What does it mean to be good? What enables us to distinguish right from wrong? And how should human virtues be translated into a just society? These are the questions that Plato sought to answer in this monumental work of moral and political philosophy, a book surpassed only by the Bible in its formative influence on two thousand years of Western thought.
In the course of its tautly reasoned Socratic dialogues, The Republic accomplishes nothing less than an anatomy of the soul and an exhaustive description of a State that both mirrors and enforces the soul’s ideal harmony. The resulting text is at once mystical and elegantly logical and may be read as a template for the societies in which most of us live today.