Understanding Plato’s Republic


Plato’s book, The Republic, is still one of the most important models of a just society. It contains all sorts of ideas that the modern mind might find odd to say the least, and some ideas that provoke strong critical opposition. But to have a view on what the book says, requires us to read it for ourselves first. This short course shares the experience of reading major parts of the text, trying to understand each part within the whole picture, and then asking what if anything the book can still say to us today. It is not a difficult book to read, but it is rich in content and ideas. It is the ideal book to work with for people wanting to get their minds active again.

Course outline

Session 1: Wed 8 Nov

If I was invisible would I be a good person?

Session 2: Wed 15 Nov

If I am good at something should society make me do it?

Session 3: Wed 22 Nov

If I am clever, should I be in charge of society?

Session 4: Wed 29 Nov

If I am in ‘the cave’, how do I get out?



Dr Nigel Tubbs


4 weeks

Start date:

Wed 8 Nov

End date:

Wed 29 Nov







“I learnt so much about where so much of our thinking comes from. Thank you, I’ll be back!”.


“They captivated my attention and spiked my interest, and more importantly, always in a way that seemed to involve me”.

– Alexandros, Student

“It was the care and attention they gave to the teaching that made all the difference to me”.

– Iain, Student


Who is the course for?

It is for anyone wanting (or needing) to understand the main ideas contained in Plato’s Republic. But it will also be useful to anyone wanting to see what philosophical thinking is like, perhaps for the first time, or perhaps as a return to such work after a break.

What level is the course taught at?

It can be called a ‘beginner’s level’ as no previous knowledge of Plato, or the book, or philosophy is needed. I will be speaking to everyone as if they are reading the book for the first time.

Do I need prior experience or qualifications to take this course?


Do I need to speak in seminars?

Not if you don’t want to, but we ask that cameras be on so that we can be virtual face to virtual face.

What technology do I need?

Tablet/Laptop/Mobile, up-to-date browser, microphone, webcam

Do i need to purchase any books or materials?

No. If you attend the course we will send you a copyright-free version of the book, with annotations on the sections we will be reading. You can download the book yourself from this address. https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.544233/page/n5/mode/2up

Is it possible to do an assessment for this course