Given how much has already been written on Plato's Republic, it is certainly uncommon to find a book that offers a radically novel way of looking at this important and influential text. Yet the study by Roslyn Weiss does precisely that. The two paradigms of the book's title are “two distinct and irreconcilable portrayals of the philosopher” (1), where most readers will have seen no distinction at all. The principal differences Weiss sees are as follows:
(1) One kind of philosopher escapes corruption and becomes ruler by chance (32), whereas the other is “designed.”
(2) One has a philosophical nature, whereas the other is nonphilosophic by nature (40, 50, 67).
(3) One has no love of hunting or war, whereas the other is a type of “mongrel philosopher-warriors” (51–53).
(4) One by nature loves truth, justice, moderation, and wisdom, whereas the other loves...