Date of Award

Fall 2006

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Goldin, Owen M.

Second Advisor

Foster, Susanne E.

Third Advisor

South, James B.


Whenever students have asked me what I think about a particular issue or philosopher, I intentionally commit the common fallacy of appeal to authority. I say, "You know what St. Augustine said? He said that no one should be so foolish as to go to school to learn what the teacher thinks." Though I say it in jest, there is much seriousness to it. It strikes at the heart of Platonic education, that one merely acts as an occasion for another to learn something for him or herself. Education for Plato is not a matter of transferring 'knowledge' from one person to another. The students may be dissatisfied with such a response, but they get the point: their education has its origin and character in themselves and is their responsibility. The teacher can act only as an occasion for the student to learn and the teacher's merit must be judged on that account. The best interpretations act as occasions for the reader to gain insight into a particular issue or work. They do not solve the questions ultimately. As Rilke tells us, we must learn to love the questions themselves before we can hope to give even a somewhat adequate answer. This work stems from a love of the questions Plato poses, ones both timeless and inviting. So at best, the reason for yet another work on the Republic of Plato is to act as an occasion for the reader to gain some measure of insight. At least, it would invite the reader to re-examine the Republic itself in light of her own opinions and those presented here. That would be much. At worst, it does neither. So should one read this work and be moved to pick up the Republic, I will have done something worthwhile. Teachers and commentaries can act as occasions, but they in no way measure up to friends, especially those with whom we converse about ultimate questions on how best to live. I owe a debt of intellectual gratitude to two such individuals. One is John Laumakis, a former fellow graduate student at Marquette University. He is among the best of people I have met, a man of great character and intellectual keenness. During the formation of this dissertation, a work that ultimately shows that Plato develops a theory of moral virtue which anticipates Aristotle's, John is the one who first brought it to my attention that the famous 'function argument' of Nicomachean Ethics 1.7 can be found at the end of Republic Book I. This led me to wonder about other similarities between the two great thinkers with respect to ethics, much of which is presented in the following. We became friends on account of my admiration for his philosophical acumen, and developed from there a mutual liking and respect which is not often found between two people...



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