Alive and Sleepless: The Politics of Immortality in Republic X

In: Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought
Author: Sara Brill
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The discussion of immortality in Republic X is a much-maligned text whose function in the dialogue has frequently been drawn into question. This paper argues that the discussion addresses the insufficiency of the analogy between vice and disease that is established in Book IV and is challenged in Book IX by an account of tyranny which attributes to the tyrant a viciousness defying reduction to disease. It also argues that the discussion’s demonstration of immortality on the grounds of the soul’s capacity for viciousness must be read in light of its attention to the political life of the person. In its adoption of a political perspective, the discussion is designed to speak specifically to the concerns about justice thatGlaucon andAdeimantus voice in Book II.

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