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Plato: Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo (100 Copy Limited Edition)

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The second edition of Five Dialogues presents G. M. A. Grube's distinguished translations, as revised by John Cooper for Plato, Complete Works. A number of new or expanded footnotes are also included along with an updated bibliography. The second edition of Five Dialogues presents G. M. A. Grube's distinguished translations, as revised by John Cooper for Plato, Complete Works. A number of new or expanded footnotes are also included along with an updated bibliography.


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The second edition of Five Dialogues presents G. M. A. Grube's distinguished translations, as revised by John Cooper for Plato, Complete Works. A number of new or expanded footnotes are also included along with an updated bibliography. The second edition of Five Dialogues presents G. M. A. Grube's distinguished translations, as revised by John Cooper for Plato, Complete Works. A number of new or expanded footnotes are also included along with an updated bibliography.

30 review for Plato: Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo (100 Copy Limited Edition)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo, by Plato ‏‫‬‭Five dialogues, Plato‏‫‬‭; Introduction by A.D.Lindsay. ‏‫‬‭London‏‫‬‭: J.M.Dent & sons, 1947‏‫‬‭ = 1326. 287 Pages. ‏‫‬‭Everyman`s library, ‫‭Edited by Ernest Rhys. Euthyphro, by Plato, is a Socratic dialogue whose events occur in the weeks before the trial of Socrates (399 BC), between Socrates and Euthyphro. The dialogue covers subjects such as the meaning of piety and justice. The Apology of Socrates, by Plato, is the Socrati Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo, by Plato ‏‫‬‭Five dialogues, Plato‏‫‬‭; Introduction by A.D.Lindsay. ‏‫‬‭London‏‫‬‭: J.M.Dent & sons, 1947‏‫‬‭ = 1326. 287 Pages. ‏‫‬‭Everyman`s library, ‫‭Edited by Ernest Rhys. Euthyphro, by Plato, is a Socratic dialogue whose events occur in the weeks before the trial of Socrates (399 BC), between Socrates and Euthyphro. The dialogue covers subjects such as the meaning of piety and justice. The Apology of Socrates, by Plato, is the Socratic dialogue that presents the speech of legal self-defence, which Socrates presented at his trial for impiety and corruption, in 399 BC. Crito is a dialogue by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. It depicts a conversation between Socrates and his wealthy friend Crito regarding justice, injustice, and the appropriate response to injustice. Socrates thinks that injustice may not be answered with injustice, and refuses Crito's offer to finance his escape from prison. Meno is a Socratic dialogue written by Plato. It appears to attempt to determine the definition of virtue, or arete, meaning virtue in general, rather than particular virtues, such as justice or temperance. Phædo or Phaidōn, also known to ancient readers as On The Soul, is one of the best-known dialogues of Plato's middle period, along with the Republic and the Symposium. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دوازدهم ماه ژوئن سال2005میلادی اوتیفرون؛ آپولوژی، کریتون، منون، فایدون؛ از دوره کامل آثار افلاطون؛ مترجم: محمدحسن لطفی؛ تهران، خوارزمی؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 27/03/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 10/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 5 out of 5

    Grah

    Who wouldn't love a series of dialogs from a smartass who walked around Athens asking people irritating questions until they finally decided to kill him? In all seriousness though, what I really identified with in this book is not so much the actual philosophy of Socrates, but his insistence on making people think about their beliefs and opinions. Who wouldn't love a series of dialogs from a smartass who walked around Athens asking people irritating questions until they finally decided to kill him? In all seriousness though, what I really identified with in this book is not so much the actual philosophy of Socrates, but his insistence on making people think about their beliefs and opinions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eliza

    Honestly, call me weird, but this was probably one of the best pieces I've read in class this semester. Super interesting and thought-provoking! Honestly, call me weird, but this was probably one of the best pieces I've read in class this semester. Super interesting and thought-provoking!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    All of the Platonic dialogues in this book come together to form something of a narrative of the trial and last days of the famous philosopher Socrates. Covering topics that range from piety, truth, virtue and even the nature of the soul and the afterlife this is a good collection to get started in an investigation of the figure of Socrates and his depiction by his most famous pupil Plato. Euthyphro: On his way to the Athenian law courts to face charges of impiety and the corruption of the youth All of the Platonic dialogues in this book come together to form something of a narrative of the trial and last days of the famous philosopher Socrates. Covering topics that range from piety, truth, virtue and even the nature of the soul and the afterlife this is a good collection to get started in an investigation of the figure of Socrates and his depiction by his most famous pupil Plato. Euthyphro: On his way to the Athenian law courts to face charges of impiety and the corruption of the youth of the city (the charges that will ultimately lead to his death), Socrates meets up with Euthyphro and engages him in one of his famous interrogations/discussions. Euthyphro is himself at the courts to charge his own father in the case of the murder of one of his slaves (a legal action that many in the Athens of the time would have considered itself an impious act), though Euthyphro himself is convinced that he has a more accurate view of the will of the gods than anyone who can stand against him. Socrates thus hopes that this self-styled prophet and expert on piety can teach it to Socrates himself and ultimately aid him in his legal defense. At first Euthyphro is only too eager to accept the challenge until the penetrating questions of Socrates start to show this would-be ally that his convictions are not based on any rational foundation, but are rather the results of his own baseless assumptions and personal feelings. Rather than stay and try to work with Socrates to find the answer to the question “what is piety?” in a rationally satisfactory way, Euthyphro recalls that he has business elsewhere and leaves posthaste. Already Socrates shows himself to be worthy of the moniker “the gadfly of Athens”. He is a penetrating questioner, but his lack of tact and disregard for all but the truth show how it was all too likely that even many of those who might admire and support Socrates could in the end be driven away by his remorseless quest for answers. Apology: In which Socrates has his day in court and responds to the allegations of impiety and corruption of the young levelled at him by the Athenian citizens who are fed up with his ability to constantly show up the flimsy nature of their beliefs. There is much of interest in this dialogue (or really monologue for the most part), but it is significant that Socrates avers that the basis for his whole way of life is piety and attributes as the source of his questioning no lesser authority than Apollo himself through the voice of the Delphic oracle. According to Socrates a friend discovered from the oracle that no man was wiser than Socrates himself. Apparently perturbed by this declaration Socrates decided to put the oracle to the test and so began by questioning all of those thought to be wisest in the city, the result being that he soon discovered that all those most likely to put themselves forward as wise were in fact the least wise and often the ones whose opinions held the least water when examined closely. Of course, as he continued pursuing this means of inquiry with any and all in the city he didn’t win any friends amongst the powerful, the ‘wise’, and the rich. Ultimately it is Socrates’ willingness to suspend judgement on what is true until the facts can be accurately ascertained, to acknowledge his ignorance, that places him in the role of ‘wisest man in Athens’ and brings forth the famous Socratic maxim: “This man among you, mortals, is wisest who, like Socrates, understands that his wisdom is worthless.” Socrates asserts that his actions have been undertaken in order to aid the city, not corrupt it, since his aim is the perfection of the virtue of its citizens and that for him to denounce his teachings in the face of opposition, and even fear of death, would be not only to give in to lies instead of pursuing the truth, but would ironically be the greatest act of impiety imaginable. Despite his renunciation of a ‘normal’ way of life and preoccupation with theoretical ideas Socrates is not unaware of the reality of his situation and, despite his strong rational defense (in his own mind at least), he acknowledges that because his entire way of life is a tacit criticism of what the majority hold to be most dear (namely the pursuit of wealth, power, influence, and comfort) he is not likely to meet with success. Add to this the fact that he holds the position of principal nuisance and embarrassment to the powerful of Athens and he acknowledges that his place on the chopping block is nearly assured. He takes his eventual sentence of death philosophically (heh, see what I did there?) noting that “the unexamined life is not worth living” and that equivocating simply to avoid death would be to suffer a worse fate: the loss of virtue and betrayal of truth. Crito: After his trial Socrates’ friend Crito attempts to convince him that he must let his friends help him escape both for his own sake and theirs. He appeals to the shame Socrates’ execution will bring on them all, as well as the injustice of the verdict Socrates received at the hands of his accusers. Crito brings up some good points especially when he argues the injustice of Socrates’ verdict (it was obviously a rigged trial, at least as Plato presented it), but Socrates will have none of it. Engaging his friend in his typical question and answer debate format Socrates quickly dismisses any concern as to the stain on their honour since the opinions of the majority have little or nothing to do with the truth and should therefore not be considered when nothing less than that is at stake. He goes on to argue that it is a good life that has value, not merely life itself, and thus to betray one’s ideals and beliefs about the truth in order to save one’s life is both ignoble and wicked. Regardless of the consequences one must follow where the path of virtue leads even unto death. The truth, for Socrates, is an absolute value, not a relative one. So far so good, at least from an idealist’s perspective, but when Socrates ventures into the defence of his accusers, saying that since they represent the city of his birth to whose laws he willingly subjected himself I was a little less convinced. The obvious personal interest of his accusers in using the law to gain their own ends, and even the simple fact that the human laws of any state can easily be used to attain nearly any goal by one skilled enough in their manipulation, left me feeling that in this regard Socrates was either being willfully simple, or making an ironic comment on law itself. Also, given that the ways of states can differ significantly, and Socrates avowed aim is to find the objective Truth (with a capital T), to defer to the man-made and situational laws of one state as in some way embodying a facet of this greater Truth left a bad taste in my mouth. After all it seems pretty obvious to me that Socrates’ entire way of life had the ultimate aim of improving, that is changing, the ways of the Athenians so why defer to their conceivably misguided ways now? Is this not also a betrayal of the truth, arguably an even larger one than that proposed by his friends? Socrates goes some way to answering this argument by claiming that the laws themselves were just, they were merely misused by men, but I still remain largely unconvinced. Crito gives up on any further attempts to convince his friend to escape and Socrates places his fate in the hands of the god. Meno: Socrates searches out the answer to the question of how virtue is attained (is it learned, the result of practice, or an in-born quality) and skirts around the wider question of what in fact virtue even is. In the case of the latter investigation Socrates first asserts that the soul is immortal and as such participates in the eternal nature of the cosmos and has therefore come to know all things, which are then able to be recollected by us in our earthly lives. He uses as his prime example the ability for an unlearned man to come to ‘discover’ mathematical truths by examining simple facts and coming to his own conclusions on them as opposed to being taught these principles by another. While I don’t disagree that we certainly seem able, in many cases, to intuit a truth from observation and argument, drawing the conclusion that this results from the immortality of the soul and its participation in the oneness of the universe seems a somewhat specious argument to me. It is also rather ironic given its reliance on the religious beliefs of the day and Socrates’ ultimate execution for the charge of impiety. Indeed there are quite a few places that seem to be making an ironic comment on Socrates’ death, such as his own accusation that the Sophist Protagoras “corrupts those who frequent him and sends them away in a worse moral condition than he received them.” Ouch! Don’t cast too many stones there Socrates…or put ideas into your enemies’ heads. Ultimately Socrates comes to deny that virtue can be taught, or that it exists in men by their own nature (thus apparently refuting his earlier statement that the soul ‘pre-knows’ all things) and comes to the conclusion that it is a divine gift, given only to some men. Phaedo: Socrates’ last day has arrived and his friends gather round him to console him (or more accurately to look for consolation from him). In his last ‘teaching moment’ he addresses their concerns and gives a much fuller account of his theory on the immortality of the soul that was initially touched upon in the Meno. He begins by noting that life is like a prison, a difficult trial which men must overcome by adopting the philosophical life whose end is apparently ultimately to prepare one for death. It would thus appear that the philosopher is, ultimately, a spiritual man. Socrates notes that the world itself, and all we perceive through the physical senses, are flawed at best and it is only through ‘pure’ reason communing with itself and divorced from the physical world that Truth can be discovered. This internal communing allows the philosopher to perceive the famous ‘Platonic Ideals’ and through this contemplation to understand the nature of reality. It seemed to me that Socrates (or Plato) laid it on a little thick here in denying the utility of sense perceptions as part of rational investigation: Then he will do this most perfectly who approaches the object with thought alone, without associating any sight with his thought, or dragging in any sense perception with his reasoning, but who, using pure thought alone, tries to track down each reality pure and by itself, freeing himself as far as possible from eyes and ears and, in a word, from the whole body Do not the things that we perceive about objects inform our very understanding of these Platonic Ideals in which they supposedly participate? Could a man born blind and deaf be a good philosopher since he would not be hampered by deceptive sense perceptions? Socrates seems to adopt an almost dualistic stance equating the body, and all of its functions, with a flawed and even evil nature, while the soul is pure (unless dragged down by the desires of the body). Man’s life thus becomes a battleground in which the good man (ultimately the philosopher) will overcome all of the body’s urgings and desires while pursuing only, insofar as it is physically possible, the desires of the soul and the intellect. Socrates goes on to state his belief in the existence of the afterlife and the immortality of the soul, confirming that those who follow the path of virtue and reason while alive will be rewarded with eternity amongst the beings of pure intellect and virtue known as the gods in a world of the purely rational, while those who succumb to the temptations of the body will be punished and even the moderate, if they are not good enough, will be sent back amongst the living in a new body to try to attain ‘salvation’ or to fall into ‘damnation’. I think it is in the presentation of the doctrine of the Platonic Ideals that I had the most difficulty in this dialogue. Socrates argues that these Ideals are eternal and existed before all other things in the world that merely participate in their nature. Could it not be argued, however, that these ‘Ideals’ did not come first and are merely the representation of a non-existent pattern that only exists in the mind based on humans’ sense perceptions of the physical characteristics of the things in the world around us? While not ultimately convinced, or comforted, by Socrates’ arguments regarding the nature of reality or the ends of the philosophical life, this was definitely a dialogue that provided much food for thought. In the end Socrates stoically (socratically?) quaffed his hemlock nightcap and bid his friends, and the world, adieu.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Antonomasia

    [from Dec 2013] Hackett Classics edition, tr. G.M.A. Grube, revised Cooper. Philosophy is a subject I don't really get on with. Many of its topics I find fascinating when reading about them in the context of the sciences, psychology, sociology, contemporary religion/atheism debate etc, or as informal conversation. But reading long books of the serious abstract stuff with all the interesting, real-life bits missing? I've never quite seen the point, and I'd almost rather learn crochet or golf or so [from Dec 2013] Hackett Classics edition, tr. G.M.A. Grube, revised Cooper. Philosophy is a subject I don't really get on with. Many of its topics I find fascinating when reading about them in the context of the sciences, psychology, sociology, contemporary religion/atheism debate etc, or as informal conversation. But reading long books of the serious abstract stuff with all the interesting, real-life bits missing? I've never quite seen the point, and I'd almost rather learn crochet or golf or some other equally dull and useless hobby. My record with Classical texts isn't much better. Catullus is a great favourite, Sappho also good, I finished the Oedipus plays, but not Herodotus (though I did keep reading bits of him to take breaks from this, and it was much more interesting than I remembered). That's pretty much it. All my adult life I've farmed out any Greek and Roman questions not answerable online to friends who studied Classics, as it seemed futile to try and catch up. Why this then? It was set for a short-lived book group on Goodreads nearly two years ago [early 2012], and it's only 150 pages. The book group fizzled out almost before I could leave it - which is a record - and we'd never got round to reading this. Whilst reading I found myself considering what texts like this are for these days. Very odd really, given that I find classics (of the small-c variety) intrinsically interesting as historical documents never mind anything else, and I have little patience with people who criticise them because they don't contain 100% contemporary values, as if that were their purpose. It's an attitude I associate mostly with the U.S. culture wars and have only rarely heard from intelligent people from Britain and Europe. There's a common root here: the American Great Books programs, which are astoundingly conservative compared with British literature syllabuses I've been aware of from my lifetime, and which say or imply that one can be educated for almost anything, not simply about pre-twentieth century thought, by reading some very old books indeed. (It's claimed much more grandly, and as if the books themselves will do it, in a way I can never remember hearing about any British course. They even use old texts centrally in science classes, not merely history of science.) The culture wars in part began as a rebellion against those programs. The book-group this came from followed a list inspired by Great Books. The web has given these lists greater prominence than they had outside America 10+ years ago and it's easier to bump into them if looking for lists of important books. Perhaps I was more susceptible to the claims of those Great Books lists as a historian, because they contain a lot of the substance of pre-twentieth century education. (I'd never been happy that I couldn't muster enthusiasm for the material the Renaissance humanists I studied, themselves studied so assiduously - or with the idea that if I'd been around 150+ years ago that I may as well have been a bit thick because much of what made up learning then just doesn't interest me.) As I read more of these dialogues, I thankfully concluded that it's plain daft to expect this to be some magical guide to everything, rather than a translated primary source giving some idea of what a few Ancient Greeks, and those influenced by them, thought, just as the narrative of Dickens gives some idea of how some Victorians thought. It is an interesting text because it shows that many of the same questions have been obsessing intellectuals in the Western tradition (and probably others too) for two and a half thousand years - though it was rather a plough-through. Made me wonder if we're still a bit trapped in that legacy and if these things have been universally important to humans everywhere. (The Great Books programs, I decided, are a charming fringe eccentricity that shouldn't have been treated as generally representative ... I'd have to read more on the history of the culture wars to check how fair that implication about the opponents is.) I have just looked back at my reivews and notes for the actual dialogues and seen how long they are, so this will be a veritable essay, handed in probably to no-one who has time to read it. --- My responses to the dialogues are inevitably flippant, but I'd be very interested in discussion from friends who know the material, or know much about Plato and Socrates, if they can be bothered to plough through this post. Euthyphro I think Socrates rather rude for haranguing Euthyphro at such length and at a time like this, and that Euthyphro would have been quite within his rights to tell him to fuck off - but that is quite beside the point. I imagine this accusation of rudeness being argued with as pedantically as Socrates does here, and the idea is completely exhausting. If I had to describe most of my political principles I'd have to start in terms of psychology (especially attachment theory and person-centred) with a bit of Nordic style socialism and quite a lot of Mill-type liberalism (which these days sounds so extreme it's easier to describe as libertarianism). These all leave a lot of space for human factors, and for a system not being based on absolute cold Vulcan logic, which I feel Socrates and those who argue like him are ultimately trying to establish. Euthyphro describes his prosecution of his father for the manslaughter of a servant, who had himself killed a slave, as a pious action. (I tend to approve of Euthyphro here because he seems to consider that the law should apply equally to different social classes, however, I do not like potentially continuing any chain of killing or maiming people.) Socrates questions the definition of a pious action by establishing that different gods approve of different things. They both sound so arrogantly certain that they're right that I just want to leave them to get on with things as individuals and am not enjoying listening to the argument... I don't like arguments and that's kind of a problem. I also struggle with the Socratic idea of knowing nothing. Everyone, even people with vast knowledge, knows only a tiny fraction of the stuff in the world, and “knowledge” is subject to change based on new events and new evidence. But people do know something. Your detailed knowledge of medieval canon law may be no bloody use if you're asked to operate a combine harvester for the first time, but it meant something at an academic conference. These are two completely separate domains of knowledge which are to one extent or another agreed on by people who use them daily. Within those systems, within certain spheres of existence, they are “knowledge” even if certain philosophers who haven't spent enough time doing practical, non-ivory tower work want to chunter about whether or not life and perception are real: human activity goes on from day to day using this knowledge. I disagree with something cited here as a fundamental principle, that wrongdoers should be punished. I don't believe in retribution or punishment, though some people should be kept away from most of society to stop them doing further harm; also rehabilitation may be possible. If you've seen any British stories going slack-jawed at the Norwegian prison system... it would all work something like that. Also, more widely in society, conditioning inevitably occurs and some actions termed “punishment” act as forms of conditioning. Whilst I've tried to use this reading to go into some fundamental principles that apply today, the main things I've actually learnt from this were the extent to which Greek morality and justice were thought to come from the gods, and that I could understand why some might find Socrates annoying . Apology (not an apology - an apologia, a defence) A historical record of Socrates' speech in his own defence, not something of a manufactured set-piece like Euthyphro. The first example of the stealth boast I have not wanted to defend Sounds like the sort of petty point-scoring in debates at student parties The idea that Classical texts are relevant to everything or that you can learn everything from them – not I hasten to add that the two friends mentioned above have ever pushed this on me. It seems to have come more from reading about American Great Books reading programs. (Which are way more conservative than what we have here.) Gadfly: Why do I not like him when I usually like similar characters? Is it because of his coldness? That he actually says he's god's gift? I don't find things very interesting when put in this abstract way. It bothers me that if I had lived before the twentieth century (though as I would not have survived infancy the point is moot) I would have effectively been a bit thick, because most learning constituted stuff like this and I find it pretty dull. Housework, manual work, physical activity, and possibly even embroidery – though that's a very close-run thing - are all preferable to reading abstract waffle that states the obvious. Though perhaps it wouldn't have all seemed so goddamn obvious. Crito People couldn't help doing wrong – I pretty much agree This is a long argument about something I don't really have a problem with though plenty of modern people apparently do, just as they do with Oscar Wilde not escaping to the Continent. Meno Parallel to the nature-nurture debate which is to a significant extent answered in principle, though not in absolute detail by the understanding of gene-environment interaction and epigenetics Surely this sort of thing is more useful for teaching forms of debate than for its content. Or perhaps if presented to, say, 12 year olds in the manner of “thinking skills” lessons it would be useful. It is clear then that those who do not know things to be bad do not desire what is bad, but they desire those things that they [e] believe to be good but that are in fact bad. Virtù and virtue are quite different things. I am reading this quite differently from the way I read most other older books, which I automatically treat as a historical document. I keep trying to understand its direct modern applications. Although I think that is the problem with the way too many people on this site approach books older than they are. I had considered this an extremely short-sighted approach, but if I relate it to an American tradition that's actually more conservative than the British, (which to us looks like an extreme eccentricity) in which the Culture Wars were a revolt against, I have a better understanding of their context, though I still think it wrong-headed. Not, oh, look, it's an early example of the hypothesis approach, more, what can I learn from this now? That's so not the point. Certain qualities when taken to extremes are judged by authority to be bad. Nature. Nurture and the possibility of teaching – questions still debated in psychology although there is now more research and evidence. Text lacks examples Badly written – Crito especially [the cheek! but I did say I didn't get on with these types of texts, and maybe there *are* less-dry ways to translate them?] Can goodness be taught? Implicit and explicit memory. Is virtue knowledge? live; for if it is impossible to attain any pure knowledge with the body, then one of two things is true: either we can never attain knowledge [67] or we can do so after death. Disdain for the body that the gods are our guardians and that men are one of their possessions. I have good hope that some future awaits men after death, as we have been told for years, a much better future for the good than for the wicked. But if people can't help their actions that is unfair Souls must go somewhere they can come back from knowledge as recollection what triggers memory? The Equal – a singular concept soul exists before they are born Whether souls die or live on after the person No one may join the company of the gods who has not practiced [c] philosophy and is not completely pure when he departs from life, no one but the lover of learning. It is for this reason, my friends Simmias and Cebes, that those who practice philosophy in the right way keep away from all bodily passions, master them and do not surrender themselves to them; it is not at all for fear of wasting their substance and of poverty, which the majority and the money-lovers fear, nor for fear of dishonor and ill repute, like the ambitious mind/body dualism Ceebs! Forms: Beautiful Good etc abstract nouns existing as absolute template entities Could be investigated by cross cultural comparison, neuroscience etc But even within groups there are variations. For instance: white British middle class vegetarians I have known disagree on whether, in a hypothetical scenario where they were starving in the wild with no proximity to civilisation, they would eat animals. 1) some would kill and eat an animal in this scenario 2) some would only kill and eat non-mammals 3) some would only eat animals which had died anyway, and it may differ what types 4) some would rather starve than eat any animals. friend, in the first place it is said that the earth, looked at from above, looks like those spherical balls made up of twelve pieces of leather; it is multicolored, and of these colors those used by our painters give us an indication; ---- Originally posted in this review field: I have about 2000 draft words on this from the time of reading, nowhere near finished, and not sure if I ever shall finish the review. Aside from the minutiae of philosophy, the upshot was that I really didn't get much out of it; these are so clearly old versions of current debates (lacking some of the information / technology / progressive opinion), and the main object of interest was to be reminded that people had such similar thoughts nearly 2500 years ago. Also a bit of a slog for such a short book, which may or may not be the translation. I'm really not a Classicist. --- August 2020: decided to post my old draft and notes from December 2013, as it fits here. However silly and callow it may be, there's no point rewriting a review this old without re-reading the book. It's all as it was then, except for "[early 2012]" and the bit in square brackets re. Crito .

  6. 5 out of 5

    Frank

    Philosophy prioritises questions to answers. Answers are often product of the local culture, and so tend to be parochial. This becomes very evident when we examine a distant culture. The answers lack credibility, even coherence. This is a humbling experience, when we consider how foolish our own answers will appeat in the distant future. Philosophical questions have great reach. Matters that occupied Socrates remain with us today. It is not too much to call them the signatures of western civilis Philosophy prioritises questions to answers. Answers are often product of the local culture, and so tend to be parochial. This becomes very evident when we examine a distant culture. The answers lack credibility, even coherence. This is a humbling experience, when we consider how foolish our own answers will appeat in the distant future. Philosophical questions have great reach. Matters that occupied Socrates remain with us today. It is not too much to call them the signatures of western civilisation. The five dialogues in this book immediately proceed Socrates' execution for blasphemy. They deal with the relation between citizen and state, the persistence of the soul after death and the relation between man and the gods.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cameron

    These dialogues contain the core concepts of Platonic philosophy and serve as a good introduction to the legacy of Socrates and philosophy in the golden age of Greece. I've read these dialogues probably a dozen times in my life and discover something new with each read. These dialogues contain the core concepts of Platonic philosophy and serve as a good introduction to the legacy of Socrates and philosophy in the golden age of Greece. I've read these dialogues probably a dozen times in my life and discover something new with each read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    J. Wootton

    This collection is probably the best entry point to reading Socrates. I myself was introduced via Symposium and anthologized portions of the Republic, which doesn't make for the strongest impressions on a student reader. Here we have four pithy dialogues making admirable cases for philosophy as a way of life and even of salvation, setting the proper foundation and tone for all books Socratic. The Apology is weakest of the five. If Socrates thought that eloquence, winsomeness, and coherent argumen This collection is probably the best entry point to reading Socrates. I myself was introduced via Symposium and anthologized portions of the Republic, which doesn't make for the strongest impressions on a student reader. Here we have four pithy dialogues making admirable cases for philosophy as a way of life and even of salvation, setting the proper foundation and tone for all books Socratic. The Apology is weakest of the five. If Socrates thought that eloquence, winsomeness, and coherent argument could save him, he was either hopeless at making speeches (possible, since dialogue seems his preferred mode by far), or else secretly hoping to be condemned and preferred that to dying of disease.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Reread Apology, Crito and Phaedo for a weekend seminar at St John's College. These dialogues are the account of Socrates' trial, his refusal of his friends' offer to help him escape from Athens, and his last day, spent discussing the immortality of the soul. There are (at least) three strands to these dialogues -- the philosophic arguments, myths, and the testimony of Socrates' own character. Impossible to read without being moved, inspired and challenged. Reread the Crito 7/10-7/11/20. Reread Apology, Crito and Phaedo for a weekend seminar at St John's College. These dialogues are the account of Socrates' trial, his refusal of his friends' offer to help him escape from Athens, and his last day, spent discussing the immortality of the soul. There are (at least) three strands to these dialogues -- the philosophic arguments, myths, and the testimony of Socrates' own character. Impossible to read without being moved, inspired and challenged. Reread the Crito 7/10-7/11/20.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ghazalehsadr

    This book is a perfect point of start for anyone who wants to read philosophy in a chronological order as it is a nice introduction to Socrates. Plato is one of the few philosophers whose writing is beautiful and flows easily. Through these five dialogues we get a good picture of who Socrates was and how the Socratic method works. You also get to learn how the world and society and people were viewed back then which was baffling at times. The only aspect of the book I did not enjoy was how repet This book is a perfect point of start for anyone who wants to read philosophy in a chronological order as it is a nice introduction to Socrates. Plato is one of the few philosophers whose writing is beautiful and flows easily. Through these five dialogues we get a good picture of who Socrates was and how the Socratic method works. You also get to learn how the world and society and people were viewed back then which was baffling at times. The only aspect of the book I did not enjoy was how repetitive the questioning became at times when the issue under discussion and the answer saught were already too clear and obvious.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    One of the those it's a bit impertinent to review. People have been 'reviewing' Socrates and Plato for 2,500 years, and I doubt I have much to add. Suffice it to say, this is a particularly beautiful work of philosophy. The five dialogues here collected all hover around Socrates' death. In Euthyphro, Socrates is preparing for his trial, in Apology he is addressing the jury, in Crito, he is on death row, Meno appears in this collection like a flashback, where we see Socrates offend Anytus, who end One of the those it's a bit impertinent to review. People have been 'reviewing' Socrates and Plato for 2,500 years, and I doubt I have much to add. Suffice it to say, this is a particularly beautiful work of philosophy. The five dialogues here collected all hover around Socrates' death. In Euthyphro, Socrates is preparing for his trial, in Apology he is addressing the jury, in Crito, he is on death row, Meno appears in this collection like a flashback, where we see Socrates offend Anytus, who ends up being one of his accusers, and finally Phaedo dramatises Socrates' final moments on earth, and his cheerful acceptance of death. There are many qualities that make these dialogues so beautiful. First, there is Plato's open-mindedness. He makes Socrates the hero of all these dialogues, and he treats every viewpoint that is raised as a serious contender for truth. Second, there is Plato's give for imagery. He often expends his best writing on describing the viewpoints of others, as in Phaedo, when Simmias uses the image of the lute to illustrate the 'harmony theory of the soul'. Finally, there is the concision and clarity of the argumentation. Plato was a master of the dialogue form, and even in the passages where Socrates' interlocutor is just saying things like 'indeed', 'correct', and 'By Zeus, you're so smart Socrates', he uses the dialogue form to emphasise the steps taken to make his arguments, or the problems and pitfalls of reasoning. As the cold crept through Socrates' limbs to his heart at the end of Phaedo, I was genuinely sad the book was coming to an end—not something I often feel when I reach the end of a philosophy text, an event that usually fills me with relief and a sense of achievement. A monument to humanity—even if women don't get to participate in the dialogues and all the men who do are lazy slave-owning Athenian aristocrats...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    Dialogues taken from around the time of Socrates' death. I picked up this book wanting to understand more about the thinking of Socrates and the progressions of logical thought. My only previous introduction to "the Socratic Method" was from pop culture references and its abysmal application in public education. Apology, Crito and Phaedo all center upon Socrates' trial, personal philosophy and final conversation (respectively) and, while interesting from an academic point of view, I did not find Dialogues taken from around the time of Socrates' death. I picked up this book wanting to understand more about the thinking of Socrates and the progressions of logical thought. My only previous introduction to "the Socratic Method" was from pop culture references and its abysmal application in public education. Apology, Crito and Phaedo all center upon Socrates' trial, personal philosophy and final conversation (respectively) and, while interesting from an academic point of view, I did not find them very helpful with regard to understanding the manner in which Socrates' plied his trade. Euthyphro and Meno, on the other hand, were remarkable for my understanding. In Euthyphro, Socrates attacks the question of the meaning of virtue when a young man decides to sue his father for the (supposedly) wrongful death of one slave that had killed another. In Meno, Socrates again tries to grasp an underlying meaning to the word, this time with a focus as to the nature of virtue, and whether or not it is a kind of knowledge that can be taught or it is ingrained in the "soul" of a man. While, in Meno, the conversation detours into a discussion of the soul and Socrates' personal belief that knowledge is eternal and "recollected" by the individual rather than learned or discovered, the characterization of knowledge, education and definition were extremely interesting. G. M. A. Grube's translations are at once simple and elegant prose which made for both enjoyable reading and clear understanding of the text. While the particular dialogues were not necessarily the best ones to cut my teeth on for my particular learning project, I would definitely recommend this collection for any one wanting more of the Man behind the Method.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marc

    Just as I was exiting the academic world (as a student), I came across Critical Theory, the Frankfurt School, etc. I read some of the popular writers/titles, but it made me realize, I should probably go back and read more philosophy. Here's me, 20+ years later, starting with a re-read of Plato. I'm thinking of including at least one philosophical read and one poetry read each month this year and see how that goes (I don't have to worry about consciously including fiction because I don't honestly Just as I was exiting the academic world (as a student), I came across Critical Theory, the Frankfurt School, etc. I read some of the popular writers/titles, but it made me realize, I should probably go back and read more philosophy. Here's me, 20+ years later, starting with a re-read of Plato. I'm thinking of including at least one philosophical read and one poetry read each month this year and see how that goes (I don't have to worry about consciously including fiction because I don't honestly remember the last month of my life that didn't include fiction; it was probably at whatever point in time my parents weren't reading to me). Coincidentally, this ended up segueing well with a read of Irish Murdoch's The Nice and the Good. This slim volume captures some of Socrates's well-known dialogues. If this is your first intro to Socrates, he's kind of like an internet troll pre-internet. He goes around unraveling, critiquing, and questioning everyone else, especially those in power or those who claim to be experts in their fields. He does this via what we now call the "Socratic method" --- an extremely entertaining way of leading discussion through a logical progression of closed-ended questions whereby his conversational participants usually leave midway through in frustration/disgust/annoyance and no one ever agrees on a definition or an answer to the subject/question at hand. It's like the verbal equivalent of a TKO. But along the way, all involved face their assumptions, clarify their interpretations/meanings, and attempt to reach a kind of universal consensus (we'll call it Truth). These conversations are both enlightening and entertaining (in part, because he always pretends to be this humble simpleton, while masterfully steering the conversation through questions and analogies). Plato take us through Socrates's pre-trial on to his death with these five dialogues. Yes, Socrates was so annoying/good-at-what-he-did that the state put him to death. The Phaedo, Euthyphro (I still can't pronounce this correctly), and Apology were my favorites (in that order). What makes reading Plato timeless is that these philosophical topics/questions are ones we will always be trying to answer in some way (What is the nature of the mind/body split? What is truth? Is there a "right" way to live? What is the "best" form of organized government? What is the ideal relationship between citizen and state? Etc., etc.). Questions that the pace and minutiae of everyday life usually push by the wayside, but questions whose answers determine the values and quality of a life devoted to more than just impulse/immediate pleasure. ------------------------------------------- From here on out I'm just going to share quotes and thoughts/questions that arose while reading this, so feel free to jump ship now... Euthyphro We find Socrates hanging outside court where he awaits his own trial. Meletus has accused Socrates of corrupting the youth and not believing in the city’s gods. Socrates runs into Euthyphro who is about to prosecute his own father for murder. Socrates figures anyone who is about to potentially sentence their own father to death must be an expert is justice and piety. Ostensibly, if Euthyphro can define piety for Socrates, than Socrates can use this definition to show he was not impious and Meletus has no case against him. In the course of their discussion, they introduce the notion of Forms, explore how humans define what is “right,” and the literal and figurative dangers of disagreement (e.g., death sentences, violence, war). “What subject of difference would make us angry and hostile to each other if we were unable to come to a decision? Perhaps you do not have an answer ready, but examine as I tell you whether these subjects are the just and the unjust, the beautiful and the ugly, the good and the bad. Are these not the subjects of difference about which, when we are unable to come to a satisfactory decision, you and I and other men become hostile to each other whenever we do?” In short, disagreement readily leads to anger, which easily elevates to hostility/violence. Apology Socrates has his day in court. “No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings, for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils. And surely it is the most blameworthy ignorance to believe that one knows what one does not know.” “For I go around doing nothing but persuading both young and old among you not to care for your body or your wealth in preference to or as strongly as for the best possible state of your soul, as I say to you: ‘Wealth does not bring about excellence, but excellence brings about wealth and all other public and private blessings for me.’” Socrates believes god has set him on this path to continually goad and question all those in the city toward bettering their souls. It feels like American culture has reversed this---we not only believe that wealth brings about excellence, but wealth alone seems to be the goal with no regard for the soul.“It is not difficult to avoid death,... it is much more difficult to avoid wickedness, for it runs faster than death.” He pleads his case, contemplates the nature of death, and loses the case, perhaps affirming that "justice" really is an artificial concept created by humanity. Crito Plato gets a chance to escape his sentencing when a friend offers to spring him. The haphazard dangers of the majority are discussed and whether one should bother trying to please them. Plato says it’s a waste of time. Plato believes virtue and honesty are among man’s most prized possessions, as are lawful behaviors and the laws; thus, he stays because he feels it is his duty as a good citizen (this kind of virtue and integrity almost seems laughable, especially in 21st century public life---that's pretty sad). Meno Centered around the discussion of whether virtue can be taught. Socrates believes the soul is eternal and that all learning is the soul “recollecting” (a kind of memory being awakened). The analogies seem shakier in this dialogue as they often compare teaching virtue to teaching a skill or craft (something you do or create; whereas, you don’t do or create virtue so much as you either are considered virtuous or individual actions exhibit virtue; they themselves are not virtue). I can never figure out how Socrates decides which terms need defining in these dialogues (e.g., he assumes “beneficial” and “harmful” are concepts clearly agreed upon by everyone). Phaedo Are we sure this term is not Greek for a type of haircut? Like, Yoooooo--he got the fresh phaedo! Dialogue reads like a renunciation of all emotion and pleasure. Deals with the mind/body split--- intellect and mind as soul; only soul grasps and understands knowledge and can grasp Forms; this can only be perfected in death after the soul has been separated from the body. As I was reading, I began to wonder what the earliest instance is of humans documenting an awareness of a soul or a difference between mind and body… ? Practicing philosophy is preparing for death; therefore, the philosopher does not fear dying. My favorite analogy from this book was in this section: The soul is to the body as harmony is to the musical instrument. “...we should not become misologues, as people become misanthropes. There is no greater evil one can suffer than to hate reasonable discourse. Misology and misanthropy arise in the same way. Misanthropy comes when a man without knowledge or skill has placed great trust in someone and believes him to be altogether truthful, sound and trustworthy; then, a short time afterwards he finds him to be wicked and unreliable, and then this happens in another case; when one has frequently had that experience, especially with those whom one believed to be one’s closest friends, then, in the end, after many such blows, one comes to hate all men and to believe that no one is sound in any way at all.” “...for the uneducated, when they engage in argument about anything, give no thought to the truth about the subject of discussion but are only eager that those present will accept the position they have set forth.” [One of the aspects of social media I find infuriating is that discussions seem to have an unalterable focus on “winning” an argument and not in finding truth. It would be wonderful if the next quote is how we approached all discussions... "You may say I'm a dreamer / But I'm not the only one... "] “If you think that what I say is true, agree with me; if not, oppose it with every argument and take care that in my eagerness I do not deceive myself and you and, like a bee, leave my sting in you when I go.” [Ah, but agreement relies on truth. A general relativity and exponential multiplication of narratives/histories, and thus realities, makes the singular concept of “truth” almost an impossibility.] Forms seem to rely on strict dichotomy and be affirmed by tautology. How does the individual soul relate to the concept or Form of Soul? E.g., A tree can die but TREE as a Form cannot die. So is there a soul and a SOUL? From whence does the soul come and how many are there in existence? It would seem, in theory, they would never increase or decrease in number unless there’s an unlimited supply just waiting for new humans. You could potentially get a certified pre-owned one. Might be preferable since its immortal and would come with some knowledge/wisdom. Thought experiment: Since there seems to be almost nothing capitalism cannot appropriate and commodify, how would high fashion have appropriated Socrates? --------------------------------- YOUR REWARD FOR STICKING WITH ME TO THE END Melons as Musical Instruments

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    4/5 Stars. A pretty good start to my philosophy journey. Plato and Socrates shook the philosophical world all around when they took the stage. New issues, new methods, and an all new attitude came with them. Socrates, the rock star of philosophy, would go around vehemently questioning everyone, feigning interest and respect while logically running circles around them. Plato, student and friend of Socrates, built on many of his ideas and worked to immortalize his good image after it was ruined in 4/5 Stars. A pretty good start to my philosophy journey. Plato and Socrates shook the philosophical world all around when they took the stage. New issues, new methods, and an all new attitude came with them. Socrates, the rock star of philosophy, would go around vehemently questioning everyone, feigning interest and respect while logically running circles around them. Plato, student and friend of Socrates, built on many of his ideas and worked to immortalize his good image after it was ruined in his own time. This book is a collection of five dialogues, all starring Socrates, as written by Plato. Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, and Phaedo. All except Meno, which was seemingly just thrown in there, comprise the trial and death of Socrates. As far as the philosophy goes, not too much of it is applicable. Modern science and philosophy have pretty much made the way that Socrates and Plato view the world look very archaic. This isn't a point against them at all, since they did the best they could with what they had. If they were born recently, I have no doubt that they would be just as famous and innovative as any modern philosopher. Sadly, though, it doesn't change just how pointless a lot of their ideas come across. They rely too much on mysticism and outdated worldviews, so the only thing I really got from this is a lesson on how arguments should work (and sometimes how they shouldn't). Euthyphro is the best for this, showing Socrates effortlessly tying Euthrypho up in a web of his own logic. This is the Socratic method at its finest. While I would never want to talk to Socrates, I definitely enjoyed reading him. They discuss the nature of piety, and the dialogue ends abruptly as Euthyphro presumably gets too frustrated and leaves when he can't give a satisfying answer. Apology is pretty much just a long monologue with Socrates detailing his defense against the charges of corrupting the youth and defying the gods. In my opinion, he gave a decent defense, but the jury wasn't hearing it. It didn't help that Socrates roasted the hell out of them multiple times. They sentence him to death for this. None of it phased him, though. Socrates is notoriously unafraid of death and relentlessly virtuous. Crito is another classic-style dialogue showing Socrates in prison. He discusses with his friend Crito why he won't break out of Jail, despite his friend's desperate pleas. Here, Socrates outlines a pretty uncompromising morality, which was the only part of the philosophy I found genuinely interesting, if unconvincing. This is also probably the last dialogue in the collection meant to actually represent the historical Socrates. Meno features Socrates speaking to the namesake about whether virtue can be taught, and how learning occurs. This is definitely where Plato really starts sneaking in his own philosophy, as you get hints of Forms and Socrates actually starts volunteering some of his own theories, rather than exclusively tearing down other people's. Phaedo is the longest dialogue in the collection, and the most Plato heavy. Not that he's actually there, this one just most closely deals with Forms. It's also the most mystical and thus the least interesting. Still worth a read, but not practical at all. The English here is mostly easy to get through. It's not overly dense, but Socrates does have a habit of being quite redundant. I see why he does this, but it doesn't help the readability. Also, the formatting of this edition is pretty bad sometimes, especially in Phaedo. In that dialogue, it's technically a story within a story, and all named dialogue sequences are completely removed when it goes into the main part. It gets really hard to follow and this is worse after you're used to the previous formatting style. For the historical significance, great arguing style, decent translation, and love to hate him Socrates, I give this book 4 stars out of 5. I took away one star because of the really shoddy formatting for a third of the book and for its lack of practical philosophy. That might be a little unfair, but it did impact my personal enjoyment which is a big factor. Personally, I do think everyone should read this. Even if philosophy isn't really your thing, this will help you start thinking of things on your own. Like the ancient Socrates did, this book can help to make everyone a philosopher.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    I read three out of five dialogues (Apology, Crito, Meno). All three dialogues were profoundly beautifully written, but Apology affected me the most. It made me question my principles that were supposed to be unwavering and eternal. If anyone can make death seem graceful, it's Socrates. It also made me angry. How can a man act so calmly and almost insouciantly when incompetent & subjective men play God with his life? I almost felt offended that a man so hungry for knowledge didn't truly realize I read three out of five dialogues (Apology, Crito, Meno). All three dialogues were profoundly beautifully written, but Apology affected me the most. It made me question my principles that were supposed to be unwavering and eternal. If anyone can make death seem graceful, it's Socrates. It also made me angry. How can a man act so calmly and almost insouciantly when incompetent & subjective men play God with his life? I almost felt offended that a man so hungry for knowledge didn't truly realize the value of life (I don't care who you are and what your faith is; living is better than being dead). But it was also a hilarious reading. Socrates suggests that his punishment for impiety and 'corrupting the youth' should be to receive free meals at the Prytaneum. Which is pretty damn funny. Let's not forget, a man is being convicted of impiety and corrupting the youth only by QUESTIONING the logic of other men. People are so done with good ol' Socrates' curiosity that they wanna off him! It almost seems like a joke. Anyway, if you want to find beautiful quotes that inspire good-living, look through the Five Dialogues. My favorites: •"To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man, yet men fear it as if they knew that it is the greatest of evils. And surely it is the most blameworthy ignorance to believe that one knows what one does not know." Page 33, Apology. •"It is not difficult to avoid death, gentlemen; it is much more difficult to avoid wickedness, for it runs faster than death." Page 42, Apology. •"...The most important thing is not life, but the good life." Page 51, Crito.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    I read this book for my university philosophy class in my freshman or sophomore year. It was my first approach to Plato and Socrates. I did feel like I was sitting just outside the circle of listeners as the debates raged on. I think my favourite discourse here was Apology where Socrates stands his ground as a philosopher who will not water down his message despite the threats against him by the status quo. We definitely need more like him right now given the current political climate. The other I read this book for my university philosophy class in my freshman or sophomore year. It was my first approach to Plato and Socrates. I did feel like I was sitting just outside the circle of listeners as the debates raged on. I think my favourite discourse here was Apology where Socrates stands his ground as a philosopher who will not water down his message despite the threats against him by the status quo. We definitely need more like him right now given the current political climate. The other dialogues are of course great as well but I remember Apology best of all.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sadie

    Took me through a time machine to the days when questioning existence, thinking about feelings and human mechanisms was not considered boring or cliche. I loved being introduced to Socrates and his thoughts through this book. He is the perfect example of a man who is brave enough to think for himself. It doesn't matter if you agree with his beliefs and conclusions or not, he teaches you how to think outside the box, face life looking at the bigger picture, and never be afraid of doing what YOU th Took me through a time machine to the days when questioning existence, thinking about feelings and human mechanisms was not considered boring or cliche. I loved being introduced to Socrates and his thoughts through this book. He is the perfect example of a man who is brave enough to think for himself. It doesn't matter if you agree with his beliefs and conclusions or not, he teaches you how to think outside the box, face life looking at the bigger picture, and never be afraid of doing what YOU think is right, even if it costs your own life. I definitely have respect for this man.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    Socrates was a real one - liked learning abt Platonic/Socratic dialogue, elenchus (intense cross-examination via q&a), Socrates' definitions of virtue and piety, theory of recollection, etc. I def liked apology the most! It was overall p good but it got long-winded at times Socrates was a real one - liked learning abt Platonic/Socratic dialogue, elenchus (intense cross-examination via q&a), Socrates' definitions of virtue and piety, theory of recollection, etc. I def liked apology the most! It was overall p good but it got long-winded at times

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anya Alekseevna

    Rereading these dialogues after almost 20 years has proved my initial impression, that "life without examination/dialogue is not worth living". A simple book where people are simply having a debate. If only more were that inquisitive, impertinent, analytical and kind, talking to people would have been so much more interesting and fulfilling. Rereading these dialogues after almost 20 years has proved my initial impression, that "life without examination/dialogue is not worth living". A simple book where people are simply having a debate. If only more were that inquisitive, impertinent, analytical and kind, talking to people would have been so much more interesting and fulfilling.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Caspar Bryant

    They have their moments but reading Plato thus far isn't an especially sexy time. Euthyphro is fun and philosophically neat. None of these are bad! I was just not especially awoken by them. Details are lovely to see - Phaedo: [Socrates] had a way of playing with my hair... Keen for the next round of Plato, which should be a bit spicier. They have their moments but reading Plato thus far isn't an especially sexy time. Euthyphro is fun and philosophically neat. None of these are bad! I was just not especially awoken by them. Details are lovely to see - Phaedo: [Socrates] had a way of playing with my hair... Keen for the next round of Plato, which should be a bit spicier.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Corbin Wright

    This is all about Socrates. Socrates is an impressive man. This book does a really good job at showing you examples of well thought out logical arguments. It’s pretty easy to read even for non-philosophers. A good read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Phillips

    Really enjoyed it. Sad to see some of it what they believed (ie, Phaedo), but overall very good and thought-provoking. Also very accessible and sometimes inspiring (ie, Apology and Crito).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Roof Beam Reader (Adam)

    Summary: Plato’s Five Dialogues includes essays which recount the days leading up to Socrates’ trial for “corrupting the youths of Athens”, as well as Socrates’ defense (apologia) to the jury, and his final conversation with his closest friends before his induced suicide by hemlock. The essays are an exploration of the man and his methods, as well as an historical account by Plato of the time period and its dangers (during the transition from oligarchy to democracy there was a tension between the Summary: Plato’s Five Dialogues includes essays which recount the days leading up to Socrates’ trial for “corrupting the youths of Athens”, as well as Socrates’ defense (apologia) to the jury, and his final conversation with his closest friends before his induced suicide by hemlock. The essays are an exploration of the man and his methods, as well as an historical account by Plato of the time period and its dangers (during the transition from oligarchy to democracy there was a tension between the government and its people - the government being always weary of its own weaknesses). The Good: My particular favorites of these five are: “Euthyphro,” “Apology,” and “Phaedo.” I found the first dialogue, “Euthyphro” to be the most true to Socratic Method and to my understanding of the kind of man Socrates was likely to be – humorously humble. He allows Euthyphro, in their discussion of piety, to back himself into corners, find new footing, then get turned around all over again, before finally Euthyphro gives up and ends the discussion (never admitting defeat, of course). “Apology” was, perhaps, the most moving and inspirational; that a man could stand such injustice, look into the faces of his prosecutors and still be empathetic and forgiving – interpreting with distinction the law as the law, and human fault as human fault, is impressive and powerful. Finally, though I found some fault with “Phaedo” as being largely a fiction placed with (supposed) true or nearly-true historical dialogues, I also found it to be truly thought provoking. What is death, really? What does it mean for the human soul, and how can we, in waking life, ensure that our souls will live on in a greater and better way, after separation from the bodily shell? Whether one is atheist, religious, or agnostic, it is fascinating to watch the discussion and to begin to test one’s own beliefs in terms of the afterlife and, in a way, immortality. The Bad: I did not particularly enjoy “Crito” or “Meno,” perhaps because I found the philosophical argument to heavily scaled in Socrates’ favor. This is, to an extent, to be expected – the dialogues are about Socrates and the Socratic method, after all; still, that Socrates would go on and on for paragraphs at a time, with the only rejoinders from these supposedly equally learned men to be one or two words, or a sentence perhaps, typically in agreement or submission, seems to be a bit dishonest. I also found some fault with “Phaedo,” perhaps because I knew it was more hearsay than the other dialogues. I understand that they are all reinterpretations, as Socrates never wrote his own essays (his life and lessons were relayed through Plato, largely), but knowing Plato was not even present during the time of Socrates’ death, and that the back-and-forth among Socrates and the other philosophers was largely imagined and based off what Plato would assume to be true to Socrates’ vision (with a bit of Plato mixed in), makes “Phaedo” harder to appreciate – a pity, as it is, really, the most important. The Final Verdict: 4.0 out of 5.0

  24. 5 out of 5

    El

    In the first of the dialogues Euthyphro and Socrates try to discuss and define allegiance. Euthyphro charges his father of murder of one of his workers; as Socrates is also being charged with impiety he hopes to learn a thing or two from Euthyphro in hopes that he can use it in his own trial. Apology is Plato's version of Socrates's speech at his trial in his own defense (he allegedly had a thing for creating a whole bunch of new deities without worshiping or believing in the gods everyone else d In the first of the dialogues Euthyphro and Socrates try to discuss and define allegiance. Euthyphro charges his father of murder of one of his workers; as Socrates is also being charged with impiety he hopes to learn a thing or two from Euthyphro in hopes that he can use it in his own trial. Apology is Plato's version of Socrates's speech at his trial in his own defense (he allegedly had a thing for creating a whole bunch of new deities without worshiping or believing in the gods everyone else did). Despite his efforts he is sentenced to death. Crito in the third dialogue discusses with Socrates the power of justice and offers to help Socrates escape from prison. In Meno, Socrates and Meno cover virtue, and whether or not this is something that can be taught and if there is a common virtue in everyone. And finally, Phaedo, who was present at Socrates's death, relates what happened in his final moments. My explanations here are about the basest of details of these dialogues, and while reading all five in one day was not difficult, and the reading was not difficult, trying to express all of it here is more difficult. These are things that I think everyone should read at some point in their lives, 'cause really Socrates was a real bad-ass, and Plato knew how to put the man on paper.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cameron Davis

    Plato's writing is "beautiful" in contrast to other philosophers' like Kant's, as my Greek Philosophy professor put it. Euthyphro and Meno were particularly interesting. Although I think Socrates' ideas are full of inconsistencies and reflect a rather primitive understanding of psychology, knowledge, learning, and virtue, the questions Socrates asks are extremely interesting and thought-provoking even though I find many of his answers to be pretty clearly wrong. Plato's writing is "beautiful" in contrast to other philosophers' like Kant's, as my Greek Philosophy professor put it. Euthyphro and Meno were particularly interesting. Although I think Socrates' ideas are full of inconsistencies and reflect a rather primitive understanding of psychology, knowledge, learning, and virtue, the questions Socrates asks are extremely interesting and thought-provoking even though I find many of his answers to be pretty clearly wrong.

  26. 5 out of 5

    sch

    Jul 2020. Potential textbook. Reading with friends. Finished, and alas not suitable for high schoolers. Too few footnotes and (at crucial moments) too obscure. I’m willing to sacrifice accuracy in translation if it means the students will have a better chance of understanding the basics of Socratic and Platonic thought. But I want these five of these dialogues in a decent paperback edition. The search continues.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mina Nasry

    Plato had been, then, unprecedented. He created the art of philosophy. I didn't expect to read such organized arguments. Each dialogue had its own excellency from Euthyphro all the way forward to Phaedo, but I think that the last dialogue is their best in terms of the deep meanings discussed. I really learned a lot how to think deeply about things we usually take for granted. Highly Recommended for all lovers of Greek culture. Plato had been, then, unprecedented. He created the art of philosophy. I didn't expect to read such organized arguments. Each dialogue had its own excellency from Euthyphro all the way forward to Phaedo, but I think that the last dialogue is their best in terms of the deep meanings discussed. I really learned a lot how to think deeply about things we usually take for granted. Highly Recommended for all lovers of Greek culture.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    Being Socratic would squash small talk, improve listening, slow response, fight Alzheimers, weed out oversensitive friends, drop tv ratings. He'd probably convince me the folly of rating books on Goodreads. This Mount Eerie lyric resembles Socrates' listeners: "Through all of my life I waver back and forth between A belief and not Believing in anything In any solid shape" ('Belief' feat. Julie Dorion) Being Socratic would squash small talk, improve listening, slow response, fight Alzheimers, weed out oversensitive friends, drop tv ratings. He'd probably convince me the folly of rating books on Goodreads. This Mount Eerie lyric resembles Socrates' listeners: "Through all of my life I waver back and forth between A belief and not Believing in anything In any solid shape" ('Belief' feat. Julie Dorion)

  29. 4 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    A must read for those who want to understand how the world continues to work to this very day.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Dustin

    I remember having to read this for a Philosophy course. I'm not sure if I ever finished it, but I recall it being interesting and thought-provoking. I remember having to read this for a Philosophy course. I'm not sure if I ever finished it, but I recall it being interesting and thought-provoking.

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