Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Plato: A Very Short Introduction” as Want to Read:
Plato: A Very Short Introduction
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Plato: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions #79)

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  191 ratings  ·  23 reviews
This introduction to Plato focuses on the philosophy and argument of his writings, drawing the reader into Plato's way of doing philosophy, and the general themes of his thinking. It looks at Plato as a thinker grappling with philosophical problems in a variety of ways, rather than a philosopher with a fully worked-out system. It includes a brief account of Plato's life an ...more
Paperback, 104 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published February 13th 2003)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Plato, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Plato

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 551)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Riku Sayuj

Annas focuses on providing as nonintrusive an introduction to Plato as possible for the beginning reader. He does not try to cover the vast array of topics that the prolific Plato has touched on but instead tries to give a general structure on how to approach the dialogues. Annas conveys the difficult yet rewarding nature of reading Plato: that Plato is intensely concerned both with unbiased argument and also with with bold and assertive ideas - creating a subtle contradiction that pervades his
...more
IWB
The Very Short Introduction Series by Oxford is a bit hit or miss—some are excellent, others mediocre. Some of the titles are reprints from Oxford’s former series called Past Masters originally published in the 80’s (which has been presently reprinted with new covers). Some are new commissions such as Annas’ Plato. This series now extends its scope of introduction to more than just significant individual thinkers, artists, musicians, scientists and so forth, but also to various theoretical conce ...more
Erik Graff
Jul 27, 2015 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: philosophy fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: philosophy
The usual take on Plato is twofold. First, to try to separate Sokrates' thinking from his. Second, to trace the development of Plato's own thinking. Annas does neither. Instead she pretty much black-boxes Sokrates and doesn't try to resolve the contradictions in Plato's texts. Rather than attempting to trace the development of a 'Platonic doctrine', to even chronologically order the dialogues, she takes a minimalist approach. We don't know their order and the contradictions are just that, namely ...more
Blake
I must be alone in and against the clockwise direction of my little circle to find myself willing to entertain the new variants of platonism. There are two parts to this entertainment: the first elevates an ethical and aesthetic view inherited from Iris Murdoch, whose detail of Plato is content to remain unhistorical; whereas, the second is a substantial view about abstract objects that may not even fit best under a platonist heading. Contrasting these with the conservative naturalism (properly ...more
Jagrut Gadit
Aug 25, 2013 Jagrut Gadit rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone beginning with ancient philosophy
Effective introduction for Plato beginners...Clearly demarcates important aspects and themes of Plato's dialogues...Clarifies that Plato didnt leave for us any ready-made theory or dogma but a vibrant tradition and expectation of dialogue which engages others and as well as one's own self. Highlights the homoerotic aspects of Plato's writings which were subsequently marginalized by Christianity's appropriation of Plato. Dispels major misconceptions about Plato's theory of Forms and his ideas abo ...more
Marcus Vinicius
A glimpse of Plato's life and thought is exposed by Julia Annas with clarity and in a readable way. The philosopher early life, his background and his contemporaries in the philosophical endeavor give the reader some insights in order to interpret Plato's works. Some of the understandings advanced by the author are disputed but in no way misleading. Plato's main concepts and ideas are refered in a compreensible way. The reader with special interest in Plato's philosophy will profit by this readi ...more
Steve
Quite a few philosophers have now been given the Very Short Introduction treatment. If you're new to the series and looking to tackle the great thinkers, Plato is a good place to start. Frequently cited as one of the more captivating and accessible philosophers, he was a pivotal figure in institutionalising philosophy, exploring complex ideas with an unusual degree of literary appeal.

Organised by subject matter rather than treatise, the author does an admirable job of packing quite diverse them
...more
Stephen Olley
Another solid entry in the Very Short Introduction series which whips through the key topics Plato prsented in his dialogues. The key message that is highlighted here is that Plato did not leave us with one fixed world view but rather a series of, often conflicting, arguments with which we need to engage and debate.
I now feel ready to tackle some Plato for myself which is what I shall do next.
Joshua Duffy
Now, this is how an intro should be written. Much better than VSI: Nietzsche. Gives an overview of history, culture, thought, ideas, etc., of Plato in a very basic way. Great book to determine whether or not you want to learn more.
Dorothée
A really great and concise introduction to Plato. A wide variety of topics, interesting commentary and critique, includes both modern and historical perspectives on Plato's work, illustrates some of Plato's key ideas using relevant and well-selected passages from his work. Annas' writing is fluid, very easy to follow, and takes you straight through the book without the reader even noticing how much information Annas impressively compiled in such a condensed way. Knocked off one star for the leng ...more
Jackson Cyril
Good book. I just wish she would've spent more time working through some of Plato's major works.
Bob
When I first picked up this book, I thought it was going to be, basically, "Plato for Dummies". I wanted a quick overview so I understood him better when I read his other writings.

Instead, I was treated to a much more scholarly approach, which assumes some previous knowledge of philosophy and classic Greek culture. I appreciated the level this took because it was sophisticated enough to get an understanding with some depth while not being difficult to understand. Good stuff, I think I might look
...more
Charlie
One of the people at the library at which I work lent this to me. I'm not terribly familiar with Plato's work, but Ms Annas's book seemed like as good an introduction to it as any. Didn't agree with all of the opinions and concepts in here--in fact, the assertion that creativity and imagination are useless made me pretty mad--but it certainly got me thinking, and I do plan to find out more about this guy and his thoughts. His "Republic" has been staring at me from my bookshelf for a while. (I'll ...more
Daniel
Does what it says on the tin.
Caleb
Very good intro to Plato (and Socrates). Glad I read it.
Ahmad
کتاب خیلی خوبیه. اطلاعات جالبی در مورد افلاطون و اندیشههاش بهم داد. ...more
Daniel Wright
I can barely remember reading this, which is perhaps not a good sign, but if you genuinely know nothing about Plato, it is probably not a bad place to begin, short of diving in to the man himself.
Patrick Beatty
Part of my brilliant "read one non-fiction book for every fiction book you read" plot. I read it. I don't remember anything about Plato. 'nuff said.
Nabilah
A reliable and concise book on Plato. Gives you the basic idea what Plato's philosophy is all about and also, on his life.
Craig J.
Plato: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Julia Annas (2003)
Laura
I learned some mildly interesting things, but overall the book did not excite me.
Amanda Sanfelice
Excellent introduction to Platos world. ...more
Nose in a book (Kate)
Reviewed for my student paper.
Pijus Valiukenas
Pijus Valiukenas marked it as to-read
Aug 31, 2015
Jacob Lovatt
Jacob Lovatt marked it as to-read
Aug 31, 2015
Philip Watson
Philip Watson marked it as to-read
Aug 30, 2015
Sean Akahane-Bryen
Sean Akahane-Bryen marked it as to-read
Aug 23, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 18 19 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Aristotle: A Very Short Introduction
  • Presocratic Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
  • Socrates: A Very Short Introduction
  • Augustine: A Very Short Introduction
  • Free Will: A Very Short Introduction
  • Descartes: A Very Short Introduction
  • Classical Mythology: A Very Short Introduction
  • Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
  • The Roman Empire: A Very Short Introduction
  • Locke: A Very Short Introduction
  • Kant: A Very Short Introduction
  • Nietzsche: A Very Short Introduction
  • Machiavelli: A Very Short Introduction
  • Classics: A Very Short Introduction
  • Kafka: A Very Short Introduction
  • Continental Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
  • Buddhist Ethics: A Very Short Introduction
  • Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction

Other Books in the Series

Very Short Introductions (1 - 10 of 425 books)
  • A Very Short Introduction to Everything
  • Classics: A Very Short Introduction
  • Music: A Very Short Introduction
  • Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction
  • Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction
  • Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction
  • Psychology: A Very Short Introduction
  • Islam: A Very Short Introduction
  • Politics: A Very Short Introduction
  • Theology: A Very Short Introduction
Ancient Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction Sextus Empiricus: Outlines of Scepticism An Introduction to Plato's Republic The Morality of Happiness Intelligent Virtue

Share This Book