This book is clearly written, and broadens the debate towards later philosophers who were inspired by the Republic. As to the fact/value distinction (see the previous review of this book), it was indeed not used by Plato (as Rice correctly explains) since it is Hume who is credited with creating these concepts.
Rice writes on p. 22:
"Plato does not divide the cosmos into a world of facts, which we can know through the senses disciplined through the methods of the sciences, and a world of values, which we can know through normative inquiry. Rather, the whole cosmos is a moral one through and through; NATURE (the Greek word is Physis) includes not only facts such as those regarding water, but also facts about values, and sure knowledge of nature only comes through philosophy."
But this book is to short to be of any real use for an in-depth reading of the Republic. For example the crucial allegory of the Cave is only discussed in 1 & 1/2 pages. The best guides for a serious study of the Republic remain, in my opinion, Julia Annas' and Nicholas White's.
This is a horrible book. Rice claims on page 22 that Plato did not understand the fact/value distinction. This is absurb; moreover, it is Rice who is baffled by the fact/value distinction as is evidenced in the example he gives. He says water has two hydrogen molecules for every one oxygen molecule. He calls this a fact. He says a chemistry professor who stated that this was unjust, would be making a 'value' statement, an absurb normative arguement since tha 'fact' is so obvious. But is it? In truth, the 'fact' of H2O is a product of a 'value'; the scientific or philosophical 'value' that originated in Greece before Socrates and was made possible for human beings through the life and work of Thales, Socrates, Plato et al. The 'value' to look at water in a scientific way- to discover it's molecular composition, as opposed to simply drinking it or worshipping it, as is still done today by Priests who sprinkle drops on the head of newborns in front of church congregations, is the philsophic 'value'. Plato understood the fact/value distinction and rejected it. He tried to define philosophy as a search for truth, a serch for what is, this 'value' precedes any 'fact'. Again, on page 22, ice moronically states that Plato thought values were facts. Garbage! Plato articulated the exact opposite opinion, he struggled to show 'facts' were 'values'. This is what is radical about philosophy and why Socrates had to die at the hands of the state, he undermined common beliefs, religious myths and laws. Rice has inherited this endevour without fully understanding t's origins. He has no right to interpret 'The Republic', if right is understood as being correct or accurate. He impairs direct access to Plato's texts by skewing the words with his own unexamined prejudices. He is a modern day Thrasymachus teaching for money and wasting his time 'interpreting' Plato to his tution paying students. This book is pitiful because it robs a student of an education; it fails to treat the dialogue as a dramatic work abd hodge-podge picks out things to further his own unexamined assumptions and academic conceits. For shame- the book is unjust.