By Alain Badiou
Plato's Republic is likely one of the best-known and such a lot widely-discussed texts within the background of philosophy. yet how may we get to the guts of this paintings at the present time, 2,500 years after its unique composition? Alain Badiou breathes existence into Plato's landmark textual content and revives its universality. instead of generating one more severe statement, he has as a substitute labored heavily at the unique Greek and, via unbelievable adjustments, tailored it to our occasions. during this leading edge reimagining of Plato's paintings, Badiou has got rid of all references particular to old Greek society -- from long exchanges approximately ethical braveness in archaic poetry to political issues ordinarily of curiosity to the aristocratic elite -- and has elevated the variety of cultural references. right here, philosophy is firing on all cylinders: Socrates and his partners are joined by way of Beckett, Pessoa, Freud, and Hegel, between others. jointly those thinkers show that precise philosophy endures, able to take in new horizons with out altering its essence.
Moreover, Badiou -- who's additionally a dramatist -- has remodeled the Socratic discussion right into a actual oratorial contest. In his model of the Republic, the interlocutors do even more than just trust Socrates. They argue, withstand him, positioned him instant, and express idea in movement. during this paintings of dramatic scholarship and philosophy, we come across a latest model of Plato's textual content that's alive, stimulating, and without delay suitable to our personal world.
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Additional info for Plato's Republic: A Dialogue in 16 Chapters
Can we not also see Badiou’s hypertranslation of Plato’s Republic as itself such an act of forcing, meant to expand what is generic in Plato through the clarifying processes of subtraction and supplementation? Badiou’s “generic translation” in this sense rectifies Plato, by insisting that truth is not just for the few, but for everyone. Badiou’s “sublime” translation of Plato’s Republic forces the set of guardian-philosophers to expand, this being the condition of participation in the eternal idea of communism.
However much Socrates may play the starring role in the dialogue, it is clear that he is speaking not only to but for these young people, in whom he has the utmost confidence. By putting into their mouths – and, to a great extent, into Socrates’ mouth as well – speech that sounds perfectly familiar to our ears, jaunty yet free of current slang for the most part, I hoped to convey the youthful quality that inheres in the work as a whole. Yet colloquial speech is balanced in the dialogue by highly sophisticated speech; it is their constant juxtaposition that is perhaps the most striking feature of the text.
The reader’s indulgence is begged for these efforts, which I nevertheless hope will impart a little of the flavor of the ingenious originals. • Politically incorrect speech There is a humorous moment in the dialogue when Socrates gets in a dig, as a linguistically conservative Frenchman might, at political correctness in speech. After mentioning, in a discussion on love of wisdom, a young person unable as yet to distinguish between what’s important and what’s not, he remarks: “Let’s assume that ‘he or she,’ as the Anglophones say, has no liking for theoretical knowledge” (my italics).