Plato: Political Philosophy

Paperback | August 31, 2006

byMalcolm Schofield

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The Founders of Modern Political and Social Thought series presents critical examinations of the work of major political philosophers and social theorists, assessing both their initial contribution and their continuing relevance to politics and society. Each volume provides a clear,accessible, historically informed account of a thinker's work, focusing on a reassessment of the central ideas and arguments. The series encourages scholars and students to link their study of classic texts to current debates in political philosophy and social theory.In this authoritative general account of Plato's political thought, a leading scholar of ancient Greek philosophy explores its key themes: education, democracy and its shortcomings, the role of knowledge in government, utopia and the idea of community, money and its grip on the psyche, ideologicaluses of religion. Between them these define what Plato considered to be the fundamental challenges for politics. All remain live issues. On all of them Plato took radical and uncomfortable positions. The radicalism derives above all from his reflections on the fate of Socrates at the hands of theAthenian democracy in 399 BC. So the book begins with chapters situating Plato's alienation from contemporary politics in its historical context, and examines at length the images of Athens and the Spartan alternative which pervade his writings on politics.The Republic is a main focus of discussion throughout, but ideas and arguments in many other dialogues from Apology and Gorgias to the Statesman and the Laws are examined. Plato: Political Philosophy assumes a broad range of readers - with backgrounds in varied fields (politics, philosophy,classics, history) - who may have little prior knowledge of Plato. It articulates and analyses his main lines of thought, illustrating them with a liberal use of translated excerpts, and highlighting affinities with modern theorists from Machiavelli and Mill to Rawls and Habermas. Schofield'sdistinctive line of approach to Plato's problems constitutes a lucid and accessible guide for those needing an introduction, and at the same time will provide those who know Plato well with much food for thought.

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The Founders of Modern Political and Social Thought series presents critical examinations of the work of major political philosophers and social theorists, assessing both their initial contribution and their continuing relevance to politics and society. Each volume provides a clear,accessible, historically informed account of a thinker...

Malcolm Schofield is at University of Cambridge.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.89 inPublished:August 31, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199249466

ISBN - 13:9780199249466

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Republic: contexts and projects2. Athens, democracy, and freedom3. Problematizing democracy4. The rule of knowledge5. Utopia6. Money and the soul7. IdeologyConclusion

Editorial Reviews

"Schofield has written an imaginative scholarly work that is a wonderful introduction to many of the essential questions in political philosophy. By engaging Plato's thought into historical conversations with thinkers across the years (from Proclus to Rousseau to Mill to Rawls), Schofield situates Plato's ideas into a rich and interactive context. This work is highly recommended for scholars and students alike." --Michael Boylan, Marymount University "Malcolm Schofield has written an outstanding overview and critical assessment of Plato's political philosophy.... There is no better way to enter this aspect of Plato's though than to read this fine contribution to the series, Founders of Modern Political and Social Thought, edited by Mark Philip.... It will endure as an indispensable guide not only to its principal subject--the Republic--but to all of Plato's political writings, and to their enduring interest today."--Richard Kraut, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews