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Broadie, Sarah. Plato’s Sun-Like Good: Dialectic in the Republic
2021, Cambridge University Press
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, Contributed by: Quentin Pharr
Publisher’s Note: Plato's Sun-Like Good is a revolutionary discussion of the Republic's philosopher-rulers, their dialectic, and their relation to the form of the good. With detailed arguments Sarah Broadie explains how, if we think of the form of the good as 'interrogative', we can re-conceive those central reference-points of Platonism in down-to-earth terms without loss to our sense of Plato's philosophical greatness. The book's main aims are: first, to show how for Plato the form of the good is of practical value in a way that we can understand; secondly, to make sense of the connection he draws between dialectic and the form of the good; and thirdly, to make sense of the relationship between the form of the good and other forms while respecting the contours of the sun-good analogy and remaining faithful to the text of the Republic itself.

Comment: This text is an excellent companion text for reading Plato's Republic - especially Books 5 and 6. It provides clear interpretations of the various metaphors and analogies that Plato presents in those books, and it provides one of the most important new interpretations of Plato's conception of philosopher-rulers, the Form of the Good, and philosophical dialectic. This text is primarily for those students who are looking to dive into the relevant debates associated with these books in the Republic. Accordingly, it requires some understanding of some of Plato's other dialogues, as well as some understanding of philosophical and mathematical methodologies as conceived by Plato.

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Oluwole, Sophie. Socrates and Ọ̀rúnmìlà: Two Patron Saints of Classical Philosophy
2014, Ark Publishers.
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Added by: Rebecca Buxton
Publisher’s Note: Oluwole's teachings and works are generally attributed to the Yoruba school of philosophical thought, which was ingrained in the cultural and religious beliefs (Ifá) of the various regions of Yorubaland. According to Oluwole, this branch of philosophy predates the Western tradition, as the ancient African philosopher Orunmila predates Socrates by her estimate. These two thinkers, representing the values of the African and Western traditions, are two of Oluwole's biggest influences, and she compares the two in her book Socrates and Orunmila.

Comment: This book compares Socrates to Ọ̀rúnmìlà, an 'Orisha' or an important sprit in Yoruba. Both Socrates and Orunmila undertook their philosophy orally and passed their teachings and thinking onto students. Oluwole therefore challenges the western assumption that African philosophy does not have a long-standing on deep tradition.

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Weiss, Roslyn. Philosophers in the Republic: Plato’s Two Paradigms
2012, Cornell University Press
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, Contributed by: Quentin Pharr
Publisher’s Note: In Plato's Republic, Socrates contends that philosophers make the best rulers because only they behold with their mind's eye the eternal and purely intelligible Forms of the Just, the Noble, and the Good. When, in addition, these men and women are endowed with a vast array of moral, intellectual, and personal virtues and are appropriately educated, surely no one could doubt the wisdom of entrusting to them the governance of cities. Although it is widely—and reasonably—assumed that all the Republic’s philosophers are the same, Roslyn Weiss argues in this boldly original book that the Republic actually contains two distinct and irreconcilable portrayals of the philosopher. According to Weiss, Plato’s two paradigms of the philosopher are the "philosopher by nature" and the "philosopher by design." Philosophers by design, as the allegory of the Cave vividly shows, must be forcibly dragged from the material world of pleasure to the sublime realm of the intellect, and from there back down again to the "Cave" to rule the beautiful city envisioned by Socrates and his interlocutors. Yet philosophers by nature, described earlier in the Republic, are distinguished by their natural yearning to encounter the transcendent realm of pure Forms, as well as by a willingness to serve others—at least under appropriate circumstances. In contrast to both sets of philosophers stands Socrates, who represents a third paradigm, one, however, that is no more than hinted at in the Republic. As a man who not only loves "what is" but is also utterly devoted to the justice of others—even at great personal cost—Socrates surpasses both the philosophers by design and the philosophers by nature. By shedding light on an aspect of the Republic that has escaped notice, Weiss’s new interpretation will challenge Plato scholars to revisit their assumptions about Plato’s moral and political philosophy.

Comment: This text is an excellent companion text or further reading for Plato's Republic. But, for students or educators looking for more information on how Plato conceives of philosophers themselves, Socrates included, this text is essential. It also provides key insights beyond the standard discussion of how philosophers might fit into their broader societies - what roles they might play, how their societies might respond to them, and what obligations Plato thinks philosophers have, depending on what sort of philosopher they are. After reading this text, the various aspects of the allegory of the "cave" should be that much easier to interpret.

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