Nashville Great Books Discussion Group

A reader's group devoted to the discussion of meaningful books.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Republic of Plato - Book 4

Discussion questions for November 7:

1. Is the purpose of the State to make its citizens happy? (89/90/105)

2. Does wealth destroy the arts, or make them flourish? (90-91)

3. Are rich and poor always “at war with one another”? (92) If so, why?

4. How much influence does popular culture (movies, novels, music, etc) have on society? (93-94)

5. Are the four values Socrates outlines (wisdom, courage, temperance and justice) viewed the same way today that they were in Plato’s time? (97-104)

6. Does Socrates’ theory of the perfect State translate well into a psychology of the individual? (110-111)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Republic of Plato - Book 3

Discussion questions for October 31:

1. We started out in Book 1 exploring the nature of justice. Is telling a “royal lie” compatible with justice?

2. What is the injustice that is being prevented by telling this lie?

3. Is the preservation of the state more important than telling the truth to its citizens?

4. Is the preservation of the state more important than allowing everyone the opportunity of bettering themselves (i.e. rising from the artisan class to the warrior class or from the warrior class to the guardian class)?

5. Who is to judge if someone is of brass or iron?

6. How can we be sure we aren’t mistaken?

7. What becomes of the doctrine in books 1 and 2 – that it is better to suffer an injustice than to commit one?

8. If moral principles sometimes have to be changed for the sake of practical considerations (such as survival), does that mean that there are no fixed moral principles at all?

The Republic of Plato - Book 2

Questions for the meeting of October 24.

1. Why does Plato introduce the myth of Gyges’ ring into a philosophical dialogue?

2. Why is Plato defending censorship? Is his reasoning valid?

3. Is war caused by too much luxury, as Plato would have us believe?