Plato's Republic: A Dialogue in Sixteen Chapters

Alain Badiou (Author) Susan Spitzer (Translator)
& 1 more


Plato's Republic is one of the best-known and most widely-discussed texts in the history of philosophy. But how might we get to the heart of this work today, 2,500 years after its original composition? Alain Badiou breathes life into Plato's landmark text and revives its universality. Rather than producing yet another critical commentary, he has instead worked closely on the original Greek and, through spectacular changes, adapted it to our times. In this innovative reimagining of Plato's work, Badiou has removed all references specific to ancient Greek society--from lengthy exchanges about moral courage in archaic poetry to political considerations mainly of interest to the aristocratic elite--and has expanded the range of cultural references. Here, philosophy is firing on all cylinders: Socrates and his companions are joined by Beckett, Pessoa, Freud, and Hegel, among others. Together these thinkers demonstrate that true philosophy endures, ready to absorb new horizons without changing its essence.

Moreover, Badiou--who is also a dramatist--has transformed the Socratic dialogue into a genuine oratorial contest. In his version of the Republic, the interlocutors do much more than simply agree with Socrates. They argue, stand up to him, put him on the spot, and show thought in motion. In this work of dramatic scholarship and philosophy, we encounter a modern version of Plato's text that is alive, stimulating, and directly relevant to our own world.

Product Details

Columbia University Press
Publish Date
January 22, 2013
6.38 X 1.45 X 9.36 inches | 1.63 pounds
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About the Author

Alain Badiou (PhD, Philosophy, Ecole Normale Superieure) holds the Rene Descartes Chair at the European Graduate School; he also teaches at the Ecole Normale Superieure and the College International de Philosophie in Paris. He is the author of several successful novels and plays as well as more than a dozen philosophical works, including his masterwork, Being and Event (Continuum, 2007), and several Columbia titles, includng Plato's Republic (2013) and Jacques Lacan Past and Present (2016).


A lively rendering.... Those familiar with Plato's Republic will still hear Plato's voice in this engaging rendition.--Library Journal
A highly entertaining intellectual exercise.--France Magazine
A must read for students of Badiou.--Choice
Here is something really remarkable: a complete reimagining of the founding text of philosophy. This book calls itself a hyper-translation, but it is also a repetition with a difference: an utterly contemporary transposition--and even sublimation--of Plato's Republic. It is always our task to breathe life into the ancients. They feed on our blood. Badiou shows himself a master of vampirism.--Simon Critchley, New School for Social Research
Badiou's translation of Plato follows the ancient habit of pre-copyright times: it freely changes the original to make it fit contemporary conditions. So instead of sophists, we get corrupted journalists; instead of soul, we get the subject; and instead of Plato's critique of democracy, we get... well, a critique of today's democracy. The result is a resounding triumph: Plato comes fully alive as our contemporary, as someone who directly addresses our issues. This, not aseptic scholarly work, is the mark of true fidelity to our past.--Slavoj ยŽiยžek, author of Living in the End
[An] amusing, erudite, and intelligent book.--John Vignaux Smyth "Consciousness, Literature and the Arts "
What Badiou's translation of Plato leaves us with is a resounding passion for the truth. It leaves us with a rare sense that politics can once again be associated with courage and justice, and that we have an agency at our disposal that comes in the passionate work of bringing the idea of equality (communism) into existence.--Daniel Tutt "Berfrois "