In this book a distinguished philosopher offers a comprehensive interpretation of Plato's most controversial dialogue. Treating the Republic as a unity and focusing on the dramatic form as the presentation of the argument, Stanley Rosen challenges earlier analyses of the Republic (including the ironic reading of Leo Strauss and his disciples) and argues that the key to understanding the dialogue is to grasp the author's intention in composing it, in particular whether Plato believed that the city constructed in the Republic is possible and desirable.
Rosen demonstrates that the fundamental principles underlying the just city are theoretically attractive but that the attempt to enact them in practice leads to conceptual incoherence and political disaster. The Republic, says Rosen, is a vivid illustration of the irreconcilability of philosophy and political practice.
Stanley Rosen is Borden Parker Bowne Professor of Philosophy and University Professor at Boston University. His previous books include The Elusiveness of the Ordinary and Hermeneutics as Politics, both published by Yale University Press.