Early Education in Plato's Republic

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (5):843-863 (2015)
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In this paper, I reconsider the commonly held position that the early moral education of the Republic is arational since the youths of the Kallipolis do not yet have the capacity for reason. I argue that, because they receive an extensive mathematical education alongside their moral education, the youths not only have a capacity for reason but that capacity is being developed in their early education. If this is so, though, then we must rethink why the early moral education is arational. I argue that the reason is rooted in the nature of moral explanations. These sorts of explanations are rooted in the Forms and thus one can only understand those explanations when they have knowledge of the Forms. But this requires preparation – the very sort of preparation that is provided by both the mathematical and moral educations



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