Philosopher-Kings and Counselors: How Should Philosophers Participate in Politics?, 2022
By: Alexander Orwin
Title Philosopher-Kings and Counselors: How Should Philosophers Participate in Politics?
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2022
Published in Plato's Republic in the Islamic Context. New Perspectives on Averroes's Commentary
Pages 253–274
Categories Politics, Tradition and Reception
Author(s) Alexander Orwin
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
The most famous, or infamous, proposal in Plato's Republic concerns the rule of philosopher-kings. Throughout the long history of the philosophical reception of Plato, this theme has been explored, restated, and rejected in countless ways. One of the most original treatments of it comes from the Andalusian philosopher Averroes, in his Commentary on Plato's “Republic.” The title of this inventive work must not be construed too narrowly. On every major theme in the Republic, Averroes deviates, either by omission, addition, or editorial commentary, from Plato. His treatment of the philosopher-kings will make use of all these techniques. Before turning to this topic, I wish to make some general remarks about the work as a whole. Averroes announces his departure from Plato in the first sentence of the work, with the somewhat cryptic promise to remove all dialectical arguments from the Republic while preserving the demonstrative arguments (CR 21.4). Dialectic is associated, etymologically and semantically, with dialogue. Sure enough, Averroes expunges not only the dialogue form of the original but also its principal characters. This choice should not simply be attributed to ignorance: even if we were to assume that Averroes had only a summary of the original, he would surely have known of the existence of the characters Socrates and Thrasymachus through Alfarabi. In fact, Averroes himself mentions Thrasymachus and his arguments about justice in his Middle Commentary on the Topics. The form with which Averroes replaces the dialogue can hardly be described as a straightforward treatise. Averroes attributes the arguments he presents to a variety of sources, as indicated by expressions such as “we said,” and “Plato said.” In addition, Alfarabi and Aristotle are often cited, paraphrased, or even plagiarized, in what is ostensibly a commentary on Plato. This implies a dialogue of sorts between not only Averroes and Plato, but Aristotle and Alfarabi as well. One is tempted to say that the discussions between Socrates, an aged father, a sophist, and several young Greeks is replaced by a discussion between four great political philosophers across the ages, orchestrated by the latest representative of this august group. On this point, it is useful to recall Leo Strauss's observation, that no Platonic dialogue relates a discussion among equals. If dialectic involves a superior person such as Socrates leading less accomplished interlocutors by the hand, then Averroes's new, demonstrative form consists of a dialogue between equals to whom historical accident never granted the opportunity for a face-to-face meeting.

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Throughout the long history of the philosophical reception of Plato, this theme has been explored, restated, and rejected in countless ways. One of the most original treatments of it comes from the Andalusian philosopher Averroes, in his Commentary on Plato's \u201cRepublic.\u201d The title of this inventive work must not be construed too narrowly. On every major theme in the Republic, Averroes deviates, either by omission, addition, or editorial commentary, from Plato. His treatment of the philosopher-kings will make use of all these techniques. Before turning to this topic, I wish to make some general remarks about the work as a whole.\r\n\r\nAverroes announces his departure from Plato in the first sentence of the work, with the somewhat cryptic promise to remove all dialectical arguments from the Republic while preserving the demonstrative arguments (CR 21.4). Dialectic is associated, etymologically and semantically, with dialogue. Sure enough, Averroes expunges not only the dialogue form of the original but also its principal characters. This choice should not simply be attributed to ignorance: even if we were to assume that Averroes had only a summary of the original, he would surely have known of the existence of the characters Socrates and Thrasymachus through Alfarabi. In fact, Averroes himself mentions Thrasymachus and his arguments about justice in his Middle Commentary on the Topics.\r\n\r\nThe form with which Averroes replaces the dialogue can hardly be described as a straightforward treatise. Averroes attributes the arguments he presents to a variety of sources, as indicated by expressions such as \u201cwe said,\u201d and \u201cPlato said.\u201d In addition, Alfarabi and Aristotle are often cited, paraphrased, or even plagiarized, in what is ostensibly a commentary on Plato. This implies a dialogue of sorts between not only Averroes and Plato, but Aristotle and Alfarabi as well. One is tempted to say that the discussions between Socrates, an aged father, a sophist, and several young Greeks is replaced by a discussion between four great political philosophers across the ages, orchestrated by the latest representative of this august group. On this point, it is useful to recall Leo Strauss's observation, that no Platonic dialogue relates a discussion among equals. If dialectic involves a superior person such as Socrates leading less accomplished interlocutors by the hand, then Averroes's new, demonstrative form consists of a dialogue between equals to whom historical accident never granted the opportunity for a face-to-face meeting.","btype":2,"date":"2022","language":"English","online_url":"","doi_url":"https:\/\/doi.org\/10.1017\/9781800104983.013","ti_url":"","categories":[{"id":4,"category_name":"Politics","link":"bib?categories[]=Politics"},{"id":43,"category_name":"Tradition and Reception","link":"bib?categories[]=Tradition and Reception"}],"authors":[{"id":1790,"full_name":" Alexander Orwin","role":1}],"works":[],"republication_of":null,"translation_of":null,"new_edition_of":null,"book":null,"booksection":{"id":5358,"section_of":5346,"pages":"253\u2013274","is_catalog":null,"book":{"id":5346,"bilderberg_idno":null,"dare_idno":null,"catalog_idno":null,"entry_type":"bibliography","type":4,"language":"en","title":"Plato's Republic in the Islamic Context. New Perspectives on Averroes's Commentary","title_transcript":"","title_translation":"","short_title":"","has_no_author":null,"volume":null,"date":"2022","edition_no":null,"free_date":null,"abstract":"","republication_of":0,"online_url":"","online_resources":null,"translation_of":"0","new_edition_of":"0","is_catalog":0,"in_bibliography":0,"is_inactive":0,"notes":null,"ti_url":"","doi_url":"https:\/\/doi.org\/10.1017\/9781800104983","book":{"id":5346,"pubplace":"","publisher":" Boydell & Brewer","series":"","volume":"","edition_no":"","valid_from":null,"valid_until":null},"persons":[{"id":6196,"entry_id":5346,"agent_type":"person","is_normalised":null,"person_id":null,"institution_id":null,"role":{"id":2,"role_name":"editor"},"free_name":" Alexander Orwin","free_first_name":" Alexander","free_last_name":" Orwin","norm_person":null}]}},"article":null},"sort":[2022]}

Natural Perfection or Divine Fiat, 2022
By: Joshua Parens
Title Natural Perfection or Divine Fiat
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2022
Published in Plato's Republic in the Islamic Context. New Perspectives on Averroes's Commentary
Pages 233–252
Categories Nicomachean ethics, Politics, Tradition and Reception
Author(s) Joshua Parens
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
As a reader of Averroes's Commentary on Plato's “Republic,” one is struck from the beginning by how much he omits from his commentary. Typically, this would be taken to indicate that Averroes does not comprehend Plato's intention. Indeed, the author can seem at times to confirm what many readers assume—namely, that he would rather have commented on a work by Aristotle. We will try to show that his major omissions—that is, of books 1, (most of ) 6, and 10, and especially what he substitutes for these omissions—form a coherent pattern and ultimately reveal a profound commentary on the omitted passages. That coherent pattern is already set within the first few pages of the work. From the beginning he seems to focus on the place of the Republic in relation to practical science and theoretical science. This comes as little surprise in a commentary on a work devoted to what I would like to call the philosopher-king conceit. The Republic is at least in part Plato's consideration of the relation between theoretical and practical science, as encapsulated in the person of the philosopher-king. Although Socrates does not get around to the centrality of this theme until Republic book 5, Averroes is on it from the beginning. He does so in part in order to place his discussion of the Republic in relation to his commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics—putatively the more theoretical of the two works. Be that as it may, we are most interested in what ties together the omissions of books 1, 6, and 10—and especially what Averroes substitutes for those omissions. We hope to show that the golden thread running through what Averroes substitutes is the theme of human perfection, in at least two senses: the philosopher-king and immortality. In each case, there is some element in Plato's original that Averroes needs to take into another register (from conventionalism in book 1 to fiat transplanted into the Second Treatise; from separate forms in book 6 to the active intellect in the Second Treatise; and from immortality of the soul in book 10 to conjunction with the active intellect in the Second Treatise). In effect, all these omissions are drawn together in the Second Treatise. For that reason, eventually, we will comment more closely on the most relevant section of the Second Treatise (60.17–74.12).

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Democracy, Islam and the tradition of Ibn Rushd, 2003
By: Noah Feldman
Title Democracy, Islam and the tradition of Ibn Rushd
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2003
Published in
Pages 385-394
Categories Politics, Tradition and Reception
Author(s) Noah Feldman
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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Democracy, Islam and the tradition of Ibn Rushd, 2003
By: Noah Feldman
Title Democracy, Islam and the tradition of Ibn Rushd
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2003
Published in
Pages 385-394
Categories Politics, Tradition and Reception
Author(s) Noah Feldman
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)

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Natural Perfection or Divine Fiat, 2022
By: Joshua Parens
Title Natural Perfection or Divine Fiat
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2022
Published in Plato's Republic in the Islamic Context. New Perspectives on Averroes's Commentary
Pages 233–252
Categories Nicomachean ethics, Politics, Tradition and Reception
Author(s) Joshua Parens
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
As a reader of Averroes's Commentary on Plato's “Republic,” one is struck from the beginning by how much he omits from his commentary. Typically, this would be taken to indicate that Averroes does not comprehend Plato's intention. Indeed, the author can seem at times to confirm what many readers assume—namely, that he would rather have commented on a work by Aristotle. We will try to show that his major omissions—that is, of books 1, (most of ) 6, and 10, and especially what he substitutes for these omissions—form a coherent pattern and ultimately reveal a profound commentary on the omitted passages. That coherent pattern is already set within the first few pages of the work. From the beginning he seems to focus on the place of the Republic in relation to practical science and theoretical science. This comes as little surprise in a commentary on a work devoted to what I would like to call the philosopher-king conceit. The Republic is at least in part Plato's consideration of the relation between theoretical and practical science, as encapsulated in the person of the philosopher-king. Although Socrates does not get around to the centrality of this theme until Republic book 5, Averroes is on it from the beginning. He does so in part in order to place his discussion of the Republic in relation to his commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics—putatively the more theoretical of the two works. Be that as it may, we are most interested in what ties together the omissions of books 1, 6, and 10—and especially what Averroes substitutes for those omissions. We hope to show that the golden thread running through what Averroes substitutes is the theme of human perfection, in at least two senses: the philosopher-king and immortality. In each case, there is some element in Plato's original that Averroes needs to take into another register (from conventionalism in book 1 to fiat transplanted into the Second Treatise; from separate forms in book 6 to the active intellect in the Second Treatise; and from immortality of the soul in book 10 to conjunction with the active intellect in the Second Treatise). In effect, all these omissions are drawn together in the Second Treatise. For that reason, eventually, we will comment more closely on the most relevant section of the Second Treatise (60.17–74.12).

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Philosopher-Kings and Counselors: How Should Philosophers Participate in Politics?, 2022
By: Alexander Orwin
Title Philosopher-Kings and Counselors: How Should Philosophers Participate in Politics?
Type Book Section
Language English
Date 2022
Published in Plato's Republic in the Islamic Context. New Perspectives on Averroes's Commentary
Pages 253–274
Categories Politics, Tradition and Reception
Author(s) Alexander Orwin
Publisher(s)
Translator(s)
The most famous, or infamous, proposal in Plato's Republic concerns the rule of philosopher-kings. Throughout the long history of the philosophical reception of Plato, this theme has been explored, restated, and rejected in countless ways. One of the most original treatments of it comes from the Andalusian philosopher Averroes, in his Commentary on Plato's “Republic.” The title of this inventive work must not be construed too narrowly. On every major theme in the Republic, Averroes deviates, either by omission, addition, or editorial commentary, from Plato. His treatment of the philosopher-kings will make use of all these techniques. Before turning to this topic, I wish to make some general remarks about the work as a whole. Averroes announces his departure from Plato in the first sentence of the work, with the somewhat cryptic promise to remove all dialectical arguments from the Republic while preserving the demonstrative arguments (CR 21.4). Dialectic is associated, etymologically and semantically, with dialogue. Sure enough, Averroes expunges not only the dialogue form of the original but also its principal characters. This choice should not simply be attributed to ignorance: even if we were to assume that Averroes had only a summary of the original, he would surely have known of the existence of the characters Socrates and Thrasymachus through Alfarabi. In fact, Averroes himself mentions Thrasymachus and his arguments about justice in his Middle Commentary on the Topics. The form with which Averroes replaces the dialogue can hardly be described as a straightforward treatise. Averroes attributes the arguments he presents to a variety of sources, as indicated by expressions such as “we said,” and “Plato said.” In addition, Alfarabi and Aristotle are often cited, paraphrased, or even plagiarized, in what is ostensibly a commentary on Plato. This implies a dialogue of sorts between not only Averroes and Plato, but Aristotle and Alfarabi as well. One is tempted to say that the discussions between Socrates, an aged father, a sophist, and several young Greeks is replaced by a discussion between four great political philosophers across the ages, orchestrated by the latest representative of this august group. On this point, it is useful to recall Leo Strauss's observation, that no Platonic dialogue relates a discussion among equals. If dialectic involves a superior person such as Socrates leading less accomplished interlocutors by the hand, then Averroes's new, demonstrative form consists of a dialogue between equals to whom historical accident never granted the opportunity for a face-to-face meeting.

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Throughout the long history of the philosophical reception of Plato, this theme has been explored, restated, and rejected in countless ways. One of the most original treatments of it comes from the Andalusian philosopher Averroes, in his Commentary on Plato's \u201cRepublic.\u201d The title of this inventive work must not be construed too narrowly. On every major theme in the Republic, Averroes deviates, either by omission, addition, or editorial commentary, from Plato. His treatment of the philosopher-kings will make use of all these techniques. Before turning to this topic, I wish to make some general remarks about the work as a whole.\r\n\r\nAverroes announces his departure from Plato in the first sentence of the work, with the somewhat cryptic promise to remove all dialectical arguments from the Republic while preserving the demonstrative arguments (CR 21.4). Dialectic is associated, etymologically and semantically, with dialogue. Sure enough, Averroes expunges not only the dialogue form of the original but also its principal characters. This choice should not simply be attributed to ignorance: even if we were to assume that Averroes had only a summary of the original, he would surely have known of the existence of the characters Socrates and Thrasymachus through Alfarabi. In fact, Averroes himself mentions Thrasymachus and his arguments about justice in his Middle Commentary on the Topics.\r\n\r\nThe form with which Averroes replaces the dialogue can hardly be described as a straightforward treatise. Averroes attributes the arguments he presents to a variety of sources, as indicated by expressions such as \u201cwe said,\u201d and \u201cPlato said.\u201d In addition, Alfarabi and Aristotle are often cited, paraphrased, or even plagiarized, in what is ostensibly a commentary on Plato. This implies a dialogue of sorts between not only Averroes and Plato, but Aristotle and Alfarabi as well. One is tempted to say that the discussions between Socrates, an aged father, a sophist, and several young Greeks is replaced by a discussion between four great political philosophers across the ages, orchestrated by the latest representative of this august group. On this point, it is useful to recall Leo Strauss's observation, that no Platonic dialogue relates a discussion among equals. 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New Perspectives on Averroes's Commentary","title_transcript":"","title_translation":"","short_title":"","has_no_author":null,"volume":null,"date":"2022","edition_no":null,"free_date":null,"abstract":"","republication_of":0,"online_url":"","online_resources":null,"translation_of":"0","new_edition_of":"0","is_catalog":0,"in_bibliography":0,"is_inactive":0,"notes":null,"ti_url":"","doi_url":"https:\/\/doi.org\/10.1017\/9781800104983","book":{"id":5346,"pubplace":"","publisher":" Boydell & Brewer","series":"","volume":"","edition_no":"","valid_from":null,"valid_until":null},"persons":[{"id":6196,"entry_id":5346,"agent_type":"person","is_normalised":null,"person_id":null,"institution_id":null,"role":{"id":2,"role_name":"editor"},"free_name":" Alexander Orwin","free_first_name":" Alexander","free_last_name":" Orwin","norm_person":null}]}},"article":null},"sort":["Philosopher-Kings and Counselors: How Should Philosophers Participate in Politics?"]}

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