basic structure of first 3 books (to help in your reading)


i hope you are having a good labor day weekend.

i know some of you are reading the first 3 books of the republic trying to get ready for our phone call on tuesday.

here’s the very basic structure of the first 3 books:

– Introduction
fun introduction with a discussion on the benefits of old age (having just had my birthday, I enjoyed that 😉

– Debate on justice
strenuous debate on justice with a rotating set of characters that each give Socrates their best shot

– Discussion of ideal republic
Socrates suggests finally that instead of debating justice on an individual level that they should look at the larger level of a city and maybe from that exercise learn something more about justice…so begins the mostly one-sided discussion of the ideal city (suddenly all the debaters stop their strenuous objections and get in line behind Socrates increasingly weird thinking about the ideal city)

one other thing to note: the debate on justice makes for very slow reading especially the discussion with thrasymachus and then with glaucon – end of book 1 and beginning of book 2.  have no fear for once you get through those debates – and especially once you get into the discussion of the ideal city – the reading becomes much easier (if not repugnant for some of socrates recommendations).

i’m leaving out all the important content but perhaps by exposing the structure this will help you navigate our reading for tuesday.

have a wonderful weekend,


Book I

Introduction (327 – 331)

Polemarchus debate on “justice” (331-336)

Thrasymachus debate on “justice” (336-354)

Book II & III

Glaucon debate on “justice” (357-362)

Adeimantus debate on “justice” (362-368)

Debate on justice moves to “justice in a city” – so starts the discussion of the ideal republic (368 – )*

*This discussion continues through all of Book III and continues in Book IV; the numbering system I’m using are the numbers in the margins so if you are reading a different edition you can follow the same numbering

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