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Plato's Republic books II-X
Transcript of Plato's Republic books II-X
by Jill Craven
“fine works of art, whose effect … imperceptibly guides them [young people], from
childhood onwards, until they are assimilated to, familiar with, and in harmony with the
beauty of reason” (58)
Plato argues that literature can strengthen character
Why Poets are (regretfully) banished
Their products are not truthful--they speak to the lower domains of the mind
How does Plato relate to Kant?
Does literature make an impact? If so, should there be censorship for the greater good?
Do you believe in Forms--Ideas--Universals?
Plato's Cave: An Allegory
"an analogy for the human condition—for our education or lack of it"
“a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a
hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one” (OED)
Literature makes an Impact
So we have to make sure it's a good impact, not a bad one.
In a perfect state, what would education
in cultural studies look like?
stories “best adapted for ... moral improvement” 
What will these stories look like? Gods:
No distorted images of gods or heroes; no fighting, scheming, evil deeds; these are bad examples
God portrayed as only responsible for good
God must also “be portrayed as he really is”:
uniform and truthful, without change
To promote bravery, must not have stories that promote fear of death
No famous men mourning or laughing—
set example—“rate honesty highly”
Should encourage audience self-
discipline, resist temptations
they are family to gods,
so must set examples
Heroes can’t do bad things
What should we strive for?
Use to develop expertise, training: harmony, grace, and rhythm to train the mind and
create good character
Want self-discipline, generosity, courage, broadness of vision
Ultimately cultural studies should
lead to love of beauty
Allegory of the Cave
Allegory of the Cave Explored
This deforms the minds of listeners--without antidote
Poetry is at two removes from the truth
Representer doesn't have knowledge or true beliefs
Definitions: (see summary for official definitions)
Allegory-- (see previous slide)
Socratic Dialogue--but not with the real Socrates
Forms/Ideas--often capitalized--realm of Truth, Real
Divine: Forms/Ideas (Truth resides here)
--unchangeable, universal?, true knowledge
Craftsmen: Made Things
Artists: Represented Things
"The Treachery of Images"
by Rene Magritte
("This is not a pipe")
Examples: Triangles, trees