Structure of Plato's Republic - Structure - Cornford, Hildebrandt and Voegelin Subdivisions

Cornford, Hildebrandt and Voegelin Subdivisions

Francis Cornford, Kurt Hildebrandt, and Eric Voegelin contributed to an establishment of sub-divisions marked with special formulae in Greek:

Prologue
I.1. 327a—328b. Descent to the Piraeus
I.2—I.5. 328b—331d. Cephalus. Justice of the Older Generation
I.6—1.9. 331e—336a. Polemarchus. Justice of the Middle Generation
I.10—1.24. 336b—354c. Thrasymachus. Justice of the Sophist
Introduction
II.1—II.10. 357a—369b. The Question: Is Justice better than Injustice?
Part I: Genesis and Order of the Polis
II.11—II.16. 369b—376e. Genesis of the Polis
II.16—III.18. 376e—412b. Education of the Guardians
III.19—IV.5. 412b—427c. Constitution of the Polis
IV.6—IV.19. 427c—445e. Justice in the Polis
Part II: Embodiment of the Idea
V.1—V.16. 449a—471c. Somatic Unit of Polis and Hellenes
V.17—VI.14. 471c—502c. Rule of the Philosophers
VI.19—VII.5. 502c—521c. The Idea of the Agathon
VII.6—VII.18. 521c—541b. Education of the Philosophers
Part III: Decline of the Polis
VIII.1—VIII.5. 543a—550c. Timocracy
VIII.6—VIII.9. 550c—555b. Oligarchy
VIII.10—VIII.13. 555b—562a. Democracy
VIII.14—IX.3. 562a—576b. Tyranny
Conclusion
IX.4—IX.13. 576b—592b Answer: Justice is Better than Injustice.
Epilogue
X.1—X.8. 595a—608b. Rejection of Mimetic Art
X.9—X.11. 608c—612a. Immortality of the Soul
X.12. 612a—613e. Rewards of Justice in Life
X.13—X.16. 613e—621d. Judgment of the Dead

The paradigm of the city — the idea of the Good, the Agathon — has manifold historical embodiments, undertaken by those who have seen the Agathon, and are ordered via the vision. The centre piece of the Republic, Part II, numbers 2–3, discusses the rule of the philosopher, and the vision of the Agathon with the allegory of the cave, which is clarified in the theory of forms. The centre piece is preceded and followed by the discussion of the means that will secure a well-ordered polis (City). Part II, no. 1, concerns marriage, the community of people and goods for the Guardians, and the restraints on warfare among the Hellenes. It describes a partially communistic polis. Part II, no. 4, deals with the philosophical education of the rulers who will preserve the order and character of the city-state.

In Part II, the Embodiment of the Idea, is preceded by the establishment of the economic and social orders of a polis (Part I), followed by an analysis (Part III) of the decline the order must traverse. The three parts compose the main body of the dialogues, with their discussions of the “paradigm”, its embodiment, its genesis, and its decline.

The Introduction and the Conclusion are the frame for the body of the Republic. The discussion of right order is occasioned by the questions: “Is Justice better than Injustice?” and “Will an Unjust man fare better than a Just man?” The introductory question is balanced by the concluding answer: “Justice is preferable to Injustice”. In turn, the foregoing are framed with the Prologue (Book I) and the Epilogue (Book X). The prologue is a short dialogue about the common public doxai (opinions) about “Justice”. Based upon faith, and not reason, the Epilogue describes the new arts and the immortality of the soul.

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