References

Plato
Excellent essay by Richard Kraut from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Plato on The Status of Women in the Ideal State
An analysis of the radical argument from Book V of the Republic

Philosophy Talk: Plato
Listen to this excellent radio program and take notes. The segment is about one hour. The free Real Player is required for streaming audio.

Plato and Platonism
A concise introductory essay from the Catholic Encyclopedia

The Philosophy of Plato
An well-organized overview from the Radical Academy

The Republic, Book I
One of Plato's greatest and most influential works. This is a marked-up version of the Jowett translation.

The Republic: Study Questions
To think about and look for when reading Book I.

The Apology
The mind altering depiction of the trial of Socrates. really, this work changed the world and if you read it well it will change you too.

Works by Plato
25 of his dialogues and letters from the 1871 translation by Benjamin Jowett


Plato's Allegory Of The Cave: A Springboard For The Matrix
A clever interpretation of Plato's allegory in relation to a philosophical movie The Matrix

Noble lies and perpetual war
Danny Postel and
Shadia Drury discusses Plato and other political philosophers in the service of contemporary theory and practice. This piece is particularly useful as an instance of how ancient philosophy remains relevant. Whether Drury's critique of Leo Strauss and current politics is accurate is open to discussion.


 

Plato

Young Plato was a student of Socrates. Influenced greatly by his teacher and moved by his friend's execution, Plato went on to establish one of the most powerful bodies of intellectual work in history. Twentieth century philosopher A.E. Whitehead gave his assessment of Plato's influence saying; "the safest general characterization' of Western thought is that 'it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato." That is an exaggeration, but it is fair to say that many of the major topics in contemporary thought were taken up by Plato 2300 years ago. This fact is significant. When reading Plato it is remarkable to note how little of importance has changed for human beings. The consideration by the ancients of matters such as justice, love, friendship, morality, education, happiness, knowledge, loyalty, law, etc. all remain relevant to us in the present. Many aspects of human life and society have changed over the millennia, but the basic features of the human condition have not. Reading Plato is not valuable merely for knowing about distant history; it is a study of present ourselves.

Plato wrote mostly in the form of the dialogue. His works are written as discussions and could be performed as plays. This can be challenging for readers used to prose written from a single voice. Onechallenge is that the dialogue allows for several viewpoints to be presented. A reader must attend to who is speaking at any point in the dialogue and how the discussion got to that point. Another challenge is that, as in real life, a dialogue can change topics. Sometimes it helps to read Plato aloud. It would be beneficial to have well-performed video productions of the dialogues. The dialogues are full of psychological tension and personal drama. Plato is a great writer as well as a great philosopher. To get a beginning idea of the flow of the dialogue form, read now the short excerpts from Meno and Republic.

If you have now read the brief excerpts from the Meno and the Republic, you can surely see that Plato is not writing detached and ponderous theory. His characters have life; they are passionate about their ideas. Moreover, Plato's characters are not mere inventions. Thrasymachus, Glaucon, Meno, Gorgias, and of course Socrates, were real people who had their own ideas and aggendas. Some of them were alive in Plato's time and some of those must have been dismayed to see how they were portrayed. No one would want to be remembered by history as the Thrasymachus in the Republic. Thrasymachus really was a well-known speaker and teacher. Whether he was as brutish as depicted by Plato, is open to interpretation.

Next - learn more about Plato's Objective Values

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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