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February 06 , 2008

Averroes on Plato's "Republic"


"In one fashion or another, the question with which this introduction begins is a question for every serious reader of Plato's Republic: Of what use is this philosophy to me? Averroes clearly finds that the Republic speaks to his own time and to his own situation. . . . Perhaps the greatest use he makes of the Republic is to understand better the shari'a itself. . . . It is fair to say that in deciding to paraphrase the Republic, Averroes is asserting that his world—the world defined and governed by the Koran—can profit from Plato's instruction."—from Ralph Lerner’s Introduction

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An indispensable primary source in medieval political philosophy is presented here in a fully annotated translation of the celebrated discussion of the Republic by the twelfth-century Andalusian Muslim philosopher, Abu'l-Walid Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Rushd, also know by his his Latinized name, Averroes. This work played a major role in both the transmission and the adaptation of the Platonic tradition in the West. In a closely argued critical introduction, Ralph Lerner addresses several of the most important problems raised by the work.

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