Sean McAleer

Published On


Page Range

pp. 275-298

Print Length

23 pages

14. Are We There Yet?


  • Sean McAleer (author)
Chapter of: Plato's 'Republic': An Introduction(pp. 275–298)
Chapter Fourteen, ‘Are We There Yet? Tying up Loose Ends in Book X’, explores the three topics of the Republic’s final book, Book X. The first is the status of poetry, which Socrates wants to revisit since he now has a psychology (the three-part soul) that he lacked when poetry was first discussed. He concludes, quite reluctantly, that very little poetry will be allowed in the ideal city, mainly because of its power to corrupt us: we give ourselves over to emotion and thus dethrone reason from its rightful place. After exploring his arguments for this view, we turn to his argument for the immortality of the soul, which Socrates offers in the context of showing the external advantages of living a just life (namely, having a reputation for justice), which were set aside to answer Glaucon’s and Adeimantus’ challenge of showing that justice was intrinsically good—that all by itself it made its possessor better off. Lastly, we attend to the Myth of Er, with which the Republic ends. Er’s story is an allegory about the importance of careful choice in living justly and thus happily. It is a fascinating way to end the Republic, in terms of both content and style; we briefly explore what philosophical points Plato might be making by ending a work of philosophy this way.


Sean McAleer