Is It Possible? An Examination of Adeimantus' Reply in Plato's "Republic"

Essay by MixedCollege, UndergraduateA, December 2006

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Plato's "Republic" has been examined by scholars strenuously since it was written in 360 BCE. Since The Republic is very deep and often insightful there are many issues that need to be examined in a narrower sense to understand completely. The passage I will be examining can be found at the beginning of book six, and is the first reply of Adeimantus. I will be trying to understand why Plato choose to have Adeimantus interject himself into the conversation between Socrates and Glaucon, and what he is trying to point out to the readers as a more discreet message.

Socrates begins by speaking to Glaucon about the nature of philosopher kings and how they should be raised in order to ensure they become successful kings. When Socrates comes to a conclusion with Glaucon and asks him "when people of this sort are in perfect condition because their education and their stage of life, wouldn't you entrust the city to them alone?" (Reeve 180) This is obviously a tough concept for anyone to grasp, mainly because it would seem that Socrates is the type of person he is suggesting should rule this city.

Adeimantus immediately interjected because the conclusion that was drawn from Glaucon and Socrates conversation seemed was something he was not comfortable with. Adeimantus then goes into some detail on the concerns he is having.

The basis of Adeimantus' argument is that no one can oppose these arguments that Socrates is putting forward because "they are inexperienced in answering and asking questions, they are led astray a little bit by the argument at every question, and then when these little bits are added together at the end of the discussion, a big false step appears that is the opposite of what they said at the outset." (Reeve...