson, and one from Frederick Wilhelmsen. They give the spirit of the book, and each contributes something of its scope. It is worth our time to give some attention to each of these.
"Political philosophy IS a pursuit of truth and not just a description of what various political philosophers have held."
"At the limits," meaning that there are limits and that at these limits of political philosophy there are things which are extremely important to which political philosophy leads us. And therefore it leads us to things that it cannot answer by itself even though the questions that need to be answered are in fact brought up by political living or thinking about men living together in a polis.
"So the limits of political philosophy then lead you, leads us to those things which indicate that there are truths of political things and truths beyond political things."
25. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 2) Introduction
The Introduction of At the Limits of Political Philosophy gives an overview of the book and its way of approaching political philosophy, both to its limits and to why and how it is open to more than itself.
"This text is a declaration of independence, as it were. It does not find it strange that either Aristotle['s] Metaphysics or the Epistle to the Romans, let alone Plutarch or Samuel Johnson might have something pertinent to contribute to the subject matter of political philosophy. With this sense of liberty we can begin. When we finally end, we shall possess a more complete understanding of the wholeness to which political philosophy directs us."
26. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 3) Chapter 1A
Chapter One is on the Intellectual Horizons of political philosophy. It recognizes both the unique of political philosophy, how it relates to political science, and how it relates to philosophy itself and ultimately to revelation.
"No life or discipline, paradoxically even relativism, is worth pursuing if it does not have at least a claim to be true."
27. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 4) Chapter 1B
Section two of the first chapter deals with the place of political philosophy in the city, how truth and the city relate and the relation of the best regime to existing regimes.
"Political Philosophy acknowledges itself to be an integral part of philosophy, the knowledge of the whole. Political philosophy in modern times however, has been that individual intellectual discipline most prone to substitute itself for philosophy as the claimant for the know-er of the whole. Political philosophy has been the leading candidate to replace metaphysics or theology as the queen of the sciences."
"In one sense the absorption of all into politics- the politicization of language, action, and deeds is the most brilliant of the errors with which political philosophy has to deal."
"If politics has no limits, is politics not itself the explanation of the whole? Is politics itself a metaphysic and the explanation of all that is?"
28. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 5) Chapter 2A
Chapter 2 on the sequence of political philosophy is a brief attempt to give the background of classical, medieval and modern political philosophy. It seeks to give some insight into each of the periods and the unity that belongs to understanding a limited political system.
"Philosophy depends on political philosophy. The political realm must let what is not political have its own arena to be pursued in its own right if what is not political is to flourish. The understanding that non-political things exist is the prerequisite for understanding the things that are political."
"The common good of the polity is a good that allows private and transcendent goods to exist. It is a recognition that these goods are also its good..."
29. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 6) Chapter 2B
"Modernity is a struggle between the modern project inaugurated particularly by Machiavelli and Hobbes against classical and Christian theory."
"Modernity in its autonomous sense sought to eliminate the question of God by solving the question of politics. Medieval political philosophy at its best sought to solve the question of God and thereby found a solution to the question of politics. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you."
30. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 7) Chapter 3A
Chapter 3 is on modernity. This is the expression used for modern political thought, its understanding and its nature. Basically, modernity is the effort to explain reality by a politics based on will in which nature and reason are removed as the basic tools to understand political things.
"Ironically, the anti-dogmatism and relativism on which Modernity is based end up by leaving mankind open to ideologies that claim no other truth but the human will to achieve whatever it wants. No abiding human nature remains to criticize their concepts of human forms. The reason for this ideological result is this: a world in which there is supposedly no natural order based on some mind or intelligence beyond man has no theoretic means to resist any claim that arises from human intelligence, particularly academic or collective intelligence."
31. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 8) Chapter 3B
"What distinguishes modern from classical or medieval thought is not that there are necessarily more people who do evil things in the modern world, but that what is considered to be evil depends exclusively on a human decision subject to nothing other than itself. "
"We now know what human nature might produce if left to itself, On examining what this will DID do when left to itself--and this is the purpose of the history of the brilliant errors of modernity-- we can reject the claim that the best regime is what has happened in modernity. "
"Modernity has produced regimes that were better than others. It has also produced the worst regimes in history. It has not produced any best regime."
32. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 9) Chapter 4A
Chapter 4 on evil and political realism goes into the question of why is there evil in the world and its relation to politics. Politics in one sense has to be concerned with the realities of evil, yet it cannot provide the explanation or remedy for it in all its forms. To think rightly about evil we have to think rightly about God.
"Whatever we may think of its cause, some fundamental disorder exists in human nature for which an account needs to be made both in theory and in practice."
"At no point do political philosophy, theology, and philosophy meet in more perplexing and tormented circumstances than in the question of the roots and causes of the disorders of action and heart that we cannot deny exist except by embracing some theological or philosophical illusion."
"No one can avoid the perplexities caused by evil. No one can fail to seek some accounting for it. No education is complete that does not at some point seriously confront the reality of evil among human begins."
33. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 10) Chapter 4B
"To be sure, we choose something good in every evil choice. But in the case of evil, our choice seeks to replace what is, what should be, with our own will. This choice is what God permits when he allows us to exist as free beings in the first place. His only other choice would have been not to create human beings at all."
"The power to declare but not make evil to be good is at the very root of political power and no doubt one of its principal dangers."
34. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 11) Chapter 5
Chapter 5 is on Hell in political philosophy. What are the punishments, civil and eternal, for crimes and sins? The teaching on hell, originally brought up in Plato's Republic, has to do with the significance of human actions and the worth of human life.
"The most disturbing character of modern tyranny is its often plausible claim to be doing good through the use of unlimited force to deny that any distinctions but political ones, ones backed up by the absolute power of the state, have any human meaning."
"The doctrine of hell guarantees that what we do with our lives is of more than passing importance. Nothing else can quite make that point to political philosophy so graphically."
35. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 12) Chapter 6A
Chapter 6 is on death and political philosophy deals with the relation of the memory of the city, of its heroes and villains, and of the efforts to explain and evaluate the meaning of death in political life.
"Every polity has the fact of death in its various forms ever-present as one of its justifying purposes. Either to protect or to punish, police and army are organized around the possibility and the fact of death."
"If we understand political philosophy as a special branch of philosophy, the branch that deals with the meaning and arrangements of our civil life together, death does not appear to fall much within the purview of political philosophy. Death seems more metaphysical. And yet we do not forget that the discipline of political philosophy began with the death of a philosopher, Socrates."
36. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 13) Chapter 6B
Death limits politics not merely because the polity must articulate the reasons for which the taking of life is permitted or necessary, but because the polity must remember those who have died in the defense of the common and continuing life.
37. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 14) Chapter 7A
Chapter 7 looks at the deaths of Socrates and Christ as key events that bring reason and revelation together in the light of political philosophy. The remarkable parallels of these two trials is occasion for seeing how politics is both limited and transcended by philosophy and revelation.
"Perhaps no topic more naturally and easily enables us to pass from the history of political philosophy to the natural context of its errors and onto the good but somehow incomplete side of human nature than the classical treatment of the deaths of Socrates and Christ at the hands of the best states of their time."
"The study of the trials of Socrates and Christ is a study in the constancy of human nature."
38. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 15) Chapter 7B
"Political authority is not merely an abstract principal or form. Political authority and hence political life are not merely philosophically justified, but religiously grounded. Neither of these foundations contradicts the other but in fact they are directly related as complete to incomplete."
39. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 16) Chapter 8
Chapter 8 is a consideration of the relation between the philosophic notion of happiness and the revelational notion of salvation. Happiness can be understood in a practical or political sense and in a theoretic sense. But both senses leave us perplexed even in their fulness. Salvation is directed to each individual in his particular circumstances of life.
"Salvation addresses what is perceived to be a failure or incompleteness in politics and natural reasoning. Salvation is not indifferent to men's deeds and thoughts in the world. Its question is whether each person can reach the highest reality no matter what sort of polity he is found in, even the worst in this world."
"But the idea that the modern city had no gods is deceptive. For what has taken the place of the order of the gods is the order of the ideologies."
"The doctrine of salvation presents itself not as a theoretical impossibility but as a possible solution to philosophical enigmas that actually arise in the human condition."
40. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 17) Chapter 9A
Chapter 9 is a consideration of Aristotle's understanding of virtue and vice, basically it is a guide through Aristotle's Ethics, wherein happiness, therefore moral virtues, the minor virtues, pleasure and the notions of choice and reasons are considered in the context of human action.
"One of the main goals of life is properly to rule ourselves in those areas over which we have some direct control, in those areas for which we are praised or blamed."
41. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 18) Chapter 9B
A continuation of the consideration of Aristotle's Ethics.
"To possess the virtues and to act according to them was to fulfill human potentiality- to be happy according to the proportion and the possibilities given to a human being."
"Aristotle's Politics parallels his Ethics. Politics reflects the kind of regimes formed by men with differing definitions of happiness and virtue."
42. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 19) Chapter 10A
Chapter 10 begins the last series of chapters which, in contrast to earlier chapters, arise out of man's nature and not from some fall or fault. Science, technology, and law are all good things. They can be abused, but as such are proper manifestations of what it is to be a human being. Chapter 10 is devoted to the relation of science and political philosophy.
"The modern claim...is that essentially experimental science has replaced the classical and medieval premises of reason and revelation."
"What is peculiar about the discourse of political philosophy as it arises in the classical and proceeds through the medieval and modern theory is that classical political philosophy claims to be, and indeed proves itself to be, universal. That is, we deal with a philosophy and tradition that addresses itself to man as such, man of whatever time or place..."
"Revelation as much as philosophy insists on the unity of the world and of the whole."
43. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 20) Chapter 10B
"We will not know that answers are addressed to us, even from revelation, until we first realize we have questions that reach to the core of our being. Revelation presupposes intelligence. It does not substitute for it from out of nowhere."
"For all but the very few, the polity is the body which by coercive or persuasive powers permits or forbids the teaching of ultimate things."
"A polity open to truth is open both to revelation and science without in any way denying that a polity has its own existence and actions- themselves seeking to put truth into its laws and ultimately into the things of common importance that take place among human beings."
44. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 21) Chapter 11
Chapter 11 is on the relation between freedom, truth, and law. It is important so see how they are related to each other in a limited polity that is open to the truth and transcendence.
"The most destructive philosophy that can be found in any society is that which does not believe in principle that truth is possible."
"Whatever the nature of the regime may be, what is good or evil is established by philosophical argument and not by willed law alone. The purpose of the human intellect is to discover this good or truth- a discovery that includes the deviations from this good, even those in ones own polity."
"The civil law is not morality itself, but a guide to morality that has its foundations elsewhere."
45. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 22) Chapter 12A
Chapter 12 is on friendship. This is a question that arises in political philosophy and presents several fundamental enigmas that serve to conclude our reflections on the relation of revelation to political philosophy, why questions in political philosophy are open to answers of revelation.
"Friendship can exist only if something higher than friendship exists- something for which the friends themselves are seeking as the purpose of each life."
"In a perfectly just world, we would be intrinsically lonely. We would deal only with relationships and not persons. Friendship exists that we might not ultimately be lonely."
46. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 23) Chapter 12B
"The highest forms of friendship penetrate to the life of contemplation, which itself is ordained to the object of contemplation, to the order of being."
"Polity and family exist for virtue, but virtue exists for friendship, for the activities of the virtues."
"Our wish for the good of a friend does not want him to be someone other than himself."
47. At the Limits of Political Philosophy (Part 24) Conclusion
The Conclusion of the book recalls the overall thesis of the book and argues for a settled place for political philosophy as a discipline open to both human and higher things in a coherent whole.
"The truth is what is of the most uncommon importance to us in political philosophy itself. This truth is not fanatical, not outside our possibilities, not apart form our very lives. The heart of political philosophy is not betrayed when we acknowledge that the truth is what we are seeking in political philosophy."
"Political philosophy is important for its capacity to keep the right questions in the forefront of our thought."
"Political philosophy does not argue that revelation is philosophically necessary. What it does suggest however, from its own point of view, is that what philosophy would want- if it could have it- is found in the terms in which revelation pictures human life at its completion."
48. E.F. Schumacher's A Guide for the Perplexed
In the political philosophy series, the next book that we read is E. F. Schumacher's A Guide for the Perplexed. This book comes near the end of the course as a summary and insight into the whole nature of philosophy and political philosophy. It is a short, remarkable book, to be read carefully.
"Our happiness has in some sense to do with what our knowledge is about and what our knowledge is about has to do with what reality is about."
"Our educational system talks about many things but leaves out of the discussion the most important things, namely, what is our happiness, what is human life about, what is its purpose, what is good, and what is evil. Those kind of questions are considered not to be either scientific or questions subject to answers ant therefore they are left our of our education."
"It's a good thing that we are perplexed and therefore we are incited or moved to seek to figure out and straighten things out."
49. Nietzsche (Part 1)
"...everything that Nietzsche says, in a certain sense, has a reference to something that he's rejecting."
"What we're doing when we go through all this is to try to understand the kind of mentality, the thinking that has come into modern philosophy and particularly modern political philosophy as a justification or explanation of what men really do."
50. Nietzsche (Part 2)
"[Beyond Good and Evil] sums up what is wrong with much of modern philosophy and opens up and predicts in a certain way what will take its place...a belief that there is no order in nature, man can put into effect whatever he wants to do..."
51. Plato on the Death of Socrates
Plato, death of Socrates. We end by reading the three dialogues on the death of Socrates, the Apology, the Crito," and the Phaedo, then finally five talks on the Republic. These dialogues are the dramatic foundation of political philosophy as well as of philosophy itself. They are to be read carefully. Pay attention to the characters, the time, the accusations and the responses.
"Every student appears somewhere in the Apology of Socrates. He should find out where..."
"Political philosophy begins with the account of the trial of Socrates..."
"[Socrates'] basic thesis is this: it is never right to do wrong...It is against this thesis that much of philosophy and politics is directed."
The Phaedo is the dialogue about the last day of Socrates. He is in jail. The boat returns so his execution takes place immediately. He spends his last day in conversation with the potential philosophers about why it is all right to die. He finally drinks the hemlock and dies. The man who dies is Socrates the philosopher, executed by his city. This sets up the platonic problem of why.
53. Republic Chapter 1
The first book of the Republic is written some time after the death of Socrates. Plato wants to know why it happened. The sub-title of the Republic is "On Justice," that is, what happens if in this world justice is not served? Plato's answer is the immortality of the soul and final judgment after death. Lesson, we will not and cannot have a perfect city in this world.
"The Republic is a book on philosophy, politics, theology, poetry, literature, mathematics, psychology, history, epistemology, you name it..."
"This is what civilization is about: the reading of Plato and those who do."
54. Republic Chapter 2
Book Two of the Republic begins with the concern of Glaucon and Adeimantus about the arguments of book one about justice. They want justice praised for its own sake, not for its awards and punishments. This conversation leads Socrates into forming a "city in speech or mind" to find out where injustice comes into or cities and souls. It turns out to be in our education.
55. Republic Chapter 3
Book Three continues where Book Two left off, with the reasons why Socrates thought that it was the poets, especially Homer, who corrupted the city. It was because the arts, music, poetry, dancing, gymnastics are disordered and effect the souls. This inaugurates the famous discussion about whether and why we are moved to good or bad by what charms us.
"Many underestimate the influence of music, words, and movements on our souls. Plato never does this. He thinks that the greatest corruption comes into cities in their songs and poems."
"This gets at the essence of Plato-- the disorders of society begin in the disorders of the soul of those who lead the society and the education of their children."
"Socrates thinks our moral and physical world should be bound by beauty and virtue."
56. Republic Chapter 4
Book 4 of the Republic wants to know whether the philosophers are happy, since they get no rewards. Socrates explains that they are happy because their good is the common good.
"The burden on Socrates is to see if there is a reason to be just even if we have to suffer for it or to get no reward for it."
"It is more to be courageous about the truth than about battle."
57. Republic Chapter 5-6
Book 5 is the famous book about the communality of wives, children and property. It is Socrates' explanation of why the king and philosopher should be joined, then he speaks of the education of the philosopher. Book 6 wants to know why philosophers are not welcome in most existing states.
"...therefore there are more important things and to be caught in things of less importance is to miss out on what philosophy and what truth is all about. And that's really what the Republic is about."
58. Republic Chapter 7
Book Seven of The Republic is most famous. It contains the story of the Cave, which is a summary of the whole book and of much of Plato's philosophy. It deals with the city and philosophy, as well as with the proper education of the philosopher.
"So we want to know why we should be just or virtuous for its own sake. This is where, in Plato, political philosophy and philosophy are joined together."
"The worst thing that can happen to us in the view of Plato is to cherish a lie in our soul about the things that are, about the truth."
59. Republic Chapter 8-9
Books Eight and Nine concern the decline of existing states. After the city in speech is argued in the first seven books, a theme from the end of book four reappears, that of the order of "decline" of states and the reasons for it. The citizen and the state are parallel, one decline leads to the next, ending in tyranny."
"The declination of the polities follows the declination of the virtues or possible ends of happiness..."
"The fact is, all existing cities are manifestations of the fact that not all virtues are rewarded or all vices punished in this world. The reason why the soul is immortal thus rises for Plato from a political analysis of existing cities in this world..."
60. Republic Book 10
"So that is the lesson ultimately that the Republic teaches us: that the fascination that we have, the attention, the riveting interest we have in the Republic is precisely the answer to Homer. It is precisely that the kind of city that we ought to have is not one where the gods and the heroes carouse and are evil, but one where the criterion of justice is always present and this is the ultimate teaching, I think, of political philosophy and the ultimate teaching certainly of Plato."
"Questions do not exist for the sake of questions. They exist for the reason of their answers..."
"The unity of the Republic is complete--from the first words of Socrates at his trial to the last words at the end of the Republic we have an ever deepening reflection on the order of things..."