The Republic

The Republic and its Building Blocks: Socrates' Abandonment of the Individual in The Republic

"[H]ow it would come into being, if it ever were to come into being, you have, in my opinion, Socrates, stated well" (The Republic, 510a). The possibility of the Republic coming into being is the issue which sets the earlier Dialogues apart from The Republic. Although Socrates does "[state] it well," The Republic as a possible state appears, in light of his earlier writings and in light of political realities, to be merely a mirage. Socrates, in the Apology, states that "the unexamined life is not worth living for a human being" (Apology , 92). For Socrates, knowledge of how a man should live his life is the defining characteristic of a life that is worth living, because without that knowledge, man cannot know how to act.

In the Dialogues, Socrates uses dialectic to teach the people he speaks with about the good, as well as to learn something about the good himself. He questions all types of individuals, in the Euthyphro, Socrates converses with the son of a landowner who claims to have the gift of divination, in the Laches Socrates converses with warriors and fathers, and in the Gorgias Socrates converses with several rhetoricians. All the men he speaks with are not only distinct from one another...

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