The Republic, Books I-VII


This is a composite outline of Plato’s Republic created from my personal notes and study. Specifically, I would like to thank John Paynter, Leo Paul S. de Alvarez, and David Sweet of the University of Dallas, Steven Forde and Richard Ruderman from University of North Texas.  If you find additional information to add to this list, or errors in the translation/interpretation, please contact: Michael Ault, All assistance and guidance is appreciated.


[Replication of this outline is strictly forbidden without prior consent.]


Book I: Three Views of Justice


A. 327-328B: Opening scene


B. 328B-331D: Cephalus section


**First Definition of Justice: paying your debts or giving to each what is owed.


C. 331E-336A: Polemarchus section


**Second Definition: Justice is doing good to friends and harm to enemies.


1. 331E-334B: what is fitting for a friend? The political view of justice


a.332C-333E: justice is reduced to guarding useless things


b.333E-334B: justice is reduced to stealing


2. 334C-335B: who is a friend? Debunking the political view of justice


3.335B-E: what is fitting for an enemy? Does justice harm anyone?


D. 336B-354C: Thrasymachus section


1. 336B-338B: initial confrontation between Thrasymachus and Socrates


2. 338C-347D: Third Definition of justice - Justice is the advantage of the stronger.

a.  338-340C: case of mistakes in rule. 


          b. 340C-343A: case of perfect knowledge in ruler


     3. Justice as an art



Books II-IV: The Search for Justice: Individual and city.


A. 357a- 367e G&A challenge Soc to defend justice for its own sake.


     B. 367c-381b Socrates states the terms for inquire


     C. 369b-427d The discussants found cities

1.       369b-372c emergence of the “city of souls” (city of utmost necessity {369d} of the “true City” [372c] or healthy city [372e]


2.       Emergence of the luxurious  (feverish city)



3.       372e-427e the transformation “purging’ of the luxurious city

a.       the need for warriors (373c-374d)

a1. the nature of warriors (374d-376c)

a2. the education of warriors (37d-412b)

1.       Music (376e-403c)

a.       speeches & tales (376e-398c)

1.       Reasons for censorship (376c-377c e 379a)

2.what must be said (377 e-392c)

a. speeches about the gods (377c-383e)

1.       gods as source of good , not evil

2.       gods as unchanging, truthful

b. (Book III)   Speeches about Hades or death (382a-387c)

c. speeches about hero’s and demons (387d-392a)

d. speeches about human beings (392a-C)

3.How things must be said (392c-398c)

 a. SONG & melody (398c-403c)

4. Gymnastic (403C-412B)


4. (Book IV) the one great thing and how to achieve it (412-427C)


D. 427D-449A: Once the city is founded, the discussants search for justice in it and in the individual


1.       427E-434D: Justice of the city

2.       434D-444A: Justice of the individual

3.       444A-445A: The question of injustice



Books V-VII: Difficulties with the just city and the introduction of philosophy (called at 543C “a detour”).


Book V: A. 449A-451B: The New Challenge to Socrates


       B. 451C-457C: The first wave: the equality of the sexes


       C. 457C-471E: The second wave: the communalization of the



       D. 472A-541B: The third wave: the problem of philosophy

and politics


1.    The claim: Philosophy should rule (472A-474B)


2.    The city attacks Socrates via Glaucon (473G-487A)


Book VI (484A)  a. Whom do we mean by philosopher (474B-484B)

b.  Whether the philosopher should rule (484B-502C)


(1) The paradoxical requirements of rule: Two distinct sets of qualities (484B-485A)


(2) The nature of philosophy (485B-487B)


3.    The city attacks Socrates via Adeimantus (487B-502C)


a.    philosophy as useless (ship image: 487E-490E)


b.    philosophy as vicious (490E-497A)


c.    the city tamed (497A-502C)


4. Educating the philosopher: the new model of education (502D-540C)


a.    critique of the earlier education and warriors (502D-504D)


b.    the new element in the philosopher’s education: the idea of the good and the power of soul to grasp it (504D-540C)


(1)         Book VII - The idea of the life of the philosopher (504D-521B)


(2)         Bringing such a person into existence (521B-540B)

(a)         the course of studies

1.  number and calculation

2.  plane geometry

3.  solid geometry

4.  astronomy

5.  harmonic movement

6.  dialectic