References

The Classics Pages
Includes a guided tour of Plato's Republic. I highly recommend this resource.

Historical Women of Philosophy
Women Philosophers from 600 BCE to 17th century CE.

Plato
Excellent essay by Richard Kraut from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Philosophy Talk: Plato
Listen to this excellent radio program and take notes. The segment is about one hour. The free Real Player is required for streaming audio.

Plato and Platonism
A concise introductory essay from the Catholic Encyclopedia

The Philosophy of Plato
An well-organized overview from the Radical Academy

The Republic, Book I
One of Plato's greatest and most influential works. This is a marked-up version of the Jowett translation.

The Republic: Study Questions
To think about and look for when reading Book I.

The Apology
The mind altering depiction of the trial of Socrates. really, this work changed the world and if you read it well it will change you too.

Works by Plato
25 of his dialogues and letters from the 1871 translation by Benjamin Jowett

Plato's Allegory Of The Cave: A Springboard For The Matrix
A clever interpretation of Plato's allegory in relation to a philosophical movie The Matrix

Noble lies and perpetual war
Danny Postel and
Shadia Drury discusses Plato and other political philosophers in the service of contemporary theory and practice. This piece is particularly useful as an instance of how ancient philosophy remains relevant. Whether Drury's critique of Leo Strauss and current politics is accurate is open to discussion.


 

Plato: Women in the Ideal State - Part IV
The Analogy

The Context >>The Problem >> The Distinction >> The Analogy >> The Principle >> The Application >> The Conclusion

If you are willing to accept that it would be a mistake to discriminate between groups of people on the basis of merely differences of appearance, and not differences of nature, then we are left with the question as to whether we can tell which kinds the differences between people are. Plato provides a clear example that helps to see this distinction;

"Suppose that by way of illustration we were to ask the question whether there is not an opposition in nature between bald men and hairy men; and if this is admitted by us, then, if bald men are cobblers, we should forbid the hairy men to be cobblers, and conversely?" (Rep. 454c)

There are certainly differences between bald men and hairy men. But are those differences at all relevant to the pursuit of cobbling (shoe-making)? It is hard to imagine making the state of one's head hair a qualifying factor in the profession of cobbling. Note that the baldness and hairiness are again instances of appearance, not of the nature of the cobbler. Or at least that is our intuition. Shortly, Plato will explain why it is that baldness and hairiness is not of the nature of the cobbler.

Plato is so resourceful in his use of imagery that he accentuates the opposition aspect of the analogy by placing the differences at one extreme of the human body (top of the head) and the objects related to the relevant pursuit at the other extreme of the human body (the feet). Nothing in Plato is superfluous and the alert reader may gain much by close attention to the textual details.

Thus, we have an example, though a trivial one, of apparent differences that are not of the nature of the pursuit in question. Please note that Plato often turns to trivial examples just because they are so easy for us to reach agreement upon. Once that agreement is gained, he uses analysis to draw out a a general principle that may be applied to non-trivial cases. Indeed, the next step that Plato takes is to posit a principle by which relevant differences may be judged.

The Context >>The Problem >> The Distinction >> The Analogy >> The Principle >> The Application >> The Conclusion

 

 

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