Study Guide

The Republic Education

By Plato


Socrates and his pals were pretty obsessed with the benefits of education in the Republic. Since Socrates believed that education was closely linked to morality, he thought that if he could only create the perfect educational program, he'd be able to produce much better people. You know, no pressure.

Even though Socrates isn't necessarily the guy you'd want to hire as your SAT tutor, he does have some pretty modern ideas about learning: the importance of math and music for cognitive development, the importance of educating both men and women, and the need for both mental and physical activity. Pretty cool. In fact, education may be one of the most easily understandable things in Plato's otherwise kind of wonky imagined city.

Questions About Education

  1. How does the topic of education come up? What exactly does education address, and how is it related to justice?
  2. What are all the various subjects that Socrates believes need to be studied? Are they all equally important, or is one more important than any of the others?
  3. Who are the educators in Socrates's imaginary city? Do they come from a certain group of people, or can anyone be in charge of education? Why is this important?

Chew on This

It doesn't matter how "modern" aspects of Socrates's educational system sound; having children raised by the state instead of their parents is the worst method of education ever.

Even though Socrates isn't the biggest fan of democracy, his public education system based on merit—and not birth—is an incredibly egalitarian and forward-thinking ideal for his time (and even, unfortunately, sometimes for ours).

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