from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fragment of the Politeia on a 3rd century papyrus . POxy 3679, Ashmolean Museum , Oxford

The Politeia ( ancient Greek Πολιτεία "The State"; Latin Res publica ) is a work of the Greek philosopher Plato , in which justice and its possible realization in an ideal state is discussed. Seven people take part in the fictional, literary dialogue , including Plato's brothers Glaucon and Adeimantos and the speaker Thrasymachus . Plato's teacher Socrates is the main character. Other people present only listen.

The Politeia is the first occidental writing that introduces an elaborated concept of political philosophy . It is a basic text of natural law and is one of the most powerful works in the entire history of philosophy. In the 20th century there was intense and controversial discussion about the extent to which the modern terms totalitarianism , communism and feminism can be applied to positions in the ancient dialogue. Liberal, socialist and Marxist critics have attacked the concept of the ideal state. The more recent research distances itself from these ideologically colored, sometimes polemical debates and evaluations. Furthermore, it is controversial whether the Politeia is a purely utopian model or at least rudimentarily a political program.

The dialogue, divided into ten books, consists of two very different parts. At the beginning (Book 1) Socrates argues with Thrasymachus about the question of how justice should be defined. In the main part (books 2–10), Socrates, Glaucon and Adeimantus endeavor to determine the nature of justice and to grasp its value. Socrates thinks that justice can be found in the human soul , but in the social context, in the state, it is easier to recognize. Therefore, he steers the conversation to the question of the conditions under which justice comes about in the state. According to his understanding, a composite whole is just when each part fulfills its natural task. On this basis, Socrates drafts the model of an ideal state organized according to estates . Its population is divided into three parts: the class of peasants and artisans, the class of warriors or guards and the status of the “ philosopher rulers ”, who emerge as a small elite from the guardian class and rule the state. The core elements of the concept include two provisions that only apply to the guardians and the rulers: the abolition of private property and the abolition of the family, which is eliminated as an elementary social unit. The traditional tasks of the family, especially the entire upbringing of the children, are taken over by the community of the guardian. Another distinctive feature is censorship : poetry that can have an adverse effect on character formation is not permitted.

In analogy to the three-part structure of the ideal state, Plato's dialogue figure Socrates describes the structure of the soul, which is also composed of three parts. In this model, the diversity of human types and the forms of government that fit them are traced back to different power relations between the parts of the soul. According to this understanding, the soul is immortal and can find access to the world of ideas , a metaphysical area in which the eternal, unchangeable “platonic ideas ” are located. The doctrine of ideas that Plato puts into the mouth of his teacher is a core component of his own philosophy, not that of the historical Socrates. The idea of ​​the good plays a central role in this . For didactic reasons, this demanding topic is illustrated with three parables : the sun parable , the line parable and the cave parable .

place and time

The scene of the dialogue is the house of Polemarchus, a rich metec in the Athens port city of Piraeus . The time of the fictitious dialogue action is unclear and controversial in research, since the chronologically relevant information in the text is contradictory. In any case, the action falls in the time of the Peloponnesian War , which with interruptions from 431 to 404 BC. Lasted. There is talk of a battle at Megara , in which Glaucon and Adeimantos took part. In the context of a historically correct chronology, only the battle of 409 B.C. Be meant because at the time of earlier fighting at the same place, the 424 BC. Took place, Plato's brothers were still children. On the other hand, however, the old Kephalos, one of the interlocutors, was 409 BC. Chr. Already dead for years. This contradiction forms an insoluble anachronism . But this is not a problem, because Plato also liked to take the liberty of giving chronologically inconsistent information in his literary works. Possibly the first book of the Politeia in which Cephalos appears was originally a separate work with a dramatic date in the 420s; then the conversation presented in the remainder of the dialogue with the mention of the battle of Megara can be dated to 408/407.

The interlocutors

Socrates (Roman bust, 1st century, Louvre , Paris)

As in most of Plato's dialogues, Socrates is the dominant protagonist. He directs the conversation to the topic he is interested in and contributes the essential ideas. His ideas include the model of the corporate state and the concept of the three-part soul as well as the theory of ideas and the criticism of poetry. Historically, the theory of ideas is a main component of Platonic philosophy, which Plato certainly did not take over from his teacher Socrates, but developed it himself. This fact shows that the views that the author puts into the mouth of his dialogue figure Socrates cannot simply be equated with those of the historical Socrates.

Although not all of the utterances of the dialogue figure Socrates are to be understood as expressions of Plato's opinion, their core ideas undoubtedly correspond to his convictions.

Quantitatively, Glaukon has the largest share in the discussion among the other participants. His contributions are also philosophically more important than those of Socrates' other interlocutors. In the Politeia , Glaucon is described as loving, educated, argumentative and very resolute in appearance. In conversation he proves to be ambitious, optimistic, straightforward and successful. To what extent these properties of the dialogue figure were attributed to the historical Glaukon is unknown. He was a brother of Plato, so he belonged to a noble family in Athens.

Adeimantos plays a less important role. The historical Adeimantos was born around 432, he was the older of the two brothers of Plato. In the dialogue he is portrayed as respectful and status-conscious. Although he wants to enjoy prestige, he feels that great efforts are a deterrent. He would take on the weighty obligations of a citizen of the ideal platonic state, provided his social rank remained untouched. In the philosophical discussions he shows himself skeptical, he is difficult to dissuade from his convictions, he is thoughtful and of serious disposition. He thinks pragmatically and weighs the advantages and disadvantages of behavioral options sober, prudent and realistic.

The orator Thrasymachus only takes part in the debate in the first book; later - apart from two brief objections in the fifth book - he listens in silence. He appears rude and discusses polemically. A controversy sparked in a tense atmosphere between him and Socrates. His confrontational style shapes a large part of the first book, while from the second book Socrates, Glaucon and Adeimantos work together constructively and amicably in the search for truth. As a pure power man, Thrasymachus is not accessible to ethical considerations, for him the priority of selfish motives is an obvious natural given.

The historical Thrasymachus is attested in several sources. He came from Chalcedon , an important port city in Asia Minor . In Athens, where he appeared as a diplomat for his hometown, he made a name for himself as a speaker. He wrote a textbook on rhetoric . Politically he campaigned for the autonomy of the Greek cities and turned against wars of aggression and imperialist aspirations.

The old man Cephalos, who was friends with Socrates, and his son Polemarchus, in whose house the dialogue takes place, are marginal figures in the Politeia who only take part in the discussion in the first book. Both are historical figures. The historical Cephalos came from Syracuse and was an extraordinarily successful businessman, among the families of foreigners living in Attica his was the richest. His son's wealth was doomed: During the rule of the thirty , a time of terror, Polemarchus was in 404 BC. Executed without charge or trial, his property was confiscated .

In addition, in the first book of Politeia Kleitophon intervenes briefly in the debate. Like Thrasymachus, he appears as an adversary of Socrates. The historical Kleitophon was a moderately oligarchic politician. He was portrayed as a shrewd pragmatist by the comedy poet Aristophanes .


From the point of view of the conduct of the conversation, the work is divided into two different parts: the initial debate about justice and the main part, in which the model of the ideal state is presented and existing constitutional forms are analyzed. In terms of content, the bracket that holds the whole thing together is the investigation of the question of what constitutes justice and what makes it worth striving for. A leitmotif is the parallelism between justice in the state and justice within the soul. For the ideal state, conceived as a city-state ( polis ), the designation "Kallipolis" ("Schönstadt") is used in a single place, which is attested as the name of historical ancient cities. In modern literature, Plato's ideal state is often called that.

The Justice Controversy (Book I)

The introductory talk

The dialogue begins with a framework story: Socrates appears as the narrator, he tells an unnamed listener about the circumstances and the course of the conversation that took place the day before. With Glaukon he descended from Athens to Piraeus to take part in the newly introduced Bendideia, the festival of the Thracian goddess of hunting, Bendis . Then the two men set off for home but didn't get far. While they were still in the Piraeus area, they came across a group of festival participants who forced them to stay with gentle force. Together they went to the house of Polemarchus, where other acquaintances of Socrates had gathered. In this round the conversation took place, the course of which Socrates reproduces in the following from memory.

Socrates is welcomed by Cephalus, the old, richly wealthy father of Polemarchus. The two begin a conversation about the advantages and disadvantages of age and the uses of wealth. For Kephalus, this benefit is that the rich man owes no one and is not tempted to lie and cheat. Nothing can induce him to commit an injustice. Accordingly, justice consists in telling the truth and respecting someone else's property. On the other hand, Socrates gives a counterexample: telling a madman the full truth or handing him weapons that belong to him cannot be a just act. Cephalus sees this.

The debate with Polemarchus

Now Polemarchus intervenes in the discussion. He thinks like his father. For him, fair action means giving everyone what they deserve. You want to benefit your friends, so you only do them good. So you won't give a friend anything that could harm him. The mad friend doesn't get the gun. But you have to harm your enemies, because you owe them bad things.

On the other hand, Socrates asserts, among other things, the possibility of a misjudgment. A good and just person can be mistaken for an enemy and a villain. Then you harm it and consider it fair. Objectively, however, it cannot be fair that a good, innocent person is fought against and harmed. An alternative would be to benefit only the righteous and only harm the unjust. But then it would fall to those who are friends with bad and enemies with good, to harm their friends and to benefit their enemies. In any case, it turns out that the existence of friendship or enmity cannot be the only criterion. The moral quality must definitely be taken into account.

Then Socrates suggests that he who is harmed is made worse. An unjust who is treated badly becomes even more unjust; strengthen him in injustice. But one cannot do that as a righteous person, because if it were a just course of action, justice would promote its contrary antagonism. That is as illogical as the idea that warmth cools down or dryness moistens.

The quarrel with Thrasymachus

This is where Thrasymachus intervenes, who until now has listened unwillingly and impatiently. For him, Socrates' reflections are silly, empty chatter. According to his definition, what is just is what is advantageous to the stronger. For example, in every state there are rulers who each legislate what serves their advantage and define it as just. You have to obey them, then you act fairly. But Socrates points out a disagreement: rulers, like all people, make mistakes. So it can happen that they order something that is actually to their disadvantage. In this case, the obedient harms the ruler by carrying out his command. So it can be just to harm the ruler out of obedience. But this contradicts the definition of Thrasymachus, according to which justice always serves the advantage of the stronger.

Now Kleitophon intervenes. He interprets the thesis of Thrasymachos radically: what the mighty wants at the moment is always what is just, regardless of whether it objectively harms or benefits him. However, Thrasymachus does not agree with this. He argues differently: Justice has to serve the advantage of the stronger. If the commanding person does not see his advantage, he is wrong and is therefore not a true ruler, but weak. The real ruler is the really stronger: the one who does not succumb to error, but knows his real advantage. Socrates tries to shake the thesis of Thrasymachus with counter-examples.

In a longer monologue, Thrasymachus explains his concept in detail, using the terms “just” and “unjust” not in the sense of his definition, but in that of morality and common usage. According to this, the ruler who robs and enslaves his subjects is the most unjust person and at the same time the happiest. On the other hand, those who suffer and accept injustice find themselves in misery, just like those who are cheated in business life or who serve the common good to their own disadvantage or who make themselves unpopular through their incorruptibility. The correctness of this point of view can be seen from the fact that everyone, including the oppressed subjects themselves, considers the ruthless tyrant to be happy and enviable. He is powerful, free, and bossy in his actions, and these are qualities more valuable than justice. Those who act unfairly on a large scale live nobly. Success rewards his behavior. In the further course of the debate, Thrasymachus reevaluates the current values ​​in line with his way of thinking. For him, injustice is an expression of reasonableness and efficiency. That already applies to the pickpocket, but primarily to the ruler who subdues entire peoples.

Socrates, on the other hand, makes several considerations. One of them is: Powerful, successful action requires cooperation with others. The unrighteous need contributors to achieve their goal. If he is consistently - that is, in a perfect way - unjust, he will treat everyone, including his own people, unjustly. In doing so, however, he undermines the functionality of his group and paralyzes himself. Unjust can only achieve mutual success by maintaining a remnant of justice among one another. So they owe their success to justice, not injustice. Finally Thrasymachos knows nothing more to say and gives himself up, but he does not change his mind.

From the question of virtue to the theory of the state (Book II)

Objections to the concept of justice of Socrates

Glaukon does not find what has been put forward against the view of Thrasymachus convincing enough. Socrates has advocated justice, but has not yet proven that it is worth striving for not only because of its desired consequences, but also in and of itself. To make this clear, Glaukon outlines an opposing position. Accordingly, justice is nothing but a compromise that results from pragmatic considerations. Everyone would like to commit injustices at will with impunity in order to gain advantage, but nobody wants to suffer injustice defenselessly. Since the disadvantages of suffering appear greater than the advantages of committing, it has been agreed to legally prohibit committing. This is called justice, is socially desirable and is rewarded. Hence, this virtue is not practiced for its own sake, but because it provides social recognition. The ideal would therefore be an opportunity to do injustice unnoticed and at the same time have the reputation of a righteous person , like Gyges , who, according to legend, could make himself invisible with a magic ring, which he used to commit adultery with the queen. All of this leads to the result that justice is only a means of attaining ultimately selfish ends and is otherwise meaningless.

Adeimantos elaborates on this line of thought and adds to it: Although the traditional authorities threaten evildoers with divine punishments, they do not show that such punishments are actually to be feared. In addition, there is a widespread belief that angry gods can be bribed by giving them gifts. If so, then justice is not needed; one only has to be able to create their appearance.

The theory of the formation and formation of states

Socrates draws attention to the fact that justice is a quality of individuals, but is most easily recognized if one considers the social context - the state. According to the understanding of the time, this did not mean a state of area , but a city-state consisting of a city and the surrounding area ruled by it.

According to Socrates' theory, the reason for state formation is the need for an economy based on the division of labor . Small groups, whose members barter with one another, develop into larger communities that introduce a money economy. A market with professional wholesale and retail trade as well as long-distance trade and wage labor is emerging. In the early stages, the lifestyle is simple, the diet frugal; Glaukon compares the original state with a "pig state", which is humorous, but praiseworthy in the sense of modesty. This simple life is healthy. Later it becomes the "lushly inflated" state, art and culture unfold, but luxury also falls. Since the agriculturally usable land is no longer sufficient to feed the rapidly growing population, the territory has to be expanded, which is why wars break out. In war, professionalism is required, which is why the level of professional warriors is formed. These circumstances determine the starting point for the emergence of justice and injustice. It is now necessary to investigate which factors cause a state to develop in one direction or the other.

Justice in the ideal state (Books II-IV)

The problem of the professional army

Socrates calls the professional fighters who are needed for external security "guards" because they guard the state. Thanks to their military clout, they are very powerful. The idea of ​​using this power to oppress their own civilian population is obvious to them. Therefore, special measures are to be taken to prevent this danger and thus enable justice. Warriors have to be brave by profession, but to deal with their own population they also need another, opposite quality, meekness. The simultaneous development of both qualities requires a careful upbringing aimed at character building. In an optimally organized state, educating the guards is therefore an important task.

The education of the guards

Upbringing aims to develop the best possible physical and mental abilities. The physical training serves the gymnastics, the mental development the musical education ("musenkunst"), which includes poetry, song and dance. Poetry as a central element of traditional education is a particularly important issue. The educational function of poetry in Greek society is not about entertaining engagement with well-designed literary fictions. Rather, the famous epic poets Homer and Hesiod are traditionally regarded as the first-rate authorities who proclaim divine truths, and statements by poets such as Pindar and tragedy poets such as Aeschylus also have great weight. The poets teach, among other things, about the gods, the origin of the world, the order of the cosmos, the duties of people and exemplary behavior. Their views on efficiency and virtues, fame and shame, honorable and dishonorable, right and wrong shape the generally prevailing view of the world and man, the value system of society and common moral concepts. It starts with the myths that mothers and wet nurses tell young children. The content of the myths is taken from poetry, which is considered classical.

This is where Socrates starts with his criticism. He considers most myths to be untrue and attributes them to devastating effects on character formation. Above all, he dislikes the fact that the poets often attribute characteristics and actions to the gods that are generally considered to be shameful among people, such as insincerity, incitement to break one's word and use of violence against one's own parents. He also considers the stories in which gods quarrel and fight among themselves or people plunge into misery to be lies. For him, this is not just blasphemy, but also presents the youth with false role models, with the result that ethics education fails and people become bad. Socrates is convinced that the gods are exclusively good and that nothing bad can ever come from them. This has to be taught to the children from the beginning in order to give them a constructive set of values. Contrary teachings are not to be tolerated. The poetic portrayal of Hades - the realm of the dead - as a terrible place is also harmful . This creates fear of death and is detrimental to a free mind. The portrayal of the by no means exemplary behavior of heroes like Achilles in the epic is pernicious for the youth and literary misery is an invitation to self-indulgence. Unworthy scenes in the theater should also be frowned upon.

Then Socrates turns to music . He discusses with Glaukon the connection between the various keys, instruments and rhythms and psychological development. Rhythm and key penetrate deepest into the soul and grasp it most strongly, so their selection deserves special attention from educators. The musical education must promote the love of the beautiful, whereby beauty is meant in the aesthetic and at the same time in the ethical sense. Another topic is exercising and keeping the body healthy. Among other things, it is used for gymnastics, but one has to watch out for one-sidedness; it should not be carried out at the expense of education. Excessive concern for the body is a mistake, because everything that is done for it is ultimately for the sake of the soul. When the mind and body are poorly cared for, many judges and doctors are needed; Legal tricks are supposed to protect the wrongdoers from the consequences of their deeds and the art of healing is supposed to remedy the health consequences of a bad lifestyle. In a well-organized state, such phenomena of decline must be prevented.

The estate order

A key question of any constitutional theory is who should be entrusted with government. According to Socrates' conviction, only tried and tested people are considered who have proven their suitability, above all their strength of character, over a long period of time. This includes in particular that they identify with the interests of the state out of conviction and enthusiastically stand up for the state's welfare.

As part of his educational program, Socrates would like to do away with most of the traditional myths because of their moral dubiousness and instead introduce a new myth that he himself invented - taking up an old legendary motif. It is clear to him that putting this project into practice would encounter great difficulties, as the new myth would find no faith. Nevertheless, he tells his fiction to make it clear what matters to him. The new myth - a noble lie - says that the citizens of the ideal state are children of the earth and as such they are all siblings. Metals of different qualities were added to their souls by the deity who created them, and this resulted in a difference in essence. Some had gold added to them, others silver, others only iron and ores. This is how their respective psychological properties are shaped, and these are usually inherited by their offspring. However, it also happens that a child has a different metal quality than his parents. The specified admixture of metal qualifies its wearer for certain functions in the state: gold qualifies them to take on management positions, silver means suitability for guard duties, with iron or ore one is destined for a life as a farmer or craftsman. Therefore society is divided into the three classes of rulers, guards and workers ("Chrematists"). Socrates considers it helpful to illustrate this structure, which he envisages for the ideal state, in mythical language so that it is accepted and internalized by the citizens. Social mobility must be possible: if, for example, a ruler sees that his son has an iron soul, he must put him in the lowest class. Conversely, a descendant of a farmer should be allowed to rise to the upper class if his soul has the appropriate quality.

Way of life and duties of the guards

Then Socrates outlines the ascetic way of life of the guards, who are said to be denied private property beyond the essentials of life. Adeimantos fears that the guards will have to lead an unhappy life if their work is not paid for and they are far poorer than the workers who are ranked below them. Socrates, on the other hand, asserts that it is not about the welfare of an individual class, but that of all citizens. In addition, both wealth and poverty are detrimental to professional performance; therefore both should be kept out of the life of the guards.

In addition to the military, the guards also exercise police functions. One of their main tasks is to maintain optimized stability, both with regard to demographic conditions - the citizens should constantly maintain an optimal size - and in the cultural-political area, where it is important to prevent harmful innovations. However, Socrates believes that excessive regulation of citizens' lives through statutory provisions is inexpedient.

The analogy between social and inner soul justice (Book IV)

Justice in the relationship between the classes in the state

In an ideal state the four basic virtues wisdom , bravery , prudence and justice must be practiced. Wisdom distinguishes the rulers who make up the smallest segment of the population. Bravery is the special characteristic of the guards; it shows itself in the unswerving persistence with which this class fulfills its task. The third virtue, prudence, is expressed in unanimity: the hierarchical structure, in which the better is superior to the inferior, is approved by everyone. So prudence is not assigned to a specific class, but permeates and shapes the entire citizenry. Then there is unity, because the governed are not subject, but willingly subordinate themselves to the governing out of insight.

Finally, the fourth quality is justice. For Socrates it consists in the fact that everyone “does his own thing” , ie only pursues the kind of occupation that corresponds to his qualification (“ Idiopragic demand”). Injustice shows itself in the fact that the demarcation of the classes according to qualification is blurred and responsible tasks are assigned to incompetent persons. Justice is given when each part of the whole only fulfills the exact function that it has according to its special nature.

Justice in the relationship between the parts of the soul

After determining social justice, Socrates returns to the initial question of justice within the individual. He shows the analogies: Like the state, the soul also consists of three components, the characteristics of which correspond to those of the three classes.

Socrates derives the three-way division of the soul with the help of the principle of contradiction , which is formulated here for the first time: It is impossible for something to simultaneously cause opposite effects in the same sense and in relation to the same. In the soul, however, it can be observed that, for example, thirst occurs and yet it is decided not to drink for a specific reason. The entities from which the relevant impulses emanate must therefore be different. The source of thirst is the faculty of desire, while that which ponders in the soul whether to drink is the faculty of reflection. The capacity for desire is passionate, the capacity for reflection is emotionless. So that what the deliberation requires can be put into practice, a third factor is required which, if necessary, counteracts the ability to desire in the emotional realm and overcomes the desire on behalf of the deliberation. That is “the courageous”, the third part of the soul, which in children emerges even before reason is developed and therefore cannot be a part of it. The brave takes sides in the “civil war” between reason and desire for reason. Sometimes it helps her win, sometimes it succumbs to desire and then gets angry at his defeat.

In the individual, reason is the part that contributes wisdom and to which control is due. The courageous part of the soul has the bravery and has to exercise the guardian function. It falls to his task, in pain and joy, to hold fast to what reason has recognized as right. Desire as the lowest part corresponds to the status of farmers and traders in the state. It has to submit voluntarily. When this happens, the person is perceived as level-headed. This means that the justice of the individual can now also be determined: It consists in the fact that in the soul, as in the just state, each part only fulfills the tasks that are inherent to it and no encroachments on foreign areas of competence take place. This means that everything is permanently in harmony. The same applies to the body: there justice is called health, injustice disease. Hence, justice and, in general, efficiency or virtue can also be called the health of the soul. Competence or goodness ( arete ) represents a unity, while badness has a great variety of kinds.

Radical Consequences of Justice in the Ideal State (Books V and VI)

The lifting of the family

In the fifth book, at the express request of Adeimantos, Glaucon and Thrasymachus, Socrates returns to a very sensitive topic: the principle mentioned earlier that “friends are all in common”. In the ideal state, the guardians and the rulers who have emerged from among them must all be friends with one another. It has already been explained that they therefore have no private property. Another particularly delicate consequence is that the classic private sphere, family life, must be eliminated: The relationship between the sexes, procreation and child-rearing are also shifted to the community's area of ​​responsibility. This does not apply to the farmers and tradespeople who would be overwhelmed by this, they lead a conventional family life.

In explaining the details, Socrates hesitates at first, because he himself is concerned about the boldness of his seemingly utopian concept, but then he gives in to the persistent urges of others. The starting point is the principle that efficiency and virtue are not gender-related, but rather the same for all people. The training aimed at this must therefore be the same for men and women, and both sexes are to be used as far as possible for the same exercises and tasks, including military service. Talent and character traits are individual, not gender-related. There are no specifically female or male occupations. Therefore, there should be no separation of the sexes when practicing together. The guardianship has to form a homogeneous community of men and women. Socrates calls this the “first wave” of the consequences of the new ideas that are brewing in this discourse.

The "second wave" that now follows is even more powerful: the details of the consequent abolition of family life. The children of the guardians and rulers are not allowed to know who their parents are. Just like upbringing, reproduction should be organized according to plan, whereby eugenic aspects are decisive; Humans are to be bred in analogy to the breeding of farm animals. In order to optimize the genetic make-up, the best men should combine with the best women for reproduction and father as many children as possible. The rules to be applied should only be known to the rulers, otherwise displeasure and disagreement could easily arise among the guards. The children are taken away from their mothers immediately after birth and are looked after by nurses. Breastfeeding is carried out jointly by the mothers, whereby neither should recognize their own child. The function of the family is fully taken over by the community. Disabled and hereditary children are not brought up, but - as was customary in ancient Greece - "hidden", that is: abandoned after birth.

The aim is to create a sense of community of previously unknown intensity. There is also conflict in the fact that some citizens are happy about something that troubles others. That should not happen in the ideal state. Such perfect unanimity is desired that all citizens react to events in the same way with joy or pain. Then they relate to the community like a body part to the body. If, for example, a finger is injured, the whole physical and mental organism of the human being experiences the process as pain. Similarly, the happy or unhappy fate of an individual citizen is also experienced by the whole community. All pleasant and uncomfortable feelings are shared. As with property and social relationships, the distinction between “mine” and “yours” should also be omitted for emotions. This unity makes the judiciary superfluous. There is no doubt for Socrates that the Guardians live perfectly blissful lives under such conditions.

Principles of warfare

The conversation then turns to details of how the ideal state would prove to be in war. Fighters who have distinguished themselves through bravery should receive significant honors; Cowards are transferred to the peasant and artisan class. After a victory, defeated “barbarians” (non-Greeks) can be enslaved, but Greeks cannot, as otherwise the entire Greek resistance to threats from foreign peoples would be weakened. In general, it is fundamentally wrong to keep Greeks as slaves. In internal Greek conflicts, civilized norms of martial law should apply: the opponent's land must not be devastated, dwellings must not be burned down, civilians must be spared. The prospect of later reconciliation must always be preserved and kept in mind; all unnecessary hostilities are to be avoided.

The rule of the philosophers and their legitimation

Glaukon has no doubts about the significant advantages of the model described. But he would now like to move on to the question of whether such a state order must remain utopian or whether it can be realized. For Socrates this is the “third wave” of problems and criticism, the greatest and most dangerous wave that rolls against his proposal. It is about clarifying the relationship between an ideal and its realization, which can only be a more or less successful approximation. For this, Socrates goes far, because he needs considerations that are part of the theory of ideas. From his point of view, the pattern, in this case the concept of the ideal state, has an ideal value that does not depend on whether it can also be put into practice in this form. It is a guideline for practice. Any implementation is deficient in relation to the perfect ideal; it is unclear whether the implementation can succeed at all. However, this does not reduce the value of the ideal on which the implementation attempts are based.

In Socrates' view, one prerequisite is indispensable for the transformation of an already existing state into an ideal one: Philosophical knowledge and authority must be combined. This can be done in two ways: either philosophers take control or those already in power become real and thorough philosophers. If neither happens, the misery of familiar circumstances will never end. Socrates knows that this demand must appear ridiculous to his contemporaries, since it contradicts the current image of rulers and philosophers. He opposes the critical point of view of the mockers with a detailed, differentiated presentation of his concept. He describes what constitutes a philosopher for him and what qualifies him to rule.

The philosopher (literally “wisdom lover”) is characterized by the fact that he desires wisdom not only in part, but entirely. His thirst for knowledge is not directed towards arbitrary facts, but towards the philosophically relevant truth. He wants to "look at" these in their entirety if possible. For example, he is not interested in individual beautiful things, but rather concentrates on the nature of the beautiful, the "beautiful itself". For him, beauty par excellence is not a mere abstraction, but an objectively existing, recognizable reality. Their “vision” is knowledge in the real sense; it relates to the grasping of individual beautiful things like a judgment in the waking state to reactions of a dreaming to the impressions which he receives in the dream. It is a matter of the opposition between knowledge and opinion. Socrates defines what is mean as something between knowing and not knowing. The philosopher's knowledge relates to beings, to reality, while the non-philosopher is someone who means, who turns his attention to a semi-dark intermediate area between what is and what is not.

The philosopher is the one who can grasp the simple, timeless being that never changes. Non-philosophers, on the other hand, concern themselves only with the multiplicity of changeable individual things. Since the universally valid is inaccessible to them, they are disoriented. In the field of statecraft - the science of state control - the philosopher is the one who always has the conceptual model of the ideal state in mind in order to consequently orientate his actions in political practice. Since the goal of practice is as close as possible to the ideal, no one other than a philosopher can thus be able to govern an optimally established state and to keep it in the best condition in the long term.

The only question here is whether the philosopher, in addition to his theoretical superiority, also has the necessary political ability. Socrates affirms this. He asserts that the philosopher's striving for wisdom, which corresponds to his natural disposition, is inextricably linked with the necessary character traits: love of truth, prudence, generosity, fearlessness, modesty, sociability, justice and the ability to be moderate. In addition, philosophers had good memories, because if they were forgetful they would not be able to enjoy such a demanding job with joy and success. Therefore, they are capable and trustworthy; the state can be entrusted to them with confidence. The background of these claims is the Platonic understanding of philosophy. Philosophy is not exhausted in thinking, it is not just an intellectual activity, but always a way of life.

Adeimantos cannot object to Socrates' train of thought, but points to contrary empirical observations: Philosophers are perceived either as charlatans or as decent, but eccentric and inept people. Socrates gives two reasons for this fact: firstly, the incompetence of the crowd and the ignorant rulers, who do not know how to appreciate the value of philosophy, and secondly, the appearance of pseudo-philosophers who are gossipers and who bring philosophy into disrepute. By this he means the sophists , traveling teachers who teach for a fee and whom he considers dubious seducers. He sees the sophistic mentality as the result of a poor upbringing and a striving for wisdom misdirected by unfavorable influences. The great seducers and evildoers are highly talented, they could have become philosophers under favorable conditions, but had gotten astray. In the context of the existing constitutions, there is no improvement in sight. Still, Socrates is optimistic about the possibility of a turnaround. He considers it possible that the sons of ruling rulers are philosophically inclined and, after they have come to power, are willing and able to carry out a constitutional reform in the desired sense.

The unique special position of the philosophers for Socrates is based on the fact that they direct their thoughts to the divine and well-ordered and admire and imitate it, whereby they themselves assume this quality, as far as this is possible for a person.

The Education of the Philosophers' Rulers (Books VI and VII)

The idea of ​​the good as a guideline

The next aspect to be discussed is the selection and training of rulers. Only philosophically inclined members of the guardian class who combine acumen, mental agility and willingness to learn with reliability of character are suitable. That they need the four basic virtues has already been established. In addition, there is an even higher, higher-level knowledge that they need to acquire in order to qualify for their government activities. Socrates calls it "the highest lesson". It is about recognizing the "idea of ​​the good". The "good itself" - the metaphysical principle of the absolutely good - should be grasped. From this the understanding of all that concerns virtues and proficiency can then be derived. The importance of knowing what is good is already evident from the fact that every soul strives for what is good and for its sake performs all its deeds, although this usually happens out of ignorance in a wrong way. In the case of individual goods such as the just and the beautiful, many are satisfied with mere appearance, whereas the good is always desired as such; an apparent good cannot satisfy anyone. This object of knowledge takes precedence over all others, because only its comprehension gives the thinker the standard for everything else. Only the insight into the general good opens up a correct understanding of the individual good things and enables them to be used correctly. Approaching the idea of ​​the good is the greatest of all challenges.

Since the idea of ​​the good is transcendent , that is, it lies beyond the ordinary realm of experience and understanding, Socrates dispenses with a direct description. Instead, he chooses the path of approximation through parables that illustrate what is meant and are intended to illuminate the relationship of the seeker of truth to the idea of ​​the good. First he tells the parable of the sun , then the parable of lines and finally - at the beginning of the seventh book - the parable of the cave .

The three parables

In the allegory of the sun, Socrates compares the good with the sun: Just as the sun gives light in the area of ​​the visible, so in the spiritual world the good is the source of truth and knowledge. Just as the sun shines on individual things and thus makes them visible, the idea of ​​the good radiates a “light”, as it were, which makes the objects of spiritual knowledge perceptible to the soul. This spiritual sun gives the objects of thought not only their recognizability, but also their existence and essence ( Ousia ). All contents of thought, including virtues, owe their existence to the idea of ​​the good.

The line equation illustrates the hierarchical order of the various modes of knowledge and the objects of knowledge assigned to them using a vertical line divided into four sections. The modes of knowledge are ordered according to their reliability, the objects of knowledge according to their ontological rank. The spectrum ranges from mere conjecture to the insight of reason (nóēsis) , which rises to the highest level of the knowable, where the unconditional - the idea of ​​the good - can be found. In the ascent to the lack of presuppositions one must start from presuppositions, which are only aids; they become superfluous when the highest level is reached. Then that which has no preconditions becomes the starting point for the - now correctly founded - knowledge of all subordinate areas of knowledge.

The allegory of the cave is intended to illustrate the meaning and necessity of the philosophical path of education, which is presented as a process of liberation. The way resembles the ascent from an underground cave, which stands for the sensually perceptible world of perishable things, to daylight, that is to the purely spiritual realm of unchangeable being, to the realm of ideas. Humanity is in the cave of ignorance, where reality can only be perceived as shadowy. However, it is basically possible to leave the cave and climb to the surface of the earth. There things can be grasped as they really are; one can even see the sun - the idea of ​​goodness. When one has achieved this, one can voluntarily descend again with the newly acquired knowledge in order to show the others the way out.

The ascent from the cave symbolizes the acquisition of philosophical education. Socrates emphasizes that this process does not consist in giving sight to the blind, as it were. Everyone already has “eyesight”. All that is required is that the whole soul, including its "eye", "turns around". In the parable this means that she first finds the exit of the cave under expert guidance, then enters the steep passage that leads up, and finally gets used to the shine of the daylight.

Those who have reached the surface of the earth from the cave can stay there, lead a happy life and leave the cave dwellers to their fate. If he does return to the cave to help the others and serve as a guide, he will accept great inconvenience. He then has to deal with the lack of understanding of the masses, whereby he is even exposed to life-threatening hostility. He cannot expect anything in return from the cave dwellers, because they have nothing to offer that could be of any value to him. Therefore, returning is not at all attractive to him. It is the same with a good - that is, philosophically educated - statesman: He does not push himself into a leadership role, because he knows that it will not bring him anything. Rather, he must be persuaded to take on government responsibility and do the citizens a favor.

The study program

The education of the rulers initially includes the normal education program of the guardian class, i.e. musical education and gymnastics. In addition to this guardian training, they will need training in other areas of knowledge for their future government activities. Socrates now goes into the details. Knowledge of arithmetic , geometry ( planimetry and stereometry ), astronomy and musical harmony is required . These subjects are part of philosophical propaedeutics , since dealing with them challenges thinking. In the context of philosopher training, however, they should not be studied in the superficial, pragmatic way that is customary in current teaching and is only aimed at individual empirical facts. Rather, a deeper understanding of the respective theoretical basis must be achieved so that the specialist knowledge can be used from a philosophical point of view. One then recognizes the commonality and relationship of the subjects and practices dialectical thinking, the methodical procedure according to the laws of logic. Dialectics is the last subject on the philosophical path of education. It is the fine art of overcoming philosophical problems. A well-trained dialectician can reach the truth solely through logical conclusions, without relying on the always deceptive empiricism. He grasps the true nature of things, which remains inaccessible to the empiricist.

A pre-selection of those who are suitable for the dialectical training should be made from among those who have received the preparatory training. You will then be given philosophical lessons from the age of twenty. After reaching the age of thirty, another selection of the most capable takes place among this elite. They complete a five-year in-depth study of philosophy. Afterwards they are supposed to “return to the cave”: In the following fifteen years they have to prove themselves in important state offices and to test their leadership qualities. Only when they are fifty, who have proven themselves both in active life and in science, are they qualified to grasp the idea of ​​the good and henceforth to belong to the government.

Forms of government and character types (Books VIII and IX)

In the eighth book, Socrates turns to the individual forms of government in order to examine them in the light of the insights he has now gained. Each form of government corresponds to a particular type of character that dominates the country. There are five basic types to be examined as such; there are also mixed forms. The development model that Socrates is now presenting is based on the notion of a historical process which leads step-by-step from the best to the worst. However, it is not intended to provide an empirical picture of a history that necessarily takes place in these phases, but only to show regularities as a model.


The first basic type, the best constitution, is the aristocracy (literally "rule of the best"). With this Socrates does not mean in the modern sense of the word a rule of the hereditary nobility, but - as the name suggests - the state control by a qualified elite, a selection of the most capable citizens. In such a state there are ethically high-ranking, just people in government. The model for this is the ideal state already described, structured according to estates, with an upper class without private property. On the psychic level this corresponds to the guidance by reason.


If in the aristocratic state the rules that guarantee its stability are neglected, then the unskilled can get into management positions. This leads to discord in the citizenry. The poorer part of the upper class pushes for the possession of land, gold and silver, the better part opposes this, but has to make a compromise in order to avoid a civil war. Gold and silver remain forbidden to the upper class, but land and houses that previously belonged to the farmers and traders are divided among the warriors. The lowest class, which continues to bear the burden of production, is subjugated; free peasants become servants. Thus the aristocracy becomes a timocracy , a "rule of the respected", whereby the reputation does not depend on the achievement, as before, but on the property. Conditions arise as can be observed in Sparta and the Cretan cities. Military concerns come to the fore. Passionate greed for money asserts itself, the ban on precious metals is secretly disregarded. The characteristics of the dominant character type in this state system are contentiousness and ambition. In the soul, this state corresponds to the predominance of the courageous part.


The next stage in the process is the creation of an oligarchical constitution. The oligarchy, literally “rule by a few”, is based on the principle that power is linked to financial strength. The accumulation of financial assets is not only generally allowed, but encouraged, because wealth is raised to the criterion for influence in the state. Society is no longer divided into classes with different tasks and qualification requirements, but into asset classes. The highest asset class rules, social advancement depends on property. As a result, an uninhibited pursuit of enrichment dominates throughout society. Rich and poor face each other like hostile parties. Positions are no longer filled according to qualifications, beggars and crime are spreading, usury is practiced. The greedy, antisocial, dishonest businessman who trembles for his fortune and the unrestrained, young spendthrift who grew up in luxury are the distinctive types who shape this society. The upper class is parasitic. The instinctual, desiring part of the soul rules in souls, although the ruling oligarchs maintain the appearance of honesty and suppress part of their desires.


For Socrates, the next stage in historical development is democracy , the form of government in his hometown Athens. The seeds for their emergence are the social tensions in the oligarchical state, in which more and more citizens are sinking into indebtedness and poverty. The poor are bitter. They recognize the weakness of the oligarchic ruling class, which has lost its fighting power. Encouraged by this, they bring about an upheaval, which does not go without bloodshed.

According to the new democratic constitution, offices are usually awarded by drawing lots; proof of qualification is not required. In addition to freedom of speech, citizens enjoy numerous other freedoms; nobody has to go to war or take office, everything happens on a voluntary basis. Legal regulations are disregarded, penalties are sometimes not enforced, which gives society an anarchic streak. Exuberance, extravagance, shamelessness and instability characterize the way of life of the leading circles in democratic society.

The demise of democracy

The final stage of democracy is tyrannical rule. The main feature of democratic attitudes, the unrestricted will for freedom, ultimately becomes the democrats' undoing, since freedom increases to anarchy. The democratic citizen is unwilling to recognize an authority over himself. The rulers flatter the people. Nobody is ready to submit. Foreigners have equal rights with townspeople, children disobey, they don't respect parents or teachers, and even horses and donkeys walk freely and proudly expecting to be avoided.

This state of the highest freedom eventually turns into the hardest of bondage. The starting point of the turning point is the contrast between rich and poor, which continues to exist, but is no longer legitimized by the ruling doctrine as in the oligarchy. The wealth differences are in contrast to democratic equality thinking. The majority of the relatively poor are aware of their power in the democratic state. She likes to follow an agitator who calls for a redistribution of wealth, accuses the rich of an oligarchic attitude and gathers determined supporters around him. As a result, the haves see themselves threatened, they actually begin to develop oligarchic tendencies and seek the agitator's life. He now has a bodyguard approved by the people for his protection, which gives him a power base. The rich flee or are killed. The way to the sole rule of the agitator, who is now a tyrant , is free.

The development of tyranny

In the initial phase of his rule, the new tyrant appears friendly to the people. He is lenient, forgiving debts, distributing confiscated land and rewarding his followers. After stabilizing his rule and eliminating some opponents, his next step is to start a war. In doing so, he draws attention to an external enemy, demonstrates his indispensability as a commander and prevents an opposition from forming against him. He clears possible opponents out of the way by sending them to the front. Every able man, friend or foe, appears to him as a danger that must be removed. As hatred for the tyrant is growing in the bourgeoisie, he strengthens his bodyguards with mercenaries and former slaves who are personally devoted to him. The maintenance of this troop causes high costs. To cover this, the temples are first plundered, then taxes are levied. The people have fallen out of boundless freedom into the worst and most bitter slavery. However, the tyrant is applauded by the tragedy poets, because he gives them fees and honors.

Analysis of the personality structure of the tyrant

In the ninth book of the Politeia , Socrates proceeds to a detailed description of the personality of the tyrant. With that in mind, he turns to the question of how justice and injustice are related to happiness and unhappiness.

Socrates introduces the wild animal instincts that are innate in every human being. You could in dreams, if the inhibition fall away by reason, come out uncovered, for example when the dreaming commits an incest or murder. According to Socrates' description, these instincts acquire a particularly perverse expression in some young men who grow up disoriented in a democratic state. This happens when alcoholism, erotic addiction and a mental illness, melancholy , meet. This constellation creates the disposition to become a tyrant. Costly debauchery uses up the young man's funds, he gets into debt and therefore reaches for his parents' property, which he appropriates through theft, fraud or even by force. Multiple acts of robbery ensue. Like-minded people make him their leader if he is the strongest tyrant personality among them. But he does not know friendship with his companions and loyalty to them, since he cannot be anyone's friend, but only either master or servant. Eventually he seizes power and enslaved his hometown.

The tyrant cannot be happy because the misfortune he brings on his fellow citizens is reflected in his own soul. This is just as constituted as the state he ruled: the best part in it is enslaved and the worst and craziest reigns. Therefore it cannot do what it really wants, but becomes the plaything of violent, tormenting impulses: the fear and remorse and the frenzy of desires. That means that she is filled with suffering. The tyrant is the most unhappy person. He is in fact in a prison because he is surrounded by sheer dangers and nobody can really rely on him. Security concerns restrict his freedom of movement, and he cannot think of traveling abroad. With him, the natural hierarchy of lusts is reversed: true lust, which only wisdom can provide to man, is completely unknown and inaccessible to him, and the lowest lusts, which are completely illusory, rule his life. The opposite pole to this is the philosopher, who knows and can judge all pleasures from experience and has chosen the best. He is the happiest person. When he is politically active, he is guided by the ideal of the best state. He is only interested in this, even if it is nowhere realized; it is set up as a “model image in heaven” for those who want to see it.

State and Poetry in the Light of the Doctrine of Ideas (Book X)

After discussing the forms of government and character types, Socrates returned to the role of poetry. The analysis of the parts of the soul strengthens his conviction that poetry, insofar as it is an imitative art, has a pernicious effect and must not be allowed in a well-organized state. Socrates also counts Homer's epics as harmful poetry , which, however, because of the immense authority of this poet, he puts forward only hesitantly.

In the justification of this shocking thesis, the theory of ideas comes into play, which is now explained in more detail, but not carried out systematically. According to her, all individual, fleeting sensory objects - Socrates mentions chairs and tables as examples - have archetypes, that is, perfect, unchangeable spiritual patterns, according to which they are designed. Each type of object has its own archetype, the “Platonic idea” assigned to it. So the archetype of all tables is the idea of ​​the table; the carpenter uses it as a guide when making a table.

When a painter paints a chair, in contrast to the carpenter, he does not orientate himself on the idea of ​​the chair, but on a physical chair, the image of which he projects onto a surface. That is, he creates an image of an image, something that is much more imperfect and more distant from the original - the idea - than that which serves as a model. The two-dimensional painting does not imitate the three-dimensional chair, but its appearance. This is true not only of painting, but of all imitative arts, including poetry. For example, when Homer describes the deeds of a general in an epic, he poetically depicts his qualities, which in turn are images of the ideas assigned to them. So the poet creates images of images. Words take the place of deeds. Homer himself was not a general and understood nothing about the art of war. He could not perform the feats described in his epic; otherwise he would have done such deeds himself instead of praising the achievements of others. The poets do not practice and understand what they represent themselves, they are not professionals. You can describe, but neither do nor explain. Therefore they have no authority. In addition, her works affect the unreasonable realm of the soul and induce the audience to cultivate questionable affects. The only poetry that Socrates approves of is hymns of the gods and songs of praise to exemplary personalities.

The Immortal Viewpoint (Book X)

The immortality of the soul

In conclusion, Socrates turns to the immortality of the soul. From his point of view, it forms the background of the efforts for virtue and efficiency, places them in a larger context and gives them a deeper meaning that would otherwise not exist because of the brevity of life.

An indication of immortality is offered by the soul's relationship to the evils that affect it. The characteristic of perishable things is that the evils which afflict them can not only harm them but also destroy them. Disease destroys the body, powdery mildew destroys grain, rotting wood, rust destroys iron. These evils correspond in the soul to injustice, immorality, cowardice and ignorance. The difference to the material objects, however, is that the harmful factors, although badly morally impair the soul, cannot dissolve it. It does not perish from it, it does not die from injustice. Her evils attack her outwardly and surround her like a thick crust that disfigures her, but cannot transfer her from being to non-being. The crust can be removed.

The myth of fate in the hereafter and in this world

Socrates rounds off the remarks on immortality with a myth of the hereafter. This vividly expresses that the righteous are rewarded in the hereafter and the unjust are called to account. It is true that righteousness does not need a reward, since it is itself the reward of the righteous, but the souls of the good receive from the gods the esteem they deserve.

The myth is about the afterlife experience of a warrior, the Pamphylian Er, who fell in battle. His corpse was prepared for cremation, but when it was already on the stake, the soul returned to the body and He came back to life. Now he told what his soul had experienced in the hereafter. Together with other deceased she had come before a judgment of the dead that separated the righteous from the unjust. Unlike the others, however, she received no judgment there, but was instructed to observe and then return and report to the living.

According to the representation of Er, the souls of the righteous are sent to heaven, those of the unrighteous to a subterranean realm of the dead, where they fare badly. In these realms of the hereafter they remain until they have received their rewards or punishments, then they return. Those returning from both areas tell each other what they have experienced. The souls that ascend to heaven reach the “ spindle of necessity”, a gigantic instrument that rotates uniformly. The rotation of all celestial spheres around the earth, the center of the universe, is kept going by the spindle. There sit the three Moiren (goddesses of fate) Klotho , Lachesis and Atropos .

Lachesis receives the souls that have ended their stay in the hereafter in groups. The returning souls have to re-enter earthly bodies as part of the transmigration of souls . There are a number of predetermined roles - future circumstances and destinies - available to a group of souls, and the number of roles is much larger than that of souls. The allocation takes place through a procedure that mixes drawing and selection. Each soul receives a lot. The lots contain the order in which the souls can choose one for themselves from the set of life roles. Whoever receives the best ticket has their turn first and thus has a free choice; the latter has to make do with a role that no one else wanted.

The role of the ultimate soul may have been spurned by others, but that doesn't mean it's bad. Some souls make foolish choices and do serious harm to themselves. Thus He observed that whoever drew the best lot carelessly chose the fateful existence of the greatest tyrant, being fascinated by the power. Souls who return from heaven often choose rashly because they are carefree, while those who return from the underworld usually decide carefully because the suffering they have suffered and experienced in others has made them thoughtful.

Socrates ends the story of the myth with the exhortation to always do justice and to follow reason.

Political and philosophical content

A main topic of the research discussion is the question of whether the model of the ideal state was conceived as a pure utopia, the realization of which Plato did not seriously consider, or whether he intended to make the implementation appear practicable. Opinions differ widely on this. The text offers guidelines for both modes of interpretation. The question of practicability is discussed on various occasions in the dialogue, whereby different perspectives come into play. The spectrum of modern interpretations ranges from the assumption that Plato wanted to show the impracticability to the hypothesis that he wanted to give a concrete proposal for a contemporary constitutional reform. Some interpreters, including Leo Strauss , are even of the opinion that it is an “anti-utopia” that Plato considered neither possible nor desirable; his portrayal of the utopian state as an ideal should be understood ironically. According to one line of research, Plato's main concern was not political but ethical; the state model is not to be understood as a political program, but as a symbol for desirable inner-mental relationships.

The interpretation of the fundamental poetic criticism of Plato's Socrates is also lively discussed. This makes an ambivalent impression. Socrates points to an "old dispute" that exists between philosophy and poetry. On the one hand, he repeatedly expresses his criticism of the poet with great vigor and justifies it in detail; on the other hand, he relativizes it: He confesses that he has felt love and respect for Homer since his youth, expresses his regret that there is no place for poets in the ideal state , and emphasizes that he would like to be persuaded if poets or poet friends succeed in showing that poetry fulfills a useful function in society.

A subject of modern philosophical debates is the importance of the "noble lie" recommended by Socrates, the invention of myths and inaccurate assertions by the philosopher rulers for the purpose of a beneficial influence on the minds of the ruled. This problem is embedded in the question of the philosophical understanding of truth and fictionality. It is about the function of myths in Plato's discourse, the relationship between literal and symbolic truth and the tension between the “noble lie” and the love of truth also recommended by Plato. Plato accepts and recommends myths and, in the literal sense, inaccurate assertions if they serve what he sees as a higher-ranking truth. The higher-ranking philosophical truth is in and of itself good and always worth striving for. Non-philosophical truths, on the other hand, are to be judged according to their respective usefulness; they are only valuable when they encourage virtuous behavior.

Kai Trampedach points to the "anti-politics" of the ideal state, which is in sharpest contradiction to the common Greek concept of the political, since it completely and fundamentally separates citizenship status, armed service and authority. Not only in the lowest class, but also with the guards, there was no room for the actual political, and even with the rulers there was no room for communicative decision-making. The consensus of the philosopher rulers based on knowledge leaves politics no starting point and makes political institutions superfluous.

Plato's understanding of the role of women in the state and society is controversial. One line of research whose spokesman is Gregory Vlastos regards him as a “ feminist ”. Other researchers, especially Julia Annas , strongly disagree with this designation. What is essential here is how one defines the term feminism. In today's common sense of the term, Plato's position is not feminist, but according to the standards of the circumstances and ways of thinking at the time, he appears to be a proponent of women's emancipation , because he wanted to give women access to all offices in the ideal state. Considering the status of women at the time, Plato's proposals were revolutionary, because in democratic Athens women could not take part in the popular assembly or hold political offices. In addition, in the upper class, the role of women was largely limited to the fulfillment of domestic tasks and they had few educational opportunities. For the guards in the ideal state, however, inclusion in public life was intended.

The abolition of private property among the guardians and rulers is often compared to the economy of modern communism . In this context, Plato has been called the “first communist”. In recent research, however, it is emphasized that in the ideal state the lowest class, which is responsible for the entire production of goods, is organized in the private sector and, in particular, no collectivization of agriculture is planned. Hence the term "communism" is inappropriate.

Of central importance is Plato's definition of justice as a principle of order in the soul and consequently also in the state. In this way, his concept of justice differs fundamentally from all approaches that define justice with reference to social behavior. For Plato, the existence of a just order inevitably results in virtuous social action, but this does not constitute justice, but is only an effect of it.

It is controversial whether Plato's Socrates, in his defense of justice, made a fallacy based on homonymy (“fallacy of equivocation”), in that he did not always use the term “justice” in the same sense in his argumentation, but partly in the sense of the then common understanding ("Vulgar justice"), partly in the sense of his own ("Platonic justice").

An essential innovation in the Politeia is the introduction of the model of the tripartite soul. In earlier works Plato had treated the soul as a unit. The detailed justification of the new model, which is supposed to explain the irrational forces in the soul, is probably due to the novelty of the thought. It is difficult to determine the relationship between the tripartite model and the theory of immortality; The question of how Plato reconciled the tripartite nature of the soul with its unity, indestructibility and bodily existence is intensely discussed.

Plato (Roman copy of the Greek Plato portrait of Silanion , Glyptothek Munich )

Origin and historical background

The circumstances and phases of the creation of the work and thus also the period in question are difficult to determine and highly controversial. There is a widespread opinion in research that Plato worked on it over a longer period of time. Attempts have been made on various occasions to reconstruct individual development phases. The hypothesis that the first book, which has stylistic peculiarities, was written significantly earlier than the rest of the book, was well received. On the other hand, the more far-reaching assumption that the first book was originally conceived as an independent dialogue with the title Thrasymachos has met with opposition . Another hypothesis assigns the last book a special position; it was added afterwards. However, this opinion is only held by a minority in recent research.

There is agreement that the Politeia belongs to Plato's middle creative period. If the first book was originally written as a separate work, it can be brought closer to the early dialogues. Most dating approaches place the main part in the period between approx. 390 BC. BC and approx. 370 BC Chr .; In isolated cases, the last book has been made late (after 370).

The division of dialogue into ten books that is common today does not come from Plato. It looks artificial and is not documented before the beginning of the Roman Empire . An older division into six books goes back to the scholar Aristophanes of Byzantium , who wrote in the late 3rd and early 2nd centuries BC. Was active.

Text transmission

The beginning of the Politeia in the oldest surviving medieval manuscript: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Gr. 1807 (9th century)

Only a few papyrus fragments from the Roman Empire and a small fragment of a poor Coptic translation from the collection of Nag Hammadi writings have survived from antiquity .

Most of the 53 medieval and early modern manuscripts that survive the text in whole or in part date from the 13th to the 16th century. The oldest of them, the "Codex A", originated in the 9th century in the Byzantine Empire .


Both in antiquity and in modern times up to the present day, the Politeia has had an intense aftereffect. Special attention has always been given to the community of property, the abolition of the family, the rule of the philosophers and the devastating criticism of the poets. They have given rise to a large number of judgments and controversies.


Even in ancient times, the Politeia was considered one of the most important works of Plato. His student Aristotle did not see the state model as a thought experiment, but criticized it as a serious political project. The deep disagreement between the two philosophers concerned not only the implementation of the project, but also the objective. Aristotle considered the goal of establishing unity in the state to be fundamentally wrong, because a state could not be a unity in the sense intended by Plato. The project to eliminate differences in ownership and family ties in order to create a sense of unity is doomed to failure, because people without private property and family would not turn their loyalty to the state community, but on the contrary show no interest in the common good and the next generation. The abolition of private property contradicts a basic characteristic of human nature and makes generosity impossible. In addition, Aristotle rejected the theory of ideas. He criticized that Plato had failed to clarify the education and the political and economic conditions of the peasants and artisans; there must be conflicts between the workers and the guards. Aristotle considered the sequence of constitutions described in the Politeia to be arbitrary and ill-founded; empirically, other reversals can also be observed.

Also in the school of Aristotle, the Peripatos , one dealt with the Politeia . Aristotle's pupil Theophrast made an excerpt from the dialogue in two books, another Aristotle pupil, Klearchus von Soloi , wrote a treatise on what is mathematically represented in Plato's Politeia . The Platonists who commented on the Politeia or at least part of the dialogue during the Middle Platonism included Derkylides , Theon of Smyrna , Lukios Calbenos Tauros , Albinos , Numenios of Apamea and Harpokration of Argos . All comments by the Middle Platonists are lost; isolated fragments have survived from some of them.

Zeno von Kition , the founder of the Stoa , wrote a Politeia , a youth work that has been lost to fragments today, which was apparently his answer to Plato's model of the state.

In the age of Hellenism and the Roman Empire , a number of authors took a critical stance on the Politeia . Sometimes they pointed to the lack of practical relevance of utopia ( Polybios , Athenaios ), sometimes they were indignant about the exile of the poets from the ideal state. Critics of Plato's anti-poetry attitude were next to Athenaios the stoic Herakleitos, who expressed himself in his Quaestiones Homericae , the rhetor and literary critic Dionysius of Halicarnassus and the orator Maximos of Tire . The Epicurean Kolotes von Lampsakos (* probably around 320 BC), who emerged as a sharp opponent of Plato, wrote a pamphlet against the Er myth. He said that this myth was originally not about him, but about Zarathustra . Zarathustra was the inventor of the story that Plato later adapted. Kolotes also criticized Plato's style. Chrysippus of Soloi , who lived in the late 3rd century BC. Was head of the Stoa, wrote an anti-Plato treatise on justice, in which he attacked individual positions presented in the Politeia .

In his De re publica dialogue, Cicero based himself on the model of Plato's representation of the ideal state. In his Tusculanae disputationes , Cicero approved the decision outlined in the Politeia not to allow an educationally harmful poetry.

In the tetralogical order of the works of Plato, which apparently in the 1st century BC Was introduced, the Politeia belongs to the eighth tetralogy. The historian of philosophy, Diogenes Laertios , counted it among the “political” writings and gave “On the Just” as an alternative title. In doing so, he referred to a now-lost script by the Middle Platonist Thrasyllos .

The Stoic Epictetus reports that the Politeia was popular with the Roman women because of the explanations about women.

The rhetor and music theorist Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who lived in the 2nd century and should not be confused with the author of the same name from the Augustan period , wrote a book entitled Which passages in Plato's Politeia are to be understood musically , which comprised five books.

In the early days of Neoplatonism , the Politeia was eagerly studied. The Neo-Platonist Porphyrios wrote a large commentary on the dialogue. In any case, Amelios Gentilianos interpreted individual passages, but it is unclear whether his traditional statements stem from a commentary written by him. In the schools of the late ancient Neo-Platonists Iamblichos and Proklos , the Politeia was not part of the reading canon because of its length, but there were also Neo-Platonists who treated it in class. Iamblichus saw it as a text shaped by Pythagorean influence. Syrianos wrote a Politeia commentary in four books. Apparently Theodoros von Asine also commented on the dialogue in whole or in part. Proklos dedicated a series of 17 individual writings to the Politeia , of which his commentary on the Er myth is by far the most extensive. The 17 treatises were probably only put together for comment in the 9th century. The common designation of this collection as “Proclus's Politeia Commentary” is therefore imprecise. Since the late ancient Neo-Platonists highly valued Homer and regarded him as an authority, they tried to relativize Plato's criticism of him. With the exception of Proclus' Politeia comment, all of their comments are lost.

Plato's criticism of unworthy representations of the gods in the myths of the poets met with approval from Christian authors, for the Christians vigorously polemicized against the old polytheistic religion, which was based on these myths. Minucius Felix and Augustine praised Plato's attack on the poets from this point of view. As early as the 1st century, the Jewish writer Flavius ​​Josephus wrote in his work Contra Apionem that Plato's prohibition of conventional poetry in the ideal state was based on his correct opinion about God. The statement in the Er myth that the deity could not be held responsible for the fate of human beings, since these were a consequence of human freedom of choice, was quoted with approval in Christian circles. On the other hand, indignation aroused the abolition of monogamy called for in the ideal state .

middle Ages

Byzantine scholars had access to the work. The patriarch Photios I , who was very interested in ancient literature, expressed indignation about the state model, which is unrealistic and full of immorality and contradictions.

The text of the dialogue was unknown to the Latin-speaking scholars of the West in the Middle Ages. However, the late medieval scholastics had Aristotle's policy in the Latin translation that Wilhelm von Moerbeke had made around 1260/1265; in this way they got some information about the Politeia . Hence, they perceived Plato's concept from the perspective of Aristotle.

The beginning of the Politeia translation by Manuel Chrysoloras and Uberto Decembrio in the manuscript Sevilla, Biblioteca Colombina y Capitular, 5-6-21, 15th century

In the Arabic-speaking world, the content of the Politeia was at least partially well known. In the 10th century, the scholar ibn an-Nadīm reported in his Kitāb al-Fihrist that there was an Arabic translation by Ḥunain ibn Isḥāq . It is unclear, however, whether Ḥunain, who lived in the 9th century, actually translated the entire work. Ibn an-Nadīm may mean the Arabic translation of Galen's detailed summary of the dialogue, which Ḥunain made according to his own statements. The well-known mathematician and astronomer Ṯābit ibn Qurra († 901) wrote a treatise on the parables in the Politeia , which is lost today. In the 12th century, the philosopher Averroes wrote a selective commentary on Politeia , which has only come down to us in a late medieval Hebrew translation. In it he expressly acknowledged Plato's view of the role of women in society, which he placed in sharp contrast to the Islamic tradition.

In the West, the Politeia was rediscovered in the age of Renaissance humanism . The first Latin translation created the Byzantine scholar Manuel Chrysoloras together with his student Uberto Decembrio 1400-1402. Uberto's son Pier Candido Decembrio revised it based on the original Greek text; In 1440 he finished his revision of the Latin Politeia . Another Latin translation comes from the humanist Antonio Cassarino († 1447).

Early modern age

One page of the Latin Politeia translation by the humanist Antonio Cassarino. Manuscript Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat.Lat. 3346, fol. 153v (2nd half of the 15th century)

The famous humanist Marsilio Ficino made a new Latin translation of the dialogue, the first to be printed. He published it in Florence in 1484 in the complete edition of his Plato translations. Ficino brought the Platonic ideal of the state into connection with Christian ideas; He regarded the abolition of private property as the observance of a natural commandment coming from God; in Plato's best state he saw an earthly image of the heavenly Jerusalem .

The first edition of the Greek text appeared in Venice in September 1513 by Aldo Manuzio as part of the first complete edition of Plato's works. The editor was Markos Musuros .

The state theorist Jean Bodin turned against Plato's concept of a unity of citizens by abolishing the private sphere. In reality, the private and public sectors are complementary and mutually dependent.

In his Dialogue Utopia , published in 1516, Thomas More did not refer to any other writing more frequently than to the Politeia , on whose example he leaned when describing the living conditions in the fictional state of Utopia. In Mores Utopia there is a community of property of all citizens, not just one class. The question of whether such a consistent renunciation of private property is practicable and desirable is discussed controversially in the dialogue, with the proponent of community of property referring to Plato. Utopians of the 17th century ( Tommaso Campanella , Johann Valentin Andreae , Gerrard Winstanley ) also designed models that can in part be traced back to the ideas of the Politeia . As with Plato, the background was a criticism of the social conditions of the present, the development of which was perceived as the disintegration of the community. A connection was made between private property, social polarization and decay of customs. As an alternative, the utopians conceived a just, well-ordered ideal state that forbids luxury and abolishes or drastically restricts private property. Campanella even took on Plato's elimination of the family.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau valued the Politeia ; he called it the finest treatise on education ever written. He also invoked the abolition of the family in the ideal state to justify his refusal to take responsibility for his children.

The philosopher Christian Wolff (1679–1754) expressly agreed to Plato's demand for philosophical rule. But since he was aware of the impossibility of realizing this idea, he pleaded for advice to the rulers from philosophers.

Immanuel Kant in his work On Eternal Peace rejected the idea of ​​the rule of the philosophers: "That kings philosophize, or that philosophers would become kings, is not to be expected, but also not to be desired: because the possession of power inevitably corrupts the free judgment of reason." In his Critique of Pure Reason , however, Kant defended Plato's intention: It was wrong to view the “Platonic Republic” as “an example of dreamy perfection that can only be located in the brain of the idle thinker” and “under the very miserable and harmful Pretexts of impropriety ”. Rather, the goal of creating a "constitution of the greatest human freedom" should be appreciated, which has the effect that the freedom of everyone can coexist with the freedom of others. This is "at least a necessary idea". This idea should not only be based on a state constitution, but on all laws. The greatest bliss will follow naturally from following this principle. Plato rightly asserts that such legislation and government would ideally make penalties superfluous; at least they would become rarer as they approached the ideal. It is not deficiencies in human nature that stand in the way of realization, but rather the previous “neglect of genuine ideas in legislation”. The “rabble appeal to allegedly conflicting experience” is not an objection to a state ideal, but rather unworthy of a philosopher.


In the modern era, the Politeia is often considered to be Plato's most important work; But it is also - besides the nomoi - the most controversial in terms of content, both because of the strongly pronounced "authoritarian" traits and because of the criticism of the poet.

General appreciations

In the specialist literature, the Politeia is often referred to as Plato's main work. The philosophical content of the dialogue is also rated as significant by critics of the Platonic ideal of the state. Olof Gigon sums up this finding with the statement that Politeia brings to consciousness the agility, versatility and boldness of Platonic philosophizing like no other dialogue. For Leo Strauss , the Politeia is the most famous political work of all time. It offers a uniquely broad and deep analysis of political idealism. Ernst Cassirer states that Plato's theory of the state of justice has become “a permanent property of human culture”.

The literary quality is highly valued; the Politeia is considered a masterpiece of world literature. Above all, the artful construction is praised.

Two main demands of Plato are recognized as pioneering achievements in research, with which he was ahead of his time and which were realized much later under completely different conditions and conditions: a special training as a prerequisite for admission to a civil service that takes over government tasks, and one of the State-regulated education.

The history of philosophy in the 19th century

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel pointed to the roots of the Politeia in the spiritual world at the time of its creation. It is considered "as the proverb of an empty ideal", but is an expression of the "nature of Greek morality".

Eduard Zeller tied in his presentation of the ancient Greek history of philosophy, a standard work of the time, to Hegel's remarks. He said that the principle of the Platonic State was genuinely Greek and that the philosopher was completely serious about its realization. The ideal state of the Politeia shows in the highest perfection those characteristics of the Greek spirit by which it differs from the modern one. This makes the concept seem strange in modern times. But Plato had boldly anticipated aspirations and institutions of the future; he had tried to solve the problems set by history prematurely and with unsuitable means.

In England, the influential philologist Benjamin Jowett made a significant contribution to familiarizing the educated public with the ideas of the Politeia , which he translated into English. He saw in the dialogue the climax not only of Plato's thinking, but of all ancient philosophy.

Karl Marx judged in 1867: "Plato's republic, insofar as the division of labor is developed in it as the formative principle of the state, is only an Athenian idealization of the Egyptian caste system, (...)."

Controversial assessments of the state ideal in the 20th century

In the early twentieth century, members of the George Circle expressed themselves enthusiastically about Plato's political ideas. Kurt Hildebrandt summarized this point of view by presenting the formation of a new nobility as Plato's goal. He saw a concrete offer from the philosopher to his hometown in the state bill.

In the period from the early 1930s to the early 1960s, there were fierce ideological controversies about Plato's ideal of the state against the background of the disputes at the time between representatives of liberal, socialist, Marxist and National Socialist positions and proponents of the topicality of classical ancient philosophy. The main question was whether or to what extent the ideal Platonic state should be regarded as the forerunner of modern totalitarian systems. In the 1930s, liberal and socialist authors began to criticize Plato's draft. The spokesmen for the critics were Richard Crossman , Bertrand Russell and Karl Popper . The polemical debate took place both in academic circles and among a wider public. It was strongly influenced by the ideological and political preferences of the protagonists. After the dispute subsided, from the last third of the 20th century research began to seek an impartial perspective.

Karl Popper, the most prominent modern critic of Plato's political philosophy

Karl Popper published his treatise The Open Society and Its Enemies in 1945 , the first volume of which deals with Plato's political philosophy. In it he mainly dealt with the Politeia , which is "a brilliant piece of political propaganda". The work contains a "hostile to the point of passion" parody of political life in Athens and democracy; it is one of the “poison-filled writings” of Plato and has wreaked havoc up to modern times. The attack on democracy was characterized by a flood of abuse and "the complete lack of rational arguments". Plato designed his ideal state as a " box state "; in doing so he wanted to prevent the class struggle by giving the ruling class an incontestable superiority. Popper placed great emphasis on the comparison with modern totalitarian systems, with which Plato's political program is basically "identical". The image of history propagated in the Politeia is reactionary. It is a form of historicism , a direction of political philosophy so named by Popper, which is based on the regularity and predictability of historical development. The historicist theory of Plato is remarkably realistic, because he recognized the driving force of history in the class struggle and at the same time the force leading to decay. Behind his attitude towards the past is his longing for the "lost unity of tribal life". It is a "romantic love" for the stable collective of a primitive primitive society, of which he gives an excellent sociological description in the Politeia . He combined historicist ideas with a "biological naturalism", that is, a theory that there are eternal laws of nature from which moral laws and the laws of the state can be derived. His concept of justice is characterized by a highly hostile attitude towards individualism . He considered himself to be the one who actually had power; the portrait of the philosopher ruler in the Politeia is his self-portrait.

Popper's statement has generated a strong response from both research and the wider public. The spectrum of reactions ranges from clear approval to strong rejection and also includes numerous efforts to achieve a differentiated view. A number of ancient scholars and historians of philosophy turned against Popper's interpretation of the Platonic theory of the state. From a philological point of view, the correctness of his rendering of Plato's statements has been disputed. Classical scholars criticized the one-sided systematic, largely unhistorical approach. Some critics of Popper tried to reconcile Plato's position with the democratic one and worked out the differences between the Platonic ideal state and modern totalitarianism. A main argument of the criticism is that Popper is not impartial, but judges ancient philosophy under the direct impression of political events of his time, whereby a distorted perspective arises. Because of his political commitment, he is prejudiced against the thinkers, whom he consider forerunners of totalitarianism. Popper's assertion that Plato turned out to be the enemy of all change is also disputed. In addition, reference is made to Plato's understanding of freedom, which is based on the primacy of the rational individual; the basis of the ideal state is harmony and voluntary classification of the citizens within the framework of a comprehensive consensus.

In two essays published in 1934 and 1942, and later in the discussion of Popper's image of Plato, Hans-Georg Gadamer already outlined his view of the purpose of the Politeia . He said that Plato had set up “a state in words” with educational intent, in order to make the reader “ new finding of what is right in one's own soul ”. It is a state in thought, in which something should become visible, not a state on earth. The educational goal of the philosopher is an inner harmony as a union of the wild and the peaceful in man. This harmonization is "the mood of a dissonance in human nature". A hermeneutical approach is primarily required for the interpretation of the Politeia . Plato thinks here in utopias, in “forms of games of reason”. Popper misjudged this.

Even Jacques Derrida was of the view Plato have to unite with the demand, philosophy and state power, formulated a forever unattainable ideal. Nevertheless, he considered the strict description of the pure structures of this ideal state to be essential, since only the pattern gives the terms of political philosophy their meaning.

The Marxist Ernst Bloch judged that the Politeia was “as well thought out as reactionary”, that it was “a great socially utopian ship”, but was wrongly regarded as a communist script; their communism is "not one of work, but one of non-work".

Another aspect of the Platonic ideal state that was taken as an occasion for criticism was the orientation towards the mere maintenance of an optimized state instead of continuous progress. The philosopher of history Arnold J. Toynbee found the state of the Politeia to be an example of an arrested society, and compared it to the Ottoman Empire . Typical for such societies is the renunciation of further development and the focus on trying to stop a decline. All such societies have two features in common: casteism and specialization. The sociologist Ralf Dahrendorf also criticized the static character of the ideal state. Plato's Socrates was the first functionalist. The justice he strives for is "obviously an unfortunate situation: a world without rebels and hermits, without change and without freedom"; real justice lies rather “in the constantly changing result of the dialectic of domination and resistance”.

The Politeia as the basic text of natural law

A subject of ongoing debate is the importance of the Politeia and the "political Platonism" linked to it in the history of natural law . The philosophy historian Ada Neschke-Hentschke sees Plato as the originator of a systematic conception of natural law that makes “natural justice” the norm of positive law. Before his time, "nature" and "law" were viewed as opposites, it was only he who combined them into a unity and made them a command of nature. The demand to follow natural law was made by Plato in the Politeia , and in the Nomoi dialogue he drew the legislative conclusions from it. One can speak of political Platonism wherever the state is legitimized by natural law with reference to this Platonic tradition. Neschke-Hentschke assumes a continuity of natural law thinking that connects Plato's concept with the theory of the modern constitutional state.

The pioneering role of Plato in the history of natural law is recognized in research, but the evaluations vary greatly depending on the legal philosophical position of the authors. The legal scholar Hans Kelsen , a prominent critic of natural law, criticizes Plato's understanding of natural law from a legal positivist point of view. In a study published posthumously in 1985, he describes the definition of justice resulting from the discussion in the Politeia as a meaningless formula.


The French philosopher Alain Badiou , who has dealt intensively with Plato's philosophy and the modern criticism of it, published an alienated, modernized version of the Politeia in 2012 . Badiou, who describes his work as "hyper-translation", transforms Adeimantos into a female figure named Amantha, who takes a materialistic position. Amantha vigorously criticizes Socrates' theses, demanding precision and conclusiveness and not allowing difficulties to be ignored. She advocates consistent “universalization”: the philosophical argumentation must be presented in such a way that it is understandable for everyone. Badiou modifies Plato's elitist understanding of philosophy: The elite is to be expanded in such a way that it encompasses all of humanity, analogous to the demand of director Antoine Vitez to create an “elitist theater for everyone”.

Editions and translations

Editions (partly with translation)

  • Simon R. Slings (Ed.): Platonis Respublica . Oxford University Press, Oxford 2003, ISBN 0-19-924849-4 (authoritative critical edition).
  • Gunther Eigler (Ed.): Plato: Works in eight volumes. Volume 4, 4th edition. Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2005, ISBN 3-534-19095-5 (reprint of the critical edition by Émile Chambry; next to it the German translation by Friedrich Schleiermacher , 2nd, improved edition, Berlin 1828)
  • Thomas Alexander Szlezák (ed.): Plato: The state. Politeia. Artemis & Winkler, Düsseldorf / Zurich 2000, ISBN 3-7608-1717-3 (contains the edition by Émile Chambry without the critical apparatus, the translation by Rüdiger Rufener (1950) in a version that was slightly edited by Szlezák, and an introduction and explanations by Szlezák).



Overview representations

Introductions and comments

  • Julia Annas: An Introduction to Plato's Republic . Clarendon Press, Oxford 1981, ISBN 0-19-827429-7 .
  • Alexander Becker: Plato's "Politeia". A systematic commentary . Reclam, Stuttgart 2017, ISBN 978-3-15-019477-5 .
  • Olof Gigon: Presence and Utopia. An interpretation of Plato's "state" . Volume 1: Book I – IV . Artemis, Zurich / Munich 1976, ISBN 3-7608-3653-4 (no longer published).
  • Karlheinz Hülser : Plato for beginners. The State. An introduction to reading . Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-423-34239-0 .
  • Joachim Lege: Politeía. Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 2013, ISBN 978-3-16-152680-0 .
  • Darren J. Sheppard: Plato's Republic. To Edinburgh Philosophical Guide . Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh 2009, ISBN 978-0-7486-2779-0 .
  • Mario Vegetti (Ed.): Platone: La Repubblica. Traduzione e commento. 7 volumes, Bibliopolis, Napoli 1998–2007 (the commentary consists of essays by various authors on the topic of the individual sections of the work).


  • Jacob Frederik M. Arends: The unity of the polis. A study of Plato's state . Brill, Leiden 1988, ISBN 90-04-08785-0 .
  • Norbert Blößner : Form of Dialogue and Argument. Studies on Plato's 'Politeia' . Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-515-07060-5 .
  • Leon Harold Craig: The War Lover. A Study of Plato's Republic . University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1994, ISBN 0-8020-0586-1 .
  • Kenneth Dorter: The Transformation of Plato's Republic . Lexington Books, Lanham 2006, ISBN 0-7391-1188-4 .
  • Reinhart Maurer : Plato's 'State' and Democracy. Historical-systematic considerations on political ethics . De Gruyter, Berlin 1970, ISBN 3-11-006391-3 .

Collections of articles



  • Ulrike Zimbrich: Bibliography on Plato's state. The reception of the Politeia in German-speaking countries from 1800 to 1970 . Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 1994, ISBN 3-465-02652-7 .

Web links

Text editions and translations

  • Politeia , Greek text after the edition by John Burnet , 1902
  • Politeia , German translation after Wilhelm Siegmund Teuffel and Wilhelm Wiegand, 1855/1856, edited
  • Politeia , German translation after Wilhelm Siegmund Teuffel and Wilhelm Wiegand, 1855/1856
  • Politeia , German translation by Friedrich Schleiermacher



  1. Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, p. 202 f .; Debra Nails: The People of Plato , Indianapolis 2002, pp. 84 f., 121 f., 324-326; Debra Nails: The Dramatic Date of Plato's Republic . In: The Classical Journal 93, 1997/1998, pp. 383-396; Stephen A. White: Thrasymachus the Diplomat . In: Classical Philology 90, 1995, pp. 307-327, here: 324-326; Georges Leroux: La République . In: Richard Goulet (ed.): Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques , Volume 5/1, Paris 2012, pp. 789–814, here: 792 f.
  2. Norbert Blößner: Dialog author and dialogue figure: Reflections on the status of Socratic statements in the Politeia . In: Aleš Havlíček, Filip Karfík (eds.): The Republic and the Laws of Plato , Prague 1998, pp. 8–26; Norbert Blößner: Dialogform und Argument , Stuttgart 1997, pp. 6–12, 15.
  3. Thomas Alexander Szlezák: The idea of ​​the good in Plato's Politeia , Sankt Augustin 2003, pp. 18-20.
  4. See the overview by Thomas Alexander Szlezák (Hrsg.): Plato: Der Staat. Politeia , Düsseldorf / Zurich 2000, p. 943.
  5. Plato, Politeia 357a, 474d, 548d – e.
  6. On Glaukon's personality and role in this dialogue, see Leon Harold Craig: The War Lover. A Study of Plato's Republic , Toronto 1994, pp. 112-129; Mario Vegetti: Glaucone . In: Mario Vegetti (Ed.): Platone: La Repubblica , Vol. 2, Napoli 1998, pp. 151-172.
  7. ^ Leon Harold Craig: The War Lover. A Study of Plato's Republic , Toronto 1994, pp. 112-129.
  8. For the figure of Thrasymachos dialog see John H. Quincey: Another purpose for Plato, Republic 'I . In: Hermes 109, 1981, pp. 300-315; Thomas Alexander Szlezák: Plato and the writing of philosophy , Berlin 1985, p. 298 f.
  9. George B. Kerferd, Hellmut Flashar: Die Sophistik . In: Hellmut Flashar (ed.): Sophistik, Sokrates, Sokratik, Mathematik, Medizin ( Outline of the history of philosophy. The philosophy of antiquity , Volume 2/1), Basel 1998, pp. 1–137, here: 54–57 ; Stephen A. White: Thrasymachus the Diplomat . In: Classical Philology 90, 1995, pp. 307-327; Debra Nails: The People of Plato , Indianapolis 2002, pp. 288-290.
  10. For the historical figures Polemarchos and Cephalos and their role as dialogue characters see Silvia Gastaldi: Polemarco . In: Mario Vegetti (Ed.): Platone: La Repubblica , Vol. 1, Napoli 1998, pp. 171-191; Silvia Campese: Cefalo . In: Mario Vegetti (ed.): Platone: La Repubblica , Vol. 1, Napoli 1998, pp. 133–157; Debra Nails: The People of Plato , Indianapolis 2002, pp. 84 f., 251; Richard Goulet: Céphalos de Syracuse . In: Richard Goulet (ed.): Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques , Vol. 2, Paris 1994, pp. 263-266.
  11. Debra Nails: The People of Plato , Indianapolis 2002, p. 102 f.
  12. See Norbert Blößner: Dialogform und Argument , Stuttgart 1997, pp. 190–193.
  13. Plato, Politeia 527c.
  14. See on the Bendideia Silvia Campese, Silvia Gastaldi: Bendidie e Panatenee . In: Mario Vegetti (Ed.): Platone: La Repubblica , Vol. 1, Napoli 1998, pp. 105-131.
  15. Plato, Politeia 327a-328c. For the significance of the opening scene, see Harald Seubert : Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, p. 216 f .; Thomas Alexander Szlezák: Plato and the writing of philosophy , Berlin 1985, pp. 271–277.
  16. Plato, Politeia 328c-331d. See Devin Stauffer: Plato's Introduction to the Question of Justice , Albany 2001, pp. 21-26; Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, p. 218 f .; Darren J. Sheppard: Plato's Republic , Edinburgh 2009, pp. 25-28.
  17. Plato, Politeia 331d-332c.
  18. Plato, Politeia 332c-335b. See Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, p. 219.
  19. Plato, Politeia 335b-336a. See Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, p. 219 f. For an assessment of the quality of Socrates' argument against Polemarchus see Luke Purshouse: Plato's Republic , London 2006, pp. 18-21; Devin Stauffer: Plato's Introduction to the Question of Justice , Albany 2001, pp. 26-55.
  20. Plato, Politeia 336b-339e.
  21. Plato, Politeia 340a-343a.
  22. Plato, Politeia 343b-344c. See Devin Stauffer: Plato's Introduction to the Question of Justice , Albany 2001, pp. 78–86.
  23. Plato, Politeia 344d-349a. On Thrasymachos 'position, see Devin Stauffer: Thrasymachus' Attachment to Justice? In: Polis 26, 2009, pp. 1–10 and the literature cited there on p. 3 note 3; Mark Piper: Doing Justice to Thrasymachus . In: Polis 22, 2005, pp. 24–44 and the literature cited there, p. 29, note 3.
  24. Plato, Politeia 349b-354a. For the validity of Socrates' argument against Thrasymachus, see Luke Purshouse: Plato's Republic , London 2006, pp. 22-27; Devin Stauffer: Plato's Introduction to the Question of Justice , Albany 2001, pp. 59-78, 87-120; Rachel Barney: Socrates' Refutation of Thrasymachus . In: Gerasimos Santas (ed.): The Blackwell Guide to Plato's Republic , Malden 2006, pp. 44-62; Norbert Blößner: On Plato, 'Politeia' 352d – 357d . In: Hermes 119, 1991, pp. 61-73.
  25. Plato, Politeia 357a-362c. Cf. Marcel van Ackeren : The knowledge of the good , Amsterdam 2003, pp. 124-131; Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 269–273.
  26. ^ Plato, Politeia 362d-367e. See Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 273–276.
  27. Plato, Politeia 368a-369a. See Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 276–278.
  28. Plato, Politeia 369a-376d. Cf. Olof Gigon: Present and Utopia , Vol. 1, Zurich 1976, pp. 143–173; Gustav Adolf Seeck : Plato's "Pig State" (Politeia 369b5–372d6) . In: Gymnasium 101, 1994, pp. 97–111; Catherine McKeen: Swillsburg City Limits (The City of Pigs: Republic 370C-372D) . In: Polis 21, 2004, pp. 70-92.
  29. Plato, Politeia 374a-376d. Cf. Olof Gigon: Presentness and Utopia , Vol. 1, Zurich 1976, pp. 173-195; Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 281–285.
  30. Plato, Politeia 376d-377d. See Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 286–288.
  31. Plato, Politeia 377b-398b; see. 408b-c. Cf. Stefan Büttner: Plato's theory of literature and its anthropological justification , Tübingen 2000, pp. 145–155; Olof Gigon: Present and Utopia , Vol. 1, Zurich 1976, pp. 197–268; Michael Bordt : Platons Theologie , Freiburg 2006, pp. 135–144.
  32. Plato, Politeia 398c-412b. Cf. Olof Gigon: Presentness and Utopia , Vol. 1, Zurich 1976, pp. 268–351; Stefan Büttner: Plato's theory of literature and its anthropological justification , Tübingen 2000, pp. 155–159; Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 290–294, 296–298.
  33. Plato, Politeia 412b-414b.
  34. Plato, Politeia 414b-415d; see. 423c-d. See also Olof Gigon: Presentness and Utopia , Vol. 1, Zurich 1976, pp. 363–377; Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 294–296.
  35. Plato, Politeia 415d-423b. Cf. Olof Gigon: Presentness and Utopia , Vol. 1, Zurich 1976, pp. 378-425.
  36. Plato, Politeia 423b-427c. Cf. Olof Gigon: Presentness and Utopia , Vol. 1, Zurich 1976, pp. 426–465.
  37. Plato, Politeia 427d-432b. Cf. Olof Gigon: Presentness and Utopia , Vol. 1, Zurich 1976, pp. 466–486.
  38. Plato, Politeia 432b-434d. Cf. Olof Gigon: Presentness and Utopia , Vol. 1, Zurich 1976, pp. 486–496.
  39. Plato, Politeia 434d-436a. For a comparison between state and soul, see Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 314–321; Jonathan Lear: Inside and Outside the Republic . In: Richard Kraut (ed.): Plato's Republic. Critical Essays , Lanham 1997, pp. 61-94, here: 61-80; Otfried Höffe: On the analogy of the individual and the polis (Book II 367a – 374d). In: Otfried Höffe (Ed.): Platon: Politeia , 3rd, edited edition. Berlin 2011, pp. 51–69.
  40. Cf. Giovanni RF Ferrari: The Three-Part Soul . In: Giovanni RF Ferrari (ed.): The Cambridge Companion to Plato's Republic , Cambridge / New York 2007, pp. 165–201, here: 171–174, 200.
  41. Plato, Politeia 436a-441e. See Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 321–324.
  42. ↑ On the order of the soul, see Era Gavrielides: What Is Wrong with Degenerate Souls in the Republic? In: Phronesis 55, 2010, pp. 203-227; Marcel van Ackeren: The knowledge of the good , Amsterdam 2003, pp. 134–148.
  43. Plato, Politeia 441e-445e.
  44. Plato, Politeia 449a-450a; see. 423e-424a.
  45. Plato, Politeia 450a-457c.
  46. Plato, Politeia 457c-461e. According to a different interpretation, hiding does not mean exposure (i.e. the death of the children), but only exclusion from the guardianship and growing up in the lowest class; see William KC Guthrie : A History of Greek Philosophy , Vol. 4, Cambridge 1975, pp. 481 f.
  47. Plato, Politeia 461e-466d.
  48. Plato, Politeia 466d-471c. See Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, p. 336.
  49. On the metaphor of the wave see Thomas Alexander Szlezák: The idea of ​​the good in Plato's Politeia , Sankt Augustin 2003, pp. 25–28.
  50. Plato, Politeia 471c-473b.
  51. Plato, Politeia 473b-474c.
  52. Plato, Politeia 474c-480a. Cf. Stefan Büttner: Plato's theory of literature and its anthropological justification , Tübingen 2000, pp. 159–162; Marcel van Ackeren: The distinction between knowledge and opinion in Politeia V and its practical meaning . In: Marcel van Ackeren (Ed.): Understanding Platon , Darmstadt 2004, pp. 92–110.
  53. Plato, Politeia 484a-484d.
  54. Plato, Politeia 484D-487a.
  55. ↑ On this ancient understanding of philosophy, which is not limited to Platonism, see the fundamental study by Pierre Hadot : Philosophy as a way of life. Spiritual exercises in antiquity , Berlin 1991 (on Plato especially p. 9, 23–33).
  56. Plato, Politeia 487b-502c.
  57. Plato, Politeia 500b – d.
  58. Plato, Politeia 502c-506b. Thomas Alexander Szlezák examines the role of the idea of ​​the good in detail: The idea of ​​the good in Plato's Politeia , Sankt Augustin 2003. Cf. Marcel van Ackeren: Das Wissen vom Guten , Amsterdam 2003, pp. 171–199; Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 350–369.
  59. Plato, Politeia 506b-520d. On the transcendence of the idea of ​​the good see Jens Halfwassen : Der Aufstieg zum Eine , 2nd, extended edition, Leipzig 2006, pp. 220-263.
  60. Plato, Politeia 506d-509c. Cf. Jens Halfwassen: The rise to one , 2nd, expanded edition. Leipzig 2006, pp. 245-261.
  61. Plato, Politeia 509d – 511e.
  62. Plato, Politeia 514a-518b. See the explanations by Thomas Alexander Szlezák: The idea of ​​the good in Plato's Politeia , Sankt Augustin 2003, pp. 89-107. See Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 379–389.
  63. Plato, Politeia 518b-519b; see. 515e-516a.
  64. Plato, Politeia 519b-521b; see. 516c-517e.
  65. Plato, Politeia 521c-535a. See Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 389–396.
  66. Plato, Politeia 535a-541b. See Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 396–398.
  67. Plato, Politeia 543a-545c.
  68. Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, p. 408.
  69. Plato, Politeia 544e-545a.
  70. Plato, Politeia 545a-550c.
  71. Plato, Politeia 550c-556c. For Plato's assessment of the oligarchy, see Susan Sara Monoson: Plato's Democratic Entanglements , Princeton 2000, pp. 115–118.
  72. Plato, Politeia 555b-557a. See Alexander Fuks : Plato and the Social Question . In: Ancient Society 8, 1977, pp. 49-83, here: 57-59, 65 f.
  73. ↑ On Plato's understanding of democratic freedom of speech, see Susan Sara Monoson: Plato's Democratic Entanglements , Princeton 2000, pp. 165–178.
  74. Plato, Politeia 557a-562a. For the interpretation, see Darren J. Sheppard: Plato's Republic , Edinburgh 2009, pp. 136–140.
  75. ^ Plato, Politeia 562a-563e.
  76. Plato, Politeia 563e – 566d.
  77. Plato, Politeia 566d-569c. See Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, p. 414 f.
  78. Plato, Politeia 571a-576b.
  79. Plato, Politeia 576b-592b.
  80. ^ Plato, Politeia 595a-c.
  81. On the theory of ideas in the Politeia see Terry Penner: The Forms in the Republic . In: Gerasimos Santas (ed.): The Blackwell Guide to Plato's Republic , Malden 2006, pp. 234-262; Julia Annas: An Introduction to Plato's Republic , Oxford 1981, pp. 217-241; Marcel van Ackeren: The knowledge of the good , Amsterdam 2003, pp. 159–165.
  82. Plato, Politeia 595c-596e.
  83. Plato, Politeia 596e-608b.
  84. Plato, Politeia 608c-d.
  85. Plato, Politeia 608d-612a. For a discussion of validity, see Eric A. Brown: A Defense of Plato's Argument for the Immortality of the Soul at Republic X 608c-611a . In: Ellen Wagner (Ed.): Essays on Plato's Psychology , Lanham 2001, pp. 297–322.
  86. Plato, Politeia 612a-614a. For an interpretation of the myth, see Stephen Halliwell: The Life-and-Death Journey of the Soul . In: Giovanni RF Ferrari (ed.): The Cambridge Companion to Plato's Republic , Cambridge / New York 2007, pp. 445–473. On the function of the myth Giovanni RF Ferrari: Glaucon's reward, philosophy's debt: the myth of Er . In: Catalin Partenie (Ed.): Plato's Myths , Cambridge 2009, pp. 116-133.
  87. Plato, Politeia 614b – d.
  88. Plato, Politeia 614b-616b.
  89. Plato, Politeia 614c-617d.
  90. Plato, Politeia 617d-618b. Cf. Dirk Cürsgen: Die Rationalität des Mythischen , Berlin 2002, pp. 114–121.
  91. ^ Plato, Politeia 618b-620e. See Francisco J. Gonzalez: Combating Oblivion: The Myth of Er as Both Philosophy's Challenge and Inspiration . In: Catherine Collobert u. a. (Ed.): Plato and Myth , Leiden 2012, pp. 259-278, here: 263-270; Harald Seubert: Polis and Nomos , Berlin 2005, pp. 434–436; Wolfgang M. Zeitler: Freedom of choice in Platon , Munich 1983, pp. 114–136.
  92. Plato, Politeia 621b – d. See Francisco J. Gonzalez: Combating Oblivion: The Myth of Er as Both Philosophy's Challenge and Inspiration . In: Catherine Collobert u. a. (Ed.): Plato and Myth , Leiden 2012, pp. 259-278, here: 275-278.
  93. Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, p. 205 f. The ideal state u consider to be purely utopian. a. William KC Guthrie: A History of Greek Philosophy , Vol. 4, Cambridge 1975, pp. 470, 483-486; Hellmut Flashar: The Platonic State as Utopia . In: Olof Gigon, Michael W. Fischer (eds.): Antike Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie , Frankfurt 1988, pp. 23–36; Hans-Georg Gadamer: Plato's thinking in utopias . In: Gadamer: Gesammelte Werke , Vol. 7, Tübingen 1991, pp. 270–289, here: 283, 288 and Plato's state of education . In: Gadamer: Gesammelte Werke , Vol. 5, Tübingen 1985, pp. 249–262, here: 249. Georges Leroux turns against a symbolic interpretation of the state model: La tripartition de l'âme . In: Monique Dixsaut (Ed.): Études sur la République de Platon , Vol. 1, Paris 2005, pp. 123–147. Donald R. Morrison takes the view that Plato considered the model to be at least partially feasible: The Utopian Character of Plato's Ideal City . In: Giovanni RF Ferrari (ed.): The Cambridge Companion to Plato's Republic , Cambridge / New York 2007, pp. 232–255. A firm advocate of an interpretation in terms of practicality is Myles F. Burnyeat: Utopia and Fantasy: The Practicability of Plato's Ideally Just City . In: Gail Fine (Ed.): Plato , Oxford 2000, pp. 779-790. More recent interpretations in an ironic sense: Jonathan Fine: Laughing to Learn: Irony in the Republic as Pedagogy . In: Polis 28, 2011, pp. 235–249 and the literature mentioned on p. 235 note 4.
  94. Plato, Politeia 607b.
  95. Plato, Politeia 595b.
  96. Plato, Politeia 607b-608a. For the interpretation of the poet's criticism, see Stefan Büttner: The theory of literature in Plato and its anthropological justification , Tübingen 2000, pp. 170–214; Jessica Moss: What Is Imitative Poetry and Why Is It Bad? In: Giovanni RF Ferrari (ed.): The Cambridge Companion to Plato's Republic , Cambridge / New York 2007, pp. 415–444; Jonathan Lear: Inside and Outside the Republic . In: Richard Kraut (ed.): Plato's Republic. Critical Essays , Lanham 1997, pp. 61–94, here: 80–86 as well as the articles in Pierre Destrée, Fritz-Gregor Herrmann (ed.): Plato and the Poets , Leiden 2011. Cf. on the censorship of poetry by Ramona A. Naddaff: Exiling the Poets. The Production of Censorship in Plato's Republic , Chicago 2002.
  97. ^ William KC Guthrie: A History of Greek Philosophy , Vol. 4, Cambridge 1975, pp. 457-459; Raphael Woolf: Truth as a Value in Plato's Republic . In: Phronesis 54, 2009, pp. 9-39; Malcolm Schofield: The Noble Lie . In: Giovanni RF Ferrari (ed.): The Cambridge Companion to Plato's Republic , Cambridge / New York 2007, pp. 138-164; C. David C. Reeve: Philosopher-Kings , Princeton 1988, pp. 208-213.
  98. Kai Trampedach: Platon, the Academy and contemporary politics , Stuttgart 1994, pp. 186–196.
  99. Gregory Vlastos: What Plato a Feminist? . In: Richard Kraut (ed.): Plato's Republic. Critical Essays , Lanham 1997, pp. 115-128.
  100. Luke Purshouse: Plato's Republic , London 2006, pp 68-72; Julia Annas: Plato's Republic and Feminism . In: Gail Fine (Ed.): Plato , Oxford 2000, pp. 747-761; Michael Erler: Gender difference as a convention . In: Elmar Klinger u. a. (Ed.): The body and religion , Würzburg 2000, pp. 47–66.
  101. For a discussion of Plato's “Communism” see the overview in Anna Schriefl: Plato's Critique of Money and Wealth , Berlin 2013, pp. 27–29.
  102. Hans Joachim Krämer : Arete in Platon and Aristoteles , Heidelberg 1959, pp. 91–96; Herwig Görgemanns : Platon , Heidelberg 1994, p. 141; C. David C. Reeve: Philosopher-Kings , Princeton 1988, pp. 245-249.
  103. Julia Annas provides an overview: Plato and Common Morality . In: The Classical Quarterly 28, 1978, pp. 437-451. See Rachana Kamtekar: Ethics and politics in Socrates' defense of justice . In: Mark L. McPherran (ed.): Plato's Republic , Cambridge 2010, pp. 65–82, here: 67–72; Darren J. Sheppard: Plato's Republic , Edinburgh 2009, pp. 70-72.
  104. On Plato's understanding of the tripartite division of the soul see Thomas A. Szlezák: Immortality and Trichotomy of the Soul in the tenth book of the Politeia . In: Phronesis 21, 1976, pp. 31-58; Christopher Shields: Plato's divided soul . In: Mark L. McPherran (Ed.): Plato's Republic , Cambridge 2010, pp. 147-170; Hendrik Lorenz: The Analysis of the Soul in Plato's Republic . In: Gerasimos Santas (ed.): The Blackwell Guide to Plato's Republic , Malden 2006, pp. 146–165; Stefan Büttner: The tripartition of the soul in Plato's Republic . In: Fritz-Gregor Herrmann (Ed.): New Essays on Plato , Swansea 2006, pp. 75–93; Stefan Büttner: The literary theory in Plato and its anthropological justification , Tübingen 2000, pp. 18–37, 62–111; Andreas Graeser : Problems of the Platonic theory of division of the soul , Munich 1969, pp. 1–40, 107 f .; C. David C. Reeve: Blindness and Reorientation , Oxford 2013, pp. 79-109.
  105. Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, pp. 203–205. In more recent research, Holger Thesleff in particular has advocated the hypothesis of an early original version (“Proto-Politeia”); see Holger Thesleff: Platonic Patterns , Las Vegas 2009, pp. 250-255, 285 f., 425, 519-539. See Debra Nails: Agora, Academy, and the Conduct of Philosophy , Dordrecht 1995, pp. 116–126. Against assembly from separate parts are u. a. Georges Leroux: La République . In: Richard Goulet (ed.): Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques , Volume 5/1, Paris 2012, pp. 789–814, here: 789–792; Charles H. Kahn: Proleptic composition in the Republic, or Why Book 1 was never a separate dialogue . In: The Classical Quarterly 43, pp. 131-142; William KC Guthrie: A History of Greek Philosophy , Vol. 4, Cambridge 1975, p. 437. For an explanation of the heterogeneity, cf. Thomas Alexander Szlezák: Platon and the writing of philosophy , Berlin 1985, pp. 277–285. Arguments for a separate origin of the first book are compiled in Gregory Vlastos: Socrates. Ironist and moral philosopher , Cambridge 1991, pp. 248-251. For the special position of the tenth book see Mario Vegetti (ed.): Platone: La Repubblica. Traduzione e commento , Vol. 7, Napoli 2007, p. 17.
  106. Michael Erler: Platon , Basel 2007, p. 203 f. See, however, Holger Thesleff: Platonic Patterns , Las Vegas 2009, pp. 250, 285, 331–333; Thesleff expects a very long period of creation.
  107. The earliest evidence can be found in Diogenes Laertios (3.57). Diogenes refers there to the scholar Thrasyllos († 36).
  108. ^ Corpus dei Papiri Filosofici Greci e Latini (CPF) , Part 1, Vol. 1 ***, Firenze 1999, pp. 335-373.
  109. Gerrit J. Boter: The Textual Tradition of Plato's Republic , Amsterdam 1986, p. 335 f.
  110. ^ Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Gr. 1807. For the handwritten tradition, see Gerrit J. Boter: The Textual Tradition of Plato's Republic , Amsterdam 1986, pp. 15–294.
  111. Aristotle, Politics 1261a – 1265a, 1316a – b. On the criticism of Aristotle Reinhart Maurer, see: Plato's ‚Staat 'und die Demokratie , Berlin 1970, pp. 148–166; Norbert Blößner: Dialogform and Argument , Stuttgart 1997, pp. 139–149; Robert Mayhew: Aristotle's Criticism of Plato's Republic , Lanham 1997; Darrell David Dobbs: Aristotle's Political Criticism of Plato's "Republic" , Rochester 1982 (dissertation), pp. 1-78; Richard F. Stalley: Plato and Aristotle on Political Unity . In: Mario Vegetti, Michele Abbate (eds.): La Repubblica di Platone nella tradizione antica , Napoli 1999, pp. 29-48.
  112. Hellmut Flashar (ed.): Outline of the history of philosophy. The philosophy of antiquity , Vol. 3: Older Academy - Aristoteles - Peripatos , 2nd edition. Basel 2004, pp. 534, 551, 583 f.
  113. The relevant passages have been compiled, translated and commented on by Heinrich Dörrie , Matthias Baltes : Der Platonismus in der Antike , Vol. 3, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1993, pp. 18 f., 44–47, 152 f., 202–206 .
  114. Peter Steinmetz : The Stoa . In: Hellmut Flashar (ed.): Outline of the history of philosophy. The philosophy of antiquity , vol. 4: The Hellenistic philosophy , Basel 1994, pp. 491–716, here: 522 f.
  115. The relevant passages have been compiled, translated and commented on by Heinrich Dörrie, Matthias Baltes: Der Platonismus in der Antike , Vol. 2, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1990, pp. 46 f., 50 f., 60–65, 68 f. , 285-287, 291, 307-310, 312 f.
  116. ^ Heinrich Dörrie, Matthias Baltes: The Platonism in the Antike , Vol. 2, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1990, pp. 14-17, 239-242; Dirk Cürsgen: The Rationality of the Mythical , Berlin 2002, pp. 188–193.
  117. See Heinrich Dörrie, Matthias Baltes: Der Platonismus in der Antike , Vol. 1, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1987, pp. 212–215, 490 f.
  118. ^ Cicero, Tusculanae disputationes 2.27.
  119. Diogenes Laertios 3: 57-60.
  120. Epictetus, fragment 15.
  121. ^ Heinrich Dörrie, Matthias Baltes: The Platonism in antike , Vol. 3, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1993, pp. 44-47, 204.
  122. See on Iamblichos' Politeia Reception Dominic O'Meara: Plato's Republic in the School of Iamblichus . In: Mario Vegetti, Michele Abbate (eds.): La Repubblica di Platone nella tradizione antica , Napoli 1999, pp. 193-205.
  123. Dirk Cürsgen: Die Rationalität des Mythischen , Berlin 2002, p. 164; Heinrich Dörrie, Matthias Baltes: Platonism in antiquity , Vol. 3, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1993, pp. 206-208, 225 f.
  124. ^ František Novotný: The Posthumous Life of Plato , Den Haag 1977, p. 260 f.
  125. The relevant passages have been compiled, translated and commented on by Heinrich Dörrie, Matthias Baltes: Der Platonismus in der Antike , Vol. 2, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1990, pp. 64–69, 196 f., 310–312, 486.
  126. ^ František Novotný: The Posthumous Life of Plato , Den Haag 1977, pp. 131, 136, 145 f.
  127. ^ Nigel G. Wilson: Scholars of Byzantium , London 1983, p. 115.
  128. See on this reception Stefano Perfetti: Immagini della Repubblica nei commenti medievali alla Politica di Aristotle: i casi di Alberto Magno e Tommaso d'Aquino . In: Mario Vegetti, Paolo Pissavino (eds.): I Decembrio e la tradizione della Repubblica di Platone tra medioevo e umanesimo , Napoli 2005, pp. 83-98.
  129. See on Politeia reception in the Islamic world Massimo Campanini: La tradizione della Repubblica nei falâsifah musulmani . In: Mario Vegetti, Paolo Pissavino (eds.): I Decembrio e la tradizione della Repubblica di Platone tra medioevo e umanesimo , Napoli 2005, pp. 31-81.
  130. Dimitri Gutas : Plato. Tradition arabe . In: Richard Goulet (ed.): Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques , Vol. 5/1, Paris 2012, pp. 845–863, here: 856–858.
  131. ^ Friedrich Niewöhner : Polis and Madīna. Averroes' reading of Plato . In: Peter Bruns (Ed.): Von Athen nach Bagdad , Bonn 2003, pp. 76–91.
  132. James Hankins: Plato in the Italian Renaissance , 3rd edition. Leiden 1994, pp. 108-110.
  133. See on Ficino's Politeia Reception Ada Neschke-Hentschke: Platonisme politique et théorie du droit naturel , Vol. 2, Louvain-la-Neuve / Paris 2003, pp. 210–217.
  134. Jean Céard: Le modèle de la République de Platon et la pensée politique au XVI e siècle . In: Platon et Aristote à la Renaissance , Paris 1976, pp. 175–190, here: 184 f.
  135. Thomas More: Utopia , ed. George M. Logan et al. a., Cambridge 1995, pp. 100-105. For more on Mores Politeia Reception, see George M. Logan: The Meaning of More's "Utopia," Princeton 1983, pp. 195-218. Cf. Dietmar Herz: Thomas More for an introduction , Hamburg 1999, pp. 78-87.
  136. ^ Richard Saage : Political Utopias of the Modern Age , 2nd edition. Bochum 2000, pp. 28-32, 59-124.
  137. ^ Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Émile . In: Rousseau: Œuvres complètes , Vol. 4, Paris 1969, pp. 250, 1299.
  138. Christoph Böhr : Knowledge certainty and political philosophy. On Christian Wolff's postulate des philosophus regnans . In: Journal for philosophical research 36, 1982, pp. 579-598.
  139. Kant's works (Academy edition) Vol. 8, Berlin 1912, p. 369. For Kant's position see Otfried Höffe: Four chapters of a history of the impact of the Politeia . In: Otfried Höffe (Ed.): Plato: Politeia , 3rd edition. Berlin 2011, pp. 259–280, here: 271–275.
  140. Immanuel Kant: Critique of Pure Reason A 316 f., B 372–374.
  141. ^ For example, in William KC Guthrie: A History of Greek Philosophy , Vol. 4, Cambridge 1975, p. 434; Thomas Alexander Szlezák (ed.): Plato: The state. Politeia , Düsseldorf 2000, p. 903; Michael Erler: Kleines Werklexikon Platon (= Kröner Taschenbuch. Volume 502), Stuttgart 2007, p. 79; Holger Thesleff: Platonic Patterns , Las Vegas 2009, p. 250.
  142. Olof Gigon: Present and Utopia , Vol. 1, Zurich 1976, p. 30.
  143. ^ Leo Strauss: The City and Man , Chicago 1964, p. 62.
  144. ^ Leo Strauss: The City and Man , Chicago 1964, pp. 127, 138.
  145. Ernst Cassirer: The Myth of the State , 2nd edition. Zurich 1978, p. 104.
  146. ^ William KC Guthrie: A History of Greek Philosophy , Vol. 4, Cambridge 1975, p. 434; Karlheinz Hülser: Plato for beginners. Der Staat , Munich 2005, p. 25; Otfried Höffe (Ed.): Plato: Politeia , 3rd, edited edition. Berlin 2011, p. IX.
  147. See, for example, Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff : Platon. His life and works , 5th edition. Berlin 1959 (1st edition Berlin 1919), pp. 350–354.
  148. Reinhart Maurer: Plato's 'State' and Democracy , Berlin 1970, p. 301 f .; Herwig Görgemanns: Platon , Heidelberg 1994, pp. 151-153.
  149. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Basics of the Philosophy of Law (= Collected Works , Vol. 14/1), Hamburg 2009, p. 14.
  150. Eduard Zeller: The philosophy of the Greeks presented in their historical development , Part 2, Division 1, 4th edition. Leipzig 1889, pp. 914-923.
  151. On Jowett's role, see Frank M. Turner: The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain , New Haven 1981, pp. 414–432; Darren J. Sheppard: Plato's Republic , Edinburgh 2009, p. 4.
  152. Karl Marx: Das Kapital , Chapter 12, Marx-Engels-Werke Vol. 23, Berlin 1970, p. 388.
  153. Jump up ↑ Kurt Hildebrandt: Platon , Berlin 1959 (1st edition Berlin 1933), pp. 208-253.
  154. For the history of these controversies, see Kyriakos N. Demetriou: A 'Legend' in Crisis: The Debate over Plato's Politics, 1930–1960 . In: Polis 19, 2002, pp. 61-91 and Melissa Lane: Plato's Progeny , London 2001, pp. 97-134. Cf. the overviews by Dirk Otto: The utopian state model of Plato's Politeia from the point of view of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four , Berlin 1994, pp. 18–21, 120–138 and Konstantin Schimert: Die Platonkritik Karl Poppers , Neuried 2003, p. 17-40.
  155. ^ Karl Popper: The open society and their enemies , Vol. 1, 7th edition. Tübingen 1992, p. 52 f.
  156. ^ Karl Popper: The open society and their enemies , Vol. 1, 7th edition. Tübingen 1992, p. 57.
  157. ^ Karl Popper: The open society and their enemies , Vol. 1, 7th edition. Tübingen 1992, p. 106.
  158. ^ Karl Popper: The open society and their enemies , Vol. 1, 7th edition. Tübingen 1992, pp. 67, 95, 99 f., 106 f., 126. On historicism, see Dorothea Frede : Platon, Popper and historicism . In: Enno Rudolph (Ed.): Polis and Kosmos , Darmstadt 1996, pp. 74-107.
  159. ^ Karl Popper: The open society and their enemies , Vol. 1, 7th edition. Tübingen 1992, pp. 181-186.
  160. ↑ For a research report, see Francesco Fronterotta: Plato's Republic in the Recent Debate . In: Journal of the History of Philosophy 48, 2010, pp. 125–151, here: 128–132. Opponents of Popper's interpretation include a. Hartmut Erbse : Plato's “Politeia” and the modern anti-Platonists . In: Gymnasium 83, 1976, pp. 169–191 [critical of this Andreas Graeser: Comments on “Plato's 'Politeia' and the modern anti-Platonists” . In: Gymnasium 84, 1977, pp. 493-501]; John J. Cleary: Popper on Freedom and Equality in Plato . In: Polis 22, 2005, pp. 109-127; Christopher CW Taylor: Plato's Totalitarianism . In: Gail Fine (Ed.): Plato , Oxford 2000, pp. 762-778; Konrad Gaiser : Collected Writings , Sankt Augustin 2004, pp. 105–113; Ronald B. Levinson : In Defense of Plato , Cambridge 1953, pp. 16 ff .; Dirk Otto: The utopian state model of Plato's Politeia from the point of view of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four , Berlin 1994, pp. 120–257; John Wild: Plato's Modern Enemies and the Theory of Natural Law , Chicago 1953; Marc Schlette: The Magic of Poppers , Duisburg 2001.
  161. Hans-Georg Gadamer: Plato and the Poets (1934). In: Gadamer: Gesammelte Werke , Vol. 5, Tübingen 1985, pp. 187–211, here: 194, 196–198; Plato's State of Education (1942). In: Gadamer: Gesammelte Werke , Vol. 5, Tübingen 1985, pp. 249-262; Plato's Thinking in Utopias (1983). In: Gadamer: Gesammelte Werke , Vol. 7, Tübingen 1991, pp. 270–289, here: 275, 278 f.
  162. Jacques Derrida: Politics of Friendship , Frankfurt am Main 2002, p. 135.
  163. Ernst Bloch: The principle of hope. In five parts. Chapter 1-37 , Frankfurt am Main 1959, pp. 562 f., 565 f.
  164. Arnold Toynbee: A Study of History (Abridgement of Volumes I-VI), New York 1947, pp. 181-185.
  165. ^ Ralf Dahrendorf: Paths from Utopia , 3rd edition. Munich 1974, p. 313.
  166. ^ Ada Neschke-Hentschke: Plato and the modern constitutional state . In: Andreas Eckl, Clemens Kauffmann (eds.): Politischer Platonismus , Würzburg 2008, pp. 63–74; Ada Neschke-Hentschke: Political Platonism and the theory of natural law . In: Enno Rudolph (Ed.): Polis and Kosmos , Darmstadt 1996, pp. 55–73. Overall presentation: Ada Neschke-Hentschke: Platonisme politique et théorie du droit naturel , 2 volumes, Louvain-la-Neuve / Paris 1995–2003.
  167. Hans Kelsen: The Illusion of Justice , Vienna 1985, p. 378.
  168. ^ Alain Badiou: La République de Platon , Paris 2012; English translation: Plato's Republic , Cambridge 2012.
  169. See the summary of Badiou's concept by Kenneth Reinhard: Introduction . In: Alain Badiou: Plato's Republic , Cambridge 2012, pp. VII – XXIII.
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on January 14, 2014 in this version .