Plato's Republic
Plato's Republic
Plato's <i>Republic</i> is one of the most well-known and widely discussed texts in the history of philosophy, but how might we get to the heart of this work today, 2500 years after it was originally composed? Alain Badiou invents a new genre in order to breathe fresh life into Plato's text and restore its universality. Rather than producing yet another critical commentary, he has retranslated the work from the original Greek and, by making various changes, adapted it for our times.

In this innovative reimagining of a classic text, Badiou has removed all references specific to ancient Greek society, from the endless exchanges about the moral courage of poets to those political considerations that were only of interest to the aristocratic elite. On the other hand, Badiou has expanded the range of cultural references: here philosophy is firing on all cylinders, and Socrates and his companions are joined by Beckett, Pessoa, Freud and Hegel. They demonstrate the enduring nature of true philosophy, always ready to move with the times.

Moreover, Badiou the dramatist has made the Socratic dialogue a true oratorial contest: in his version of the Republic, the interlocutors have more in mind than merely agreeing with the Master. They stand up to him, put him on the spot and thereby show thought in motion. Through this work of writing, scholarship and philosophy, we are able, for the first time, to read a version of Plato's text which is alive, stimulating and directly relevant to our world today.

Show More
Buy Now


More Info
  • January 2013
  • 320 pages
  • 165 x 232 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • This product is not available for sale in this region
Table of Contents
  • Introduction by Kenneth Reinhard
  • Translator’s Preface
  • Author’s Preface to the English Edition
  • Preface
  • Characters
  • Prologue: Conversation in the Villa on the Harbor (327a-336b)
  • 1 Reducing the Sophist to Silence (336b-357a)
  • 2 The Young Men’s and Women’s Pressing Questions (357a-368d)
  • 3 The Origins of Society and the State (368d-376c)
  • 4 The Disciplines of the Mind: Literature and Music (376c-403c)
  • 5 The Disciplines of the Body: Nutrition, Medicine and
  • Physical Education (403c-412c)
  • 6 Objective Justice (412c-434d)
  • 7 Subjective Justice (434d-449a)
  • 8 Women and Families (449a-471c)
  • 9 What is a Philosopher? (471c-484b)
  • 10 Philosophy and Politics (484b-502c)
  • 11 What is an Idea? (502c-521c)
  • 12 From Mathematics to the Dialectic (521c-541b)
  • 13 Critique of the Four Pre-communist Systems of Government:
  • 1. Timocracy and Oligarchy (541b-555b)
  • 14 Critique of the Four Pre-Communist Systems of Government:
  • 2. Democracy and Tyranny (555b-573b)
  • 15 Justice and Happiness (573b-592b)
  • 16 Poetry and Thought (592b-608b)
  • Epilogue: The Mobile Eternity of Subjects (608b-end)
  • Notes
  • Index
About the Author
Alain Badiou is the Emeritus Professor in Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure, Paris. He is probably the most widely read and influential philosopher in France today.
Show More


"I strongly recommend reading Badiou's amusing, erudite, and intelligent book."
Consciousness, Literature and the Arts

"Badiou's translation of Plato follows the ancient habit of pre-copyright times: it freely changes the original to make it fit to contemporary conditions. So instead of sophists we get corrupted journalists, instead of soul we get the subject, and instead of Plato’s critique of democracy we get... well, a critique of today’s democracy. The result is a resounding triumph: Plato comes fully alive as our contemporary, as someone who directly addresses our issues. This, not aseptic scholarly work, is the mark of a true fidelity to our past."
Slavoj Zizek

"Here is something really remarkable: a complete re-imagining of the founding text of philosophy This book calls itself a hyper-translation, but it is also a repetition with a difference, an utterly contemporary transposition and even sublimation of Plato's Republic

It is always our task to breathe life into the ancients. They feed on our blood. Badiou shows himself a master of vampirism."
Simon Critchley, New School for Social Research, New York

"What Badiou’s translation of Plato leaves us with is a resounding passion for the truth. It leaves us with a rare sense that politics can once again be associated with courage and justice, and that we have an agency at our disposal that comes in the passionate work of bringing the idea of equality (communism) into existence."

Show More