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Great Dialogues of Plato
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Great Dialogues of Plato

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  1,317 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Written in the form of debates, Great Dialogues of Plato comprises the most influential body of philosophy of the Western world—covering every subject from art and beauty to virtue and the nature of love.
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Published March 4th 2008 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published -400)
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From Meno, the dialogue between Socrates and Menon:

"Menon: And how will you try to find out something, Socrates, when you have no notion at all what it is? Will you lay out before us a thing you don't know, and then try to find it? Or, if at best you meet it by chance, how will you know this is that which you did not know?

...(nine pages later}...

Socrates: Yes, I think that I argue well, Menon. I would not be confident in everything I say about the argument; but one thing I would fight for to the...more
Jay Szpirs
DONE! Been reading this book for just almost two years!! Faithfulness to the original style and structure of the dialogues is both strength and weakness: it recreates the experience of Socrates' teaching method and creates a compelling narrative by following Socrates through his trial and execution.

Unfortunately, it is also a bit rambling and takes some time getting to the point of a line of questioning. Many anecdotes and turns of phrase are extremely anachronistic (a few are almost incomprehe...more
Joe Blankenship
I read this a young, high school level student. Keeping that in mind, the word are clear, concise, and thoughtfully chosen. However, the tragedy of my youth was the lack of understanding and depth to which Plato's idea resonated through time. This philosophy is a great foundation from which to build your cognitive processes keeping in mind that the meaning to many of the passages changes as one ages. It is in this where this sometimes hard to read text shines. I recommend this to all young think...more
One of, not just of philosophy's cornerstone texts, but of my own personal views. That isn't to say I actually agree or believe everything Plato says (I find many arguments with his 'innate logic' as well as his views on government), but his method and practice are such that few can hold a candle to the eloquence and captivation that Plato wrote with. The Socratic method is a great tool for understanding and discovery, and many texts also develop a great deal of insight into the lives of the tim...more
A good translation. Includes The Apology, The Republic, Symposium, Crito, Phaedo, Meno, and Ion. The first two are a must read for everyone. The Republic takes some work getting through, but it is worth it.
To think how Plato would be known today if Rouse had got there before Jowett
Keith Ford
One of the best greek philosophers.
Nick Smith
Obviously you can get many versions of this. My favorite dialogues are The Phaedo, The Phaedrus, The Symposium, and of course, "The Republic." But I do not think that "The Republic" is very realistic. It is a utopia, whereas Aristotle's middle road or mean would be a much better form of government. If all the power were in the philosopher-king's hands, ultimately corruption would surface and the people would not be satisfied without property or familial bonds. Overall, there are several critical...more
Andrew John Pixton
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
My favorite part reading Plato was how ambitious he was as a thinker. Well, I'm actually not sure if he was the ambitious thinker or Socrates; very confusing. While the Republic is justifiably famous for the sheer scale of the thought experiment, it was tedious in parts. And I have to say, his conclusions don't mesh well with either my own views or how society is structured in the modern era. Still, it was fun to read someone's vision of the perfect city in 400 BC. My favorite by far was Crito,...more
Old man Plato has some thought provoking things to say, the most famous being the claim that the life of your average Joe is no better than living in a cave mistaking shadows on the wall for real existence. Plato urges us to value wisdom and reason above all, to use these to achieve an understanding of the eternal and the unchanging, and not the illusory and temporal. I'm not yet convinced of the existence of this greater reality Plato values above all else, and wonder if there is really anythin...more
Blue Caeruleus
When I got to the Republic, I was greatly surprised to find out that Plato was a communist. His ideas for what makes the perfect city-state are exactly what I would expect to make a nightmare of a government. Still, one can enjoy this for the fact that it's a voice that has been passed down for thousands of years and has had immense influence on human thought. Plus, it contains the dialogues concerning the trial and death of Socrates, of which I am very fond. For anyone who wants to be acquainte...more
I bought this on my honeymoon after finishing Steve Martin's "Born Standing Up," and feeling vaguely guilty that the only book I was reading was "The Wolf's Hour" about a Russian born member of the British Secret Service, expert lover and werewolf who is doing covert ops behind enemy lines in WWII. According to this book, the D-Day invasion might never have succeeded if not for the efforts of this, well, werewolf.

Anyway, yeah- and the Steve Martin book got me thinking about Philosophy again.

Nov 08, 2007 teresa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: collegebooks
I have read many of his dialogues about 10X in undergrad, grad, and teaching them. I used to have the fancy big Collected Dialogues of Plato but I think I borrowed it to a student and never saw it again.

My favorites: Crito, Apology, Phaedo, and Symposium.

Because the dialogue form can be a little awkward to get used to and there are clunky translations and a new reader might not realize that Socrates is often being snarky might cause some readers to not be immediately taken with the dialogues a...more
Bryan Reynolds
Much of what is discussed in Pluto's writings is as true now as it was hundreds of years ago. Obviously there are some outdated ideas and naive beliefs that were held among the ancient Greek people, but the logic behind the arguments presented is still rather solid. I think The Republic should be required reading for anyone going into politics; it seems a better foundation than any religious text would be for a governing body.
From the point of view of philosophy, this is probably the most important book ever written. But from the point of view of literature, I'd have to say it was a little lacking. Basically it's Socrates rambling about a ton of things, going off on 100-page tangents, interspersed with his friends breaking up his line of speech with lines like, "Exactly." "Certainly." "Of course, that is clear." And so on and so on.
Erik Graff
Dec 09, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Plato fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: philosophy
This was probably the first book of Plato's dialogs, some of them at least, which I ever owned. I believe it was purchased used from the Maine South H.S. bookstore and may actually have been read before college matriculation. Later it was replaced on the shelves by Jowett's complete, two-volume edition.
I only read The Republic out of this edition. The translation is clear and readable, but with only a few explanatory footnotes throughout, it was difficult to grasp complex ideas. There were some diagrams to help with some of the more famous passages. On the whole, a good edition.
Really essential reading. The Republic is a remarkable establishment (and great to compare with Lycurgus from Plutarch's Lives). The Symposium is an intriguing series of philosophies on love. The Apology is a stunning argument for rule of law even in the face of injustice.
Brook Miscoski
Aug 06, 2007 Brook Miscoski rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I particularly like the dialogue where Socrates destroys a basically Nietzschean will-and-power view of the world. I don't care much for his blathering about how he knows the afterlife must exist, but all philosophies have flaws & everyone picks something to believe in.
While Rouse's translations of Homer are a little less than desirable, he still is the king of cheap, affordable, easily accessible translations of Plato. My humble guess is that this little book has launched many a false start into Philosophy as a career path...
Chris Hunt
Wow! What a marvelous book. Wonderful dialogue between Socrates and his "friends." I read most of it but even without reading The Apology, which is included in this book and is considered to be the best part, I still give it five stars.
Aug 05, 2007 Jeremy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: most
Shelves: philosophy
Of course this book is a bit thick in its vernacular and hard to fully get with one read through. It is worth the patience, though. A lot of the ideas and points made in later works (all the way up to the present) steal quite a bit from Plato.
Nick Wallace
Of inestimable value as a continuation of Socrates' work, I have to agree with a friend of mine. Many of the dialogues eventually breakdown to an ancient Greek equivalent of a Victorian gentleman's club, with here-here's all around.
If you don't know the Allegory of the Cave, then get reading. Get to know Socrates and his method. It's not the most thrilling thing ever written but it has its moments and those moments influenced western thought ever since.
Indah Amaritasari
Aug 16, 2007 Indah Amaritasari rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like philophy
Dialogues of Plato basically give you the insight look of Plato thought. The cave theory explaines well the sitauation/reality of idealisme methodelogy that still exsit in this 21st century. It's quite an 'open' dialogue.
David Melik
The dialogues of Plato, of which this book contains except _Republic_ and _Laws_ express the classical Greek ideas agreeing with the ancient Pythagorean ones and Dharmic, Abrahamic and Essene thought, etc.
Not pleased with the translation. It was tough to understand. Very disappointing as most of these works chronicled the thoughts of Socrates who is one of my favorite philosophers.
Didn't read it all. Read selected chapters for a university course. Some very interesting ideas. Plato was really into censorship to promote a well ordered society.
Mr. Shits
I'm slowing getting through this one...I picked it up along my line of, "If its been good enough to survive for thousands of years I might as well give it a read."
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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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