The Dialectic in Plato’s Republic

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By Pierre Grimes, Ph. D.
Adapted and edited for the web by Sean P. Orfila

Philosophical Midwifery as a mode of psychotherapy is based, in part, upon Plato’s rationalism and his dialectic, both of which are explored in depth in his Republic. In the Republic, he builds an imaginary city-state as a contemplative model for the philosopher’s “ascension to reality” (521D), producing in him “the image and likeness of God” (501C).

It is this ascent that is called true philosophy. Whether the political reality of that city-state exists now or in the future is of no concern to the philosopher (592B).

To achieve that end, Plato outlines a threefold goal:

  • To gain an understanding of the mind (533B; 534B);
  • To understand and experience the Idea of the Good (508E; 526E) and
  • To achieve a vision of the Good itself (519D; 540A).

While they are all achieved through the dialectic, this article will only examine an aspect of the first: understanding the mind.

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