Politics, Money, and Persuasion
Democracy and Opinion in Plato's Republic
Published by: Indiana University Press
In Politics, Money, and Persuasion, distinguished philosopher John Russon offers a new framework for interpreting Plato's The Republic. For Russon, Plato's work is about the distinctive nature of what it is to be a human being and, correspondingly, what is distinctive about the nature of human society. Russon focuses on the realities of our everyday experience to come to profoundly insightful assessments of our human realities: the nature of the city, the nature of knowledge, and the nature of human psychology.
Russon's argument concentrates on the ambivalence of logos, which includes reflections on politics and philosophy and their place in human life, how humans have shaped the environment, our interactions with money, the economy, and the pursuit of the good in social and political systems.
Politics, Money, and Persuasion offers a deeply personal but also practical kind of philosophical reading of Plato's classic text. It emphasizes the tight connection between the life of city and the life of the soul, demonstrating both the crucial role that human cognitive excellence and psychological health play in political and social life.
Note on Translations and Citations
Politics, Money and Persuasion
1. The Problem of Abstraction
2. The Currencies of Power
The Vicissitudes of Opinion
3. True Opinion
Index of subjects
Index of passages
Early in his introduction, John Russon comments that the Republic is the source of seemingly never-ending insights and fresh interpretations. He then goes on to substantiate this insight with his own fresh and provocative reading of this much-interpreted dialogue. His own reading sets out as a guiding insight that logos, the peculiarly human ability to "give an account," to formulate abstractions from specific instances, is a double-edged sword, at once a source of wondrous achievement and destructive misunderstanding, of philosophic insight and sophistic deception. This guiding principle leads to one thought-provoking insight after another—a genuinely fresh reading of the Republic.~Drew Hyland, Charles A. Dana Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, Trinity College
Like all truly excellent works of interpretation, John Russon's reading of the Republic is an original and quite radical departure from traditional approaches, which nonetheless once it is set out in his characteristically lucid and direct philosophical prose, presents itself as almost obvious and common-sensical.~Sean D. Kirkland, author of The Ontology of Socratic Questioning in Plato's Early Dialogues
Politics, Money, and Persuasion is a challenging and far-reaching exploration of the core issues of Plato's Republic, doing justice to what John Russon calls the 'concrete rationality' of the text, while opening up new perspectives on the meaningfulness of democracy, opinion, persuasion, rationality, and the philosophical life.~Robert Metcalf, coauthor of Plato at Syracuse: Essays on Plato in Western Greece
"Russon's book is a timely exploration of how our habits of reason inform the possibility of healthy cities and souls. Russon examines the political consequences of how human beings "take account" of the world and of themselves, and in doing so also offers a vision of what a philosophical engagment with politics might look like. This work shows us the continued relevance of reading Plato's Republic today."~Marina McCoy, Boston College