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Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: What Plato can teach us

By Jonathan Derbyshire  

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein © Steven Pinker

Anyone who’s done an undergraduate degree in philosophy will have been made to read the great philosophers of the past—the 16th and 17th-century rationalists and empiricists, certainly, probably some Kant, and in all likelihood Plato and Aristotle as well. For decades, particularly in the anglophone world, students were encouraged to treat such monuments of the western tradition as Plato’s Republic or Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason not as relics to be venerated but rather as if they’d been published in the most recent…

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