Gorgias
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Gorgias

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  3,697 ratings  ·  115 reviews
"Taking the form of a dialogue between Socrates, Gorgias, Polus and Callicles, the Gorgias debates crucial questions about the nature of government. While the aspiring politician Callicles propounds the view that might is right, and the rhetorician Gorgias argues that oratory and the power to persuade represent 'the greatest good', Socrates insists on the duty of politicia...more
Paperback, 338 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Livre de Poche (first published -380)
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Riku Sayuj

A Starker Dialogue

Gorgias is very similar in structure, content, focus and argument with the Republic. In fact, it comes across almost a half-formed version of it, and scholars argue that it is in many ways like an early sketch for Republic. But unlike the Republic, which forays into metaphysics and utopias, the argument in Gorgias is anchored very much in this world, and, again in contrast to Republic where everyone seems persuaded in the end, Gorgias leaves us in the dark as to whether Socrate...more
matt


An excellent example of philosophy justifying itself.

Everybody has heard the whole cranky, rather arrogant and patronizing remark made when someone who doesn't read very much or doesn't read for pleasure or instruction feels like scoffing a bit:

"Why are you reading this boring old stuff? Philosophy's good when you're younger, and you don't know anything, but once you become a real adult you should just let that stuff go..."

It's interesting that Socrates calls Gorgias out for basically maki...more
Trevor
Well, if one was to sum up, it would be hard to go past Plato’s own summary:

“And of all that has been said, nothing remains unshaken but the saying, that to do injustice is more to be avoided than to suffer injustice, and that the reality and not the appearance of virtue is to be followed above all things, as well in public as in private life; and that when any one has been wrong in anything, he is to be chastised, and that the next best thing to a man being just is that he should become just,...more
AC
This book is a masterpiece. It includes a critical text, and a line-by-line philological commentary. But even the reader without Greek will learn an enormous amount about Plato and related topics by reading it alongside a translation -- just skip all the entries dealing with purely philological matters.

It is often said that the best commentary on Aristotle is Aristotle. Hence, important commentaries on Aristotle spend most of their time quoting (in Greek) other passages from Aristotle. The same...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
I throw my token in with Callicles when he said
"By the gods, Chaerephon, I too have been present at many discussions, but I don't believe that any has ever given me so much pleasure as this. If you like to go on talking all day, you are doing me a favor".

I simply can't get enough of these dialogues! I know there are flaws in them, I know that sometimes as (especially in the one on oratory) the protagonist (Socrates) gets all the words in edgewise and our dear antagonists do not make a fun enoug...more
David Sarkies
Jun 14, 2014 David Sarkies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophers & Christians
Recommended to David by: University
Shelves: philosophy
Plato on the virtuous life
7 August 2011

It is difficult to put a date of composition to such a text, though internal comments can assist us with determining when it was written. While I do not consider myself an expert on Plato, I would consider this text to be one of his earlier writings as he seems to be recording an earlier conversation as opposed to using Socrates to be a mouthpiece for his own philosophy. A lot have been written on Plato's dialogues, which tend to be philosophical discussio...more
Mandy
I feel the need to point out that while my ISBN matches, my book only has 149 pages (as opposed to the supposed 224, according to goodreads). I dunno what I'm missing out on, but as far as I can tell my book contains all its parts.

This book makes a lot of complex arguments, and at times I found it hard to follow. There were several occasions where I had to read passages and even whole pages over again because I got lost in the arguments. I think the instances where Plato chooses to have Socrates...more
J.
Gorgias is structured in three sections, each section consists of a dialectic argument in dramatic form. The main focus is rhetoric and its uses. What is rhetoric? Is the purpose of rhetoric to win an argument or get to the 'truth'?

Historical context: The 5th century saw the spread of Sophistry and the professional use of rhetoric. Law courts were public occasions, Sophists went around giving lessons in law court rhetoric with an end to instructing others on how to get power and hold onto it. R...more
Rob
Too old to rate. Reading this in a yellowed library book, with edges of the pages flaking off and falling into my lap as I read, Gorgias made a strong argument, more unintentionally than intentionally, for the uselessness of rhetoric. Time has turned Plato's wisdom into despotism and Socrates' humility into a shield to hide his philosophy's flaws behind. Does Plato still offer anything to teach us today, not merely as history but as genuine philosophy? A lot of what he says are certainly good po...more
James
I read this twenty years ago and participated in my first weekend retreat sponsored by the Basic Program of Liberal Education of The University of Chicago. It was an exciting weekend as we sat up past midnight discussing Plato's arguments for education and the power of the sophists represented by Gorgias. As part of the weekend we watched the film, Educating Rita, and it has become one of my favorites always bringing memories of that weekend and Plato's Gorgias.
The familiar saying of Socrates is...more
James
It's Plato. If you don't know what to expect, read The Republic. If you do know what to expect, well, I don't see much reason to read "Gorgias" outside of formal academics unless you just have a burning love for Plato. It's an easy read, perfectly fine for a casual reader, but if you're just reading for enjoyment, there are better ways to spend your time, and if you are actually interested in learning something, then there isn't much here that isn't covered in The Republic, and The Republic is b...more
Selman
Ben hakikaten sevmiyorum bu Platon'u ya. Gorgias'ı tekrar okuyunca tekrar farkettim. Şimdi kitap elimde değil, zaten sağlıklı analizler yapacak halim ve iştiyakım da yok ama özetle şöyle söyleyebilirim: Platon, Sokrates'in tartışmayı sanki son derece sistematik ve kullandığı kavramların her birini açık seçik tanımlayarak yürüttüğü gibi bir izlenim vermeye çalışıyor ve fakat aslında durum hiç de öyle değil.

Platon, Sokrates'in muhataplarını kendilerini bir şey sanan avanaklar gibi gösterip duruyor...more
Osas Aghaku
I remember reading this a few years ago, but somehow I decided to rent and read it again and I have to say that I'm so freaking happy that I did. Now that I'm older and perhaps a little bit more mature, I now can digest the content and wisdom Gorgias (the book itself, duuuh) has to offer and I even enjoyed it more than I did back then. In the whole dialogue it's seems to me that it's pretty clear where I find myself, and sure some arguments took thinking as you go on(how could it not?), but it w...more
Jason Kirk
If you've never read Plato, start with Gorgias . This extended dialogue lays out many of the foundational principles of democracy (and Socrates' fiercest critiques of its Athenian implementation) and its arguments maintain their relevance today, even as the democratic ideal lists ever more drunkenly toward a capitalist bastardization that suppresses more and more citizens, not least in these United States. Walter Hamilton's canonical English translation serves the material well, rendering among...more
Garrett Cash
Besides the philosophy, which has been much discussed, I also found interesting Socrates's unusual tone in this dialogue. He is much fiercer and more opinionated than in others, and the whole discussion itself seems more like a heated argument than the typical philosophical debate. Callicles even goes as far as to say Socrates is on the level of an annoying child for studying philosophy at his age.
Leif
What can I say about Plato that hasn't already been said: either here, or by the editor of my edition, who was generous enough to point out all the flaws in Socrates' arguments. I read this for its discussion of rhetoric, and came away somewhat enlightened, stimulated, and angry. If that helps.
Robert Palmer
May 03, 2014 Robert Palmer rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Trial lawyers and public speakers
Shelves: philosophy
Ouch!

I am a trial lawyer, and what this ancient dialogue has to say strikes home, for it is concerned with the proper and improper use of rhetoric. Today the term, "rhetoric," has a pejorative connotation, but in its purest sense, it simply refers to means of persuasion. The very word itself has Greek origins and is derived from the Greek word, ῥητορικός (“rhētorikos”), which literally means “concerning public speech.” That word, in turn, is derived from the Greek word, ῥήτωρ (“rhētōr”), which m...more
Jason Meinig
One of Plato's better works, in my opinion. The book revolves around questions of the best way to live.. with virtue? being completely self-indulgent? self-controlled? hedonistic? Is rhetoric of any value at all? Is rhetoric better or worse than actual knowledge/teaching? In Plato's typical fashion, he has his usual character/hero/mentor, Socrates, argue through these ideas and more to arrive at and/or elucidate greater truth. I like reading Plato, not because he "knows the truth", but rather by...more
Rudy
J'ai lu ce bouquin parce que je cherchais un livre de philosophie simple à lire. J'ai développé un intérêt pour ce domaine grâce à Elliott Smith et son magnifique album Either/Or, qui m'a fait acheté donc le pavé de Kierkegaard auquel je n'ai strictement rien compris. Mon but maintenant est de réussir à avoir assez de culture littéraire pour pouvoir lire cette effrayante chose. 15€ c'est pas rien, et j'ai promis à ma mère de ne pas lui avoir faire acheter ça pour rien.

Mais pour cela, il me faut...more
Sjonni
C'est au début de l'automne 2013 que j'ai entrepris de lire l'oeuvre complète de Platon publiée en 27 volumes chez Garnier Flammarion. Il s'agit d'un projet de lecture auquel je pense depuis plusieurs années et dont la poursuite fut interrompu une fois déjà par un déménagement hors de l'espace francophone. Ce projet est d'ordre résolument personnel et, n'étant pas reliée à un cours universitaire, ne laissera aucune autre trace écrite sinon ces pensées publiées ici sur goodreads. J'espère que cet...more
Eric
Come to this party for Socrates, but stay for Callicles.

This dialogue opens with Socrates encountering Gorgias and a group of his students. Socrates persuades Gorgias to join in a discussion, which he begins by asking “What he is” (447d). What, in other words, is a sophist? This also opens up a related question about the nature of a sophist’s occupation, rhetoric: Is it an art--a techne? Gorgias bows out of the conversation, leaving his student Polus to converse with Socrates as the latter works...more
Dan
Not as rigorous as republic, but perhaps that's due to this dialogue's greater age and shorter length. I also think that when Socrates posits morality as that which both does not harm oneself nor others he ignores the fact that an action that is outwardly 'good', i.e an action which is good for the recipient does not necessarily have to be moral. For example, I could give a sick man a small portion of nourishing food. This would be a moral act by Plato/Socrates's terms, and I would be good in th...more
Knarik
Very interesting and quite a provoking book. One could not help wanting to jump into the argument and, inevitably, lose. By dog, Plato makes Socrates into an irrefutable and undefeatable "Orator" :)) Because even when Socrates argues against rhetorics as an art and shows that it is a mere knack aimed to persuade people, doesn't he, at the same time persuade them of his point of view, through reason? Doesn't he himself acquire some characteristics of an orator, even if a noble one whose sole aim...more
Tammara Nassar
Plato believes in a hierarchy of forms, where the cause of all forms is goodness. For example, the form of a thumb is less real than the form of an arm, which is less real than the form of a man. No form has ever begun, and no form will ever pass out. All forms are eternally enteral. Another thing that Plato discusses is knowledge. Belief may or may not be true, while knowledge, on the other hand, must be true. Plato assumes that to know is to be in a state of consciousness that duplicates exact...more
Edward Smith
Reading this for a Political Theory class, I was surprised by the excellence of this translation. Previous Platonic dialogues I had encountered in philosophy courses made me apprehensive, but the translation was done so that it was simple to read and appeared to be close to the source. Thus the typical double-edged sword of literalism vs. looser but easier to understand is avoided rather cleverly.



It's rather interesting to consider Plato's views on Politics and the role that rhetoric plays in it...more
Una
Mar 03, 2013 Una rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: runātājiem un klausītājiem
Recommended to Una by: Ilze Rūmniece
Shelves: filfakam, klasika
Labākais, kas ar mani noticis I. Rūmnieces antīkās runas mākslas kursā (atstājot otrajā vietā to lekciju, kurā man izdevās visas 90 minūtes lasīt B. Simsones monogrāfiju par fantāzijas literatūru).
Metodisks retorikas dziļākās būtības meklējums, atsvaidzinoši morāli nelokāms Sokrāts (kuram vienmēr ir taisnība), antīkas argumentācijas piemēri. Aktuāli novērojumi par to, kā, spriežot par jebkuras jomas jautājumiem, sabiedrību daudz vieglāk pārliecina veikli runātāji nekā attiecīgās jomas speciālist...more
Steven
I read this inside The Rhetorical Tradition

Interesting interpretation of what is good and bad about rhetoric and the views on what the meaning of a thing is.

There are flaws, and I'm no philosopher so I'm not going to bother attempting to decode them, but it's an interesting read. Probably deserves a 3.5.
David Williamson
Plato does suffer from a complete lack of strong criticism to his Socratic Method, apparently even Plato and Socrates thought the Socratic Methods had several weaknesses (several obvious ones too!) but they don't let anyone else in their debating circle know this, but I doubt it would've helped them anyhow.



Plato tends to jump from the particular to the Universal and uses allegory as proof in a slight of hand, swapping terms and uses of language, like only a Sophist could dream of weilding, which...more
Boris
A very pleasant piece of philosophy by Plato, in which Socrates attacks the 'art' of speaking in public, in which not content but structure counts the most (and thus a brilliant speaker will win from the expert on certain matters). The most interesting part in this dialoque is without a doubt the conversation with Callicles, who defends the view that the stronger should rule over the weaker (a view which we find later on with philosophers as Nietzsche). Socrates' reaction is as simple as it is s...more
Jacob
I find it quite comforting to believe that power is not merely an ability to do what one thinks is best but to do what one truly wants; two capacities that I think Socrates is right to distinguish whether or not it tells us much about what we actually call power. Nevertheless, it seems that Socrates moral universe is too tidy with its totally unrepressed good guys and hopelessly confused villains. I'm fairly certain that my inner child, raised as he was by the morality plays of Disney, regularly...more
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Politics: Gorgias 1 2 Oct 21, 2013 10:14AM  
  • De Anima (On the Soul)
  • The Metaphysics of Morals (Texts in the History of Philosophy)
  • The Discourses
  • On Duties (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • Philoctetes
  • Ptolemy's Almagest
  • Herakles
  • The Enneads
  • Discourse on Metaphysics & Other Essays
  • A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge
  • Early Greek Philosophy
  • Science of Logic
  • Fragments
  • A Treatise of Human Nature
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Plato is a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.

Plato is one of the most important Western philosophers,...more
More about Plato...
The Republic The Trial and Death of Socrates The Symposium Apology Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo

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“If it were necessary either to do wrong or to suffer it, I should choose to suffer rather than do it.” 5 likes
“for philosophy, Socrates, if pursued in moderation and at the proper age, is an elegant accomplishment, but too much philosophy is the ruin of human life.” 4 likes
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